Thursday, August 26, 2010

Assiniboin Girl, by Kathi Wallace


Mary Two Dogs grew up in New York City, fairly unaware of her Assiniboin-Sioux heritage.  After a terrible accident claimed the lives of her parents, she went to live with her aunt.  However, her aunt is involved in a situation that is no longer safe for Mary, and Mary is forced to go spend time with extended family on the reservation.  Here she is forced to confront her heritage and remember the ways of her people.

What an amazing, beautiful book this is!  Often, young adult literature lacks diversity, particularly compelling stories that the youth can relate to, so I am thrilled that here we find a book about a young female reconnecting with the ways of her native people.  I love the fact that the character of Mary is such a typical city girl.  She seems to have given very little thought to the fact that she is Sioux, and knows little to nothing about her heritage, something to which youth from all cultures can relate.

When Mary goes to the reservation, she learns so much about her people and their ways, and the books takes on such a spiritual tone.  It is almost supernatural, but not in a paranormal way, more in the ancestral spiritual way so common among Native American people.  The book is moving, and beautiful.  Kathi Wallace weaves such a graceful story, but in a way that makes it compelling to young readers.

There is a strong subtext of tolerance in the book, both between the Sioux and the white man, and back in Georgia between the townsfolk any anyone who is different from them.  There are very powerful lessons to be learned about knowing one's roots, remembering where one comes from, and learning from the mistakes of the past to be found within the lines of this book.

This is a fantastic book for parents or educators to use for purposes of multicultural educational lessons, as well as just good young adult literature.  I personally also enjoyed it as an adult reader.  Overall, a powerful, moving book.

This book is available for purchase for Kindle at Amazon at the following link:
Assiniboin Girl

A review copy of this book was provided courtesy of the author.