Across the Steel River

 
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Across the Steel River
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
May 01, 2001
ISBN
1550748912
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It's 1952 in a small prairie town, and bigotry is a way of life. Will and Arthur have been friends forever, but folks figure it won't last. Whites and Indians always outgrow their friendships -- or so they say. And now the boys have made a grisly discovery that threatens to unravel the very fabric of their friendship.

A local Indian and World War II hero has been beaten and left for dead near the railway tracks. While the police conclude that a train caused Yellowfly's injuries, Will and Arthur know better. To find answers, they'll have to pursue the case on their own. In their search for justice, the boys discover that true brotherhood sometimes calls for sacrifice. And that courage, like cowardice, can take many forms.

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Not everyone hates a bully
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
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Writing Style 
 
0.0
In Grayson, Alberta in 1952, Will Samson is learning that grown-ups can be bullies as well as kids. When Will and his friend Arthur find an Indian war hero beaten and left for dead by the train tracks, they're determined not to let the white thugs get away with it. Though everyone wants to turn a blind eye to the violence its upstanding white citizens are committing against lowly Indians, a few good men and women help Will and Arthur to make a stand and bring their town one step closer to becoming an equal society.

Though Arthur figures less in this story than in the other two novels (A Dirty Deed and Murder on the Ridge), his cynicism comes through in his dialogue and in Will's candid narration, and will make readers snicker frequently. The scenes set at Heavy Shield School, which "is supposed to turn Indians into white men", present the thorny issue of the brutal treatment of Native children in residential schools through the eyes of a white boy who doesn't really know how different things are for Indian kids, but who sure as heck knows when the white supervisors step over the line. Stenhouse is a master at making a point in this understated way, and kids will appreciate the fact that he doesn't patronize them. Will is a wonderful narrator and hero to whom readers will relate as he struggles to reconcile his feelings with what he's been taught so that he and Arthur don't "grow out of [their] friendship--like every other Indian kid and white kid...for the past hundred years." Readers of all ages will love this skilfully constructed tale about finding the courage to do the right thing.
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Across the Steel River
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by mo

I fond the book a "you don't want to put down" it was a mystery. i remember being in bed after three in the mourning and not wanting to put it down. it was interesting and you never new what was going to happen next. it is one of the best books i have ever read!!!!!!!!
 

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