Ghost Hawk

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Ghost Hawk
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
August 27, 2013
ISBN
978-1442481411
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On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.

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1 reviews

Native American Ghost Mystery
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Little Hawk is sent by his father out into the woods to survive with the few possessions he carries with him, for three months in the winter. Such a journey will make him a man, but is fraught with peril. There are heavy snows, and he must fast until he sees his Manitou, or spirit guardian. Little Hawk manages to survive, even fending off a wolf who has eaten much of his food stores, but when he gets back to his village, everyone but his grandmother has died of a disease brought by the English. Little Hawk's friend, Leaping Turtle, also comes back to the village, and the three survivors regroup and eventually combine forces with another village. Things are not going well, however, and the English are not treating thePokanokets fairly. At one point, Little Hawk and Leaping Turtle are on an errand in the woods and come across a young boy whose father has been trapped under a tree. John knows Little Hawk, but by calling to him and asking for help, he is instrumental in Little Hawk being shot. Little Hawk's spirit becomes trapped in the area, tied to the ancestral tomahawk he carried. John is devastated by the death, and spends the next several years as an apprentice trying, in small ways, to make things better for the indigenous people he meets. He also sees Hawk's spirit, and learns his dialect from him, so that he can communicate with Hawk's people and hopefully avoid other deaths. When his servitude is over, John marries Huldah and goes to join Roger Willams, who is trying to get people to deal fairly with the various tribes. Throughout his travels, Hawk is nearby, seeing how the English are treating the New World.
Good Points
This is well written and seems well researched, and the notes at the back are helpful in understanding Cooper's need to tell this story. She herself says that this is a fantasy set in historical time periods. I especially liked how John was trying to understand the point of view of the Native Americans while trying not to run afoul of his own people. This is a complex and nuanced treatment of the issues that Native Americans faced after the arrival of the English.
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Great Story
Overall rating 
 
5.0
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5.0
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Loved the concept, the setting and the story. It had everything. Wilderness, Colonial history, coming-of-age and frontier hardship. It was like a history lesson in an appealing YA novel. Very creative concept as the story evolves over decades and generations. Nicely interwoven with shocking and surprising chapter endings. Depressing, at times, but it's all part of history, so cannot be avoided, nor should it. A very uplifting epilogue, too. Nice YA change from 21-Century "my life is over" social conflict! Mark Lichtenfeld---Author of LINE CHANGE.
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