Sweetgrass Basket

Marlene Carvell
Language: English
Format: Hardcover
Status: In Print
Grade Levels: 6; 7; 8; 9;
Other Categories: Novels

Two Mohawk sisters tell of their lives at the Carlisle Indian School near the turn of the 20th century. Carvell uses the experiences of her husband's family, and research from the Cumberland County Historical Society, to relate the stories of Mattie and Sarah. After their mother's death, their father sadly dispatches them to the boarding school, where the siblings cling to their language and a few precious items as the rest of their culture is stripped away from them. They long for family, for friendship, and for home, but their attempts to obtain any of these things result in a tragic and true-to-life ending. The inner-thought narratives allow readers to connect with the characters. Though the voices are nearly identical, making it difficult sometimes to tell the girls apart, and the voice of African-American Mr. Davis is awkwardly and inconsistently colloquial, Carvell has put together a compelling, authentic, and sensitive portrayal of a part of our history that is still not made accurately available to young readers.

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