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Picture Maker
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About the Author

Penina Spinka is the author of many award-winning historical novels. She has also written three novels for young adults, which received high review coverage and two awards in the US. She lives with her husband in Arizona, where she is at work on the sequel to Picture Maker.

Reviews

Eleven-year-old Gahrahstah, a girl with a gift for drawing pictures to foretell the future, lives in a peaceful Ganeogaono village in the East Coast area of what would become the United States. When the Algonquin warriors invade the Ganeogaono land, she is captured and spirited north. There she becomes a captive slave known as "Mohawk Girl" (a despised name meaning "man-eater") and is beaten and brutally raped. Eventually, she escapes and travels even farther north, where she finds a temporary home with the Inuit people of Canada. She learns their customs and language, then finds a permanent home with the family of a Greenland hunter. Exhaustive research of the peoples of eastern North America, Canada, and Greenland provides the real heart of this novel. While the plot may seem improbable at times, Spinka compensates by introducing characters and cultures that are absolutely fascinating. Fans of Jean Auel's "Earth's Children" series will find a new heroine to treasure in Spinka's first novel for adults (her stories about Native American culture for young adults are largely out of print). Recommended for larger public libraries. Jane Baird, Z.J. Loussac P.L., Anchorage Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

A young Native American girl, separated from her tribe in the harsh 14th century, must find her way through life in this engrossing coming-of-age saga marking the adult fiction debut of young adult fiction writer Spinka (Mother's Blessing). The girl, named Picture Maker by her Ganeogaono people because of her drawings that foretell the future, is captured by the enemy Algonquins at age 13. Raped, pregnant and marked for death because she killed her attacker, the brutal Hawk Feather, Picture Maker escapes her captors and wanders for months. She eventually stumbles into a Naskapi village in the far reaches of eastern Canada, where she is taken in and made part of the tribe. Soon, though, the sense that she may still be in danger compels Picture Maker to continue her travels. She allows herself to be sold to the Inuit, who also treat her well. But her spirit is crushed when an Inuit leader, following custom, kills her newborn because the baby girl represents another mouth to feed in time of famine. Picture Maker joins a breakaway group of Inuits who journey across the Labrador Sea to Greenland, where she meets her future husband, Halvard, a Norseman, whose way of life represents yet another cultural shift for the young woman. Spinka's narrative plods at times, weighed down by unnecessary description, and the dialogue is stiffly formal. But as the narrative progresses, it eventually gathers speed and is transformed into an absorbing adventure tale told from an exhaustively researched historical perspective. Spinka, who is working on a sequel, has uncovered native traditions and beliefs in primitive North America and brought them to life through the eyes of her courageous young heroine. Agent, Stephanie Tade. Literary Guild Discovery Selection; BOMC, Doubleday Book Club and QPB featured alternates. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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