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Children of the Longhouse
     

Children of the Longhouse

4.2 4
by Joseph Bruchac
 

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When Ohkwa'ri overhears a group of older boys planning a raid on a neighboring village, he immediately tells his Mohawk elders. He has done the right thing—but he has also made enemies. Grabber and his friends will do anything they can to hurt him, especially during the village-wide game of Tekwaarathon (lacrosse). Ohkwa'ri believes in the path of peace, but can

Overview

When Ohkwa'ri overhears a group of older boys planning a raid on a neighboring village, he immediately tells his Mohawk elders. He has done the right thing—but he has also made enemies. Grabber and his friends will do anything they can to hurt him, especially during the village-wide game of Tekwaarathon (lacrosse). Ohkwa'ri believes in the path of peace, but can peaceful ways work against Grabber's wrath?

"An exciting story that also offers an in-depth look at Native American life centuries ago." —
Kirkus Reviews

"Eloquently conveys how democracy, respect, and justice are integral components of the Native American's religion and government....Readers will come away from this novel with a broadened awareness of a nearly vanished culture." —Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Told from the alternating points of view of Native American Ohkwa'ri and his twin sister Otsi:stia, this historic novel shows a Mohawk village during the best of times: after the Great League of Peace is formed and before European settlers rob the tribe of its land. The story revolves around 11-year-old Ohkwa'ri's conflicts with a pompous bully, but the plot is less essential than the painstakingly wrought details about the tribe's daily rituals, legends and annual celebrations. Bruchac, who states in an afterword that his book is "the result of a lifetime of learning from my Mohawk friends and neighbors," eloquently conveys how democracy, respect and justice are integral components of the Native Americans' religion and government. Besides learning the origins of modern-day lacrosse and certain kinds of tool-making, readers will come away from this novel with a broadened awareness of a nearly vanished culture. Ages 8-11. (June)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
While the basic story may not be particularly unusual, Bruchac's conversational style and knowledge of the Mohawk tribe make for an interesting book. Ohkwa'ri is a skilled Tekwaarathon (lacrosse) player who sometimes acts before he thinks, while his twin sister, who is destined to become the clan mother, is thoughtful and skilled in the ways of the tribe. Together they overcome a bully and his cohorts who plan to seriously injure Ohkwa'ri. Lots of information about the Mohawk culture and the game called Tekwaarathon and the way that the good kids prevail over the bad provides a story that should appeal to both boys and girls. A glossary, pronunciation guide, and list of additional readings can be found at the end of the book.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6Ohkwa'ri is hiding in a shaded area when he overhears the misguided Grabber's intentions to start a war with the neighboring Anen:taks tribe. Although the boy is barely 11 winters old, he realizes something must be done to stop his fellow tribesman's plans. Set in a longhouse village in upstate New York, Bruchac's story establishes a sense of place in the first chapter: Ohkwa'ri works to become a respected member of his tribe, while Grabber and his cohorts, Greasy Hair, Falls a Lot, and Eats Like a Bear, attempt to get even with him. Despite the predictability of the plot, young readers will enjoy the glimpses of Native American culture. The importance of respect and honor are clearly outlined through Ohkwa'ri's feelings toward his elders such as his grandmother and his uncle. On his own, the earnest young hero builds and sleeps in his own lodge, illustrating independence and self-sufficiency. Other aspects of Native life such as name giving, government, and family relations are outlined. The mixing of fact with fiction is consistent and believable. Jan Hudson's Sweetgrass (Scholastic, 1991) or Elizabeth George Speare's The Sign of the Beaver (Dell, 1993) are more absorbing, yet Bruchac's latest offering is a good choice for large collections.Julie Shatterly, York County Public Library, Rock Hill, SC
Kirkus Reviews
Ohkwa'ri and his twin sister, Otsi:stia, 11, are late-15th century Mohawks living in what would become New York State. Both are exemplary young people: He is brave, kind, and respectful of his elders, and she is gentle and wise beyond her years. One day Ohkwa'ri hears an older youth, Grabber, and his cronies planning to raid a nearby Abenaki village, in violation of the Great League of Peace to which all the Iroquois Nations have been committed for decades. When Ohkwa'ri reports what he has heard to the tribal elders he makes a deadly enemy of Grabber. Grabber's opportunity for revenge comes when the entire tribe gathers for the great game of Tekwaarathon (later, lacrosse). Ohkwa'ri knows that he will be in great danger during the long day of play and will have to use all his wits and skills to save himself and his honor.

Bruchac (Between Earth and Sky, p. 445, etc.) saturates his novel with suspense, generating an exciting story that also offers an in-depth look at Native American life centuries ago. The book also offers excellent insights into the powerful role of women in what most readers will presume was a male-dominated society. Thoroughly researched; beautifully written.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140385045
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/28/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
181,512
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.44(d)
Lexile:
950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored many books for adults and children including Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two, Skeleton Man, and The Heart of a Chief. For more information about Joseph, please visit his website www.josephbruchac.com.

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Children of the Longhouse 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
The Children of the Longhouse is a mixture of real Native American people living today, and mythology an classic Mohawk characters of the past. It is an engaging story of a young set of twins at the verge of adulthood and how they have to face many small hurtles to achieve their desires. Ohkwa`ri and Otsi:stia are twins that learn that leaning on each other they can overcome many of their problems.  Ohkwa`ri is an intelligent boy who learns that if he is patient and does not run head long into things, listens not only to his elders but his older twin sister Otsi:stia he will survive many of his difficulties. The twins biggest problem is Grabber an angry young orphan who see the younger Ohkwa`ri as a rival. Grabber is a determined young man who wants to use his power and influence to gain a reputation.  His first plan to invade the Anen:taks` tribe and kill to achieve his glory is thwarted by Ohkwa`ri who tells his elders of the plan. Grabbers many acts of revenge for this averted attack cause problems for the twins. But it is the connections and intelligence of the twins that makes Grabbers life better in the end. 
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