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Crooked River


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About the Author

A former teacher and museum historian, Shelley Pearsall is now a full-time writer. Her first novel, Trouble Don't Last, won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. She lives in Silver Lake, Ohio.


Gr 5-8-Pearsall quickly engages readers with her captivating tale of fear, ignorance, and bravery on the Ohio frontier. The year is 1812 and 13-year-old Rebecca Carver is driven hard to help her older sister, Laura, make up for the loss of their mother. Terrified of their abusive and violent-tempered father, the girls care for the family silently and dutifully until a prisoner, an Indian who is accused of murder, is chained in their loft. Although surrounded by a family and town overflowing with an unabashed hatred of Indians, Rebecca slowly begins to believe in Amik's innocence and defies her Pa, her family, and her settlement in order to see justice done. The unique sharing of narration between Rebecca and Amik further opens the mind to the injustices and inhumanity suffered by this country's Native people. Packed with believable characters wrapped in a thoroughly researched plot, Crooked River is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and would aptly serve as a discussion-rich tool for American studies.-Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Humanity and justice don't always join hands as 13-year-old Rebecca Carver painfully discovers; especially when it's 1812 in a small frontier settlement and a young Chippewa Indian is being held captive for the crime of murdering a white trapper. When her ironhanded Pa chains the "savage" in their loft until his trial, an unspoken bond slowly forms that defies prejudice and incites courage as Indian John and Reb sneak small trinkets to each other. The tandem telling in Reb and Indian John's voices creates an immediacy of the times when red and white cultures clashed and human convictions could decide a conviction of death. As the trial begins, a young, inexperienced lawyer, a childhood friend of Indian John who's sweet on Reb's older sister, tries logic to preclude the hanging. This vivid look into the reality of crude frontier life and justice is outstanding historical fiction. Based on a true story, O'Dell winner Pearsall documents her painstaking research. As Reb tries to sustain a life, Pearsall brings a snapshot of history to life. (bibliography) (Historial fiction. 9-13) -- Kirkus Reviews, starred.

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