Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Story of Bird Woman and the Lewis & Clark Expedition


Sacajawea: The Story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark Expedition

by Joseph Bruchac

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Book Description
Captured by her enemies, married to a foreigner, and a mother at age sixteen, Sacajawea lived a life of turmoil and change. Then in 1804, the mysterious young Shoshone woman known as Bird Woman met Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Acting as interpreter, peacemaker, and guide, Sacajawea bravely embarked on an epic journey that altered history forever. Hear her extraordinary story, told by Sacajawea and by William Clark, in alternating chapters and including parts of Clark's original diaries.
  • Authentic telling by an American Book Award winner and winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Writers Circle of The Americas
  • Includes a black-and-white map showing Lewis and Clark's trail
  • Told in the compelling voices of Sacajawea and William Clark in alternating chapters for two unique viewpoints
  • Sacajawea will be commemorated in the year 2000 with a U.S. Treasury dollar coin bearing her likeness

Grade 6 Up-This intelligent, elegantly written novel weaves Sacajawea's recollections of the Lewis and Clark expedition with those of William Clark, the American captain who developed a deeply spiritual bond with her and became a surrogate uncle to her son. Beyond recounting the thrills and hardships of the legendary two-year mission, the alternating first-person narratives show the respect that develops between the young "Bird Woman" and the Corps of Discovery. Sacajawea begins her chapters with excerpts from Native American folktale, providing insight into her religious and cultural upbringing and its impact on her interpretation of events. Clark begins his with entries mostly from his journal, underscoring his keen awareness of the importance of the expedition and his desire to record even its most mundane details. Balancing the eyewitness accounts of these two people is not just a clever literary device. Clark's account is crucial to supplying information about Sacajawea that she herself cannot provide. Her narrative is devoid of self-praise and self-promotion; they would be unnatural impulses for a Shoshone female. So Bruchac uses Clark to chronicle Sacajawea's extraordinary bravery and endurance, and his voice repeats what she cannot even attempt to mention: that the mission would have been a certain failure without her. This is an engaging book to share with young adults, who will find it all the more fascinating to learn that Sacajawea was a teenager when she made history with Lewis and Clark.

About the Author
JOSEPH BRUCHAC is a poet, storyteller, and author of more than sixty books for children and adults who has received many literary honors, including the American Book Award and the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. He is of Abenaki and Slovak heritage, and lives in Greenfield Center, New York.

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