February Dive | ‘The Birchbark House’ by Louise Erdrich

erdrichHistory comes to life in Louise Erdrich’s The Birchbark House, a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature in 1999. It earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, was a Jane Addams Children’s Honor Book, and received the WILLA award for YA Fiction.

Omakayas, sole survivor of a smallpox epidemic, is rescued as an infant by a courageous woman named Tallow and adopted into an Ojibwa family on the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker (known today as Lake Superior’s Madeline Island near Bayfield, WI). The story weaves through the events and seasons of Omakayas’s seventh year, leading readers on a vivid journey through Ojibwa life and tradition in 1847.

Deep Blue Readers meet February 22, 1:30 – 2:30pm at Mara Mi in downtown Stillwater.

A renowned author of novels, poetry, and children’s books featuring Native Americans, Erdrich was born in Little Falls, MN, grew up in North Dakota, and is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She owns Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis — and served as illustrator for their website in addition to creating the illustrations you’ll find in the book!birchbarkhouse

Award-winning follow up titles in Erdrich’s Birchbark Series include:

  • The Game of Silence (2006)
  • The Porcupine Year (2010)
  • Chickadee (2012), which expands the series to new characters

Learn more about the Ojibwe people (sometimes also seen as Otchipwe or Ojibway), their heritage, culture and language, as well as where to find other books for youth about Native Americans: