Review of The Birchbark House

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Title: The Birchbark House

Author: Louise Erdrich

Rating: 5/5 ⭐

Genre: Historical Fiction

Age: Middle Grade

Format: Paperback

Book Club: The Diverse Books Club

Series: The Birchbark House #1

 

From Goodreads: The sole survivor of a smallpox epidemic on Spirit Island, Omakayas, then only a baby girl, was rescued by a fearless woman named Tallow and welcomed into an Ojibwa family on Lake Superior’s Madeline Island, the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. We follow Omakayas and her adopted family through a cycle of four seasons in 1847, including the winter, when a historically documented outbreak of smallpox overtook the island.

 

This is the first #ownvoices Indigenous novel I’ve read this month from the pile I’m hoping to get through in November. Louise Erdrich is a prolific writer and an Indigenous author. This is the first of her novels I’ve read but I’m hoping to read a couple more this month and a whole lot more over time. She’s clearly popular for a reason!

In a lot of ways this is a cute story that teaches children about some of the ways that the Ojibwa tribe survives during the different seasons of the year. However, it also deals with a lot of tragedy and packs a powerful punch.

I’ve heard this described as a good alternative to The Little House on the Prairie series and I can definitely get on board with that! I will be reading the rest of the series for sure.

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