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Soft Rain


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About the Author

Cornelia Cornelissen is the author of two books for children, Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears and Music in the Wood.


Gr 3-5-In the spring of 1838, nine-year-old Soft Rain learns that there will be no more school for the Cherokee children in her North Carolina community. The Tsalagi (as the tribal members refer to themselves) have signed a treaty with the white men and will be moving to new lands in the West. A short time later, soldiers abruptly force Soft Rain and her mother from their home, abandoning the girl's blind grandmother, her dog, and her father and brother out working in the fields. They follow the Trail of Tears, the path taken by 18,000 Cherokee traveling from stockaded holding areas across rivers, valleys, and mountains. Hungry, exhausted, and often ill from the white man's disease, some 4000 people died during the migration. But Soft Rain's story ends more happily; she and her mother miraculously meet up with her father, brother, and an uncle. The author makes clear the hardships these Native Americans endured and the injustice of their exile, but her protagonist remains remarkably positive. Because she has been relatively unaffected, readers may be, too. At one point the grandmother tells a story; at that moment, the book becomes more than just the record of a trip but a glimpse of a disappearing culture. However, there aren't enough of these stories to bring readers closer to this girl and her world. Still, this novel is a readable version of a shameful episode in U.S. history and may find use as a supplement to social studies units.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC

"The poignancy of this bleak chapter in history should rivet even the most callous readers". -- The Bulletin

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