VOYA - Dorie FreeburyThis addition to the Native American Biography series relates the incredible true story of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone woman whose important contributions to the Lewis and Clark Expedition between the years of 1805 and 1806 ensured a successful journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, one that covered more than six thousand miles via canoe, horseback, and foot through the unforged wilderness-the first organized exploration of the American West. Sacagewea's remarkable life related throughout White's book is derived from entries in the journals of both Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, as well as from the Shoshone Oral Tradition. At the age of twelve Sacagawea was kidnapped from her nomadic Northern Shoshone people by raiding Hidatsa warriors and taken far from her home in the Rocky Mountains. While living as a captive with the Hidatsa along the Missouri River near present-day Bismark, North Dakota, she was either bought or won by a French-Canadian fur trapper named Touissant Charbonneau, who became her husband. Her adventure with the William and Clark Expedition, called the Corps of Discovery, began in the spring of 1804. She was sixteen years old and the mother of an eight-week-old infant, Jean Baptiste. Initially, Sacagawea was chosen for the expedition to assist in obtaining from the Shoshone the horses that were necessary for the journey through the Rockies. But Sacagawea would prove to be more of an asset to the expedition than originally intended. As the Corps of Discovery set out to discover a passage over the Rocky Mountains leading to a branch of the Columbia River, which would follow to the Pacific Ocean, Sacagawea's experiences throughout the expedition would come to unfold much like the script from a contemporary action-adventure film. Traveling along rapid rivers through the wilderness and mountains, she would face battering storms, dangerous rapids and waterfalls, grizzly bears, rattlesnakes, prickly pear thorns and piercing barbs from needle and thread grass, tormenting mosquitoes, sickness, and near starvation that would force the corps to eat horses and dogs and engage in skirmishes with other Indian tribes. Not only did Sacagawea's courage, bravery, and skill enable her to assist the corps in obtaining horses, but she was able to find roots to eat when the corps was near starving, to make clothes when all had diminished to rags, and to offer important advice about routes through the wilderness. The mere presence of Sacagawea amongst the men of the corps served as a sign of peace to the many Native Americans the expedition encountered. Though Sacagawea was not paid for her services, her contribution was immeasurable. White writes that conflicting stories describe Sacagawea's fate. Some believe she died of sickness in her mid-twenties, while others contend she died amongst her own people as an old woman. White's book is concisely written and highly readable. Chapters are broken into sections prefaced with bold, enticing headings, which works well to retain the reader's interest. Chapters are further enhanced with a few black-and-white reproductions of paintings and photographs that complement the content of the text. A chronology helps the reader keep Sacagawea's life in perspective. The chapter notes, further reading section, index, and glossary are commendable assets to the text. Though a map of the expedition is provided within the text, inclusion of the map on the end-papers of the book would have been a nice feature for easy reference. Apart from a reproduction of a Remington painting depicting Lewis and Clark, there are no other visuals of the explorers in the text. Portraits of these men would have been a nice feature for the curious reader. White's book is certainly an interesting read and will appeal to those who have a special interest in the subject. A solid choice for libraries working to build their collection of Native American biographies. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 4-8This well-written and well-presented biography of the young Shoshone woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their exploration of the American West is aimed at older readers than William Sanford and Carl Green's Sacagawea (Enslow, 1997). The text, documented by reputable works including Stephen E. Ambrose's Undaunted Courage (S & S, 1996), keeps to the known facts. White handles with restraint the two speculated outcomes for her subject, namely death in 1812 or surviving to old age on Wind River Reservation in Montana. She concludes: "In the end, this is not what is most important." It is Sacagawea's role as "a vital member of the groundbreaking Corps of Discovery" that is honored. Maps, black-and-white photographs and reproductions, and bold section headings give the text a clean, open, accessible look.Jacqueline Elsner, Athens Regional Library, GA
Kirkus ReviewsThis first book in the Native American Biographies series covers the engrossing story of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone woman who was only 16 when she accompanied Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their expedition to the Pacific coast on the first organized exploration of the American West. Carrying her new baby on her back, Sacagawea traveled 6,000 miles on foot, horseback, and canoe, along with her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, who had been hired as interpreter. Although Charbonneau was paid for his services, and Sacagawea was not, it was she who made important contributions to the expedition. She shared food that she foraged, advice, and knowledge of the land; in their journals, Lewis and Clark considered her "calm, courageous, and uncomplaining." White makes clear that no one is certain of Sacagawea's fate: Some sources claim that she died at age 25, while Shoshone oral tradition holds that she left her husband, returned to her people with her son, and lived to a ripe old age. Either way, readers will enjoy this intriguing story, told in this well-written book that is not shy about honoring her accomplishments.
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