Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears

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Overview

In Soft Rain, a 9-year-old Cherokee girl finds herself in the same situation as Sweet Leaf as soldiers arrive one day to take her and her mother to walk the Trail of Tears, leaving the rest of her family behind. It all begins when Soft Rain's teacher reads a letter stating that as of May 23, 1838, all Cherokee people are to leave their land and move to what many Cherokees called "the land of darkness". . .the west. Soft Rain is confident that her family will not have to move, because they have just planted corn ...
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Overview

In Soft Rain, a 9-year-old Cherokee girl finds herself in the same situation as Sweet Leaf as soldiers arrive one day to take her and her mother to walk the Trail of Tears, leaving the rest of her family behind. It all begins when Soft Rain's teacher reads a letter stating that as of May 23, 1838, all Cherokee people are to leave their land and move to what many Cherokees called "the land of darkness". . .the west. Soft Rain is confident that her family will not have to move, because they have just planted corn for the next harvest. Because Soft Rain knows some of the white man's language, she soon learns that they must travel across rivers, valleys, and mountains. On the journey, she is forced to eat the white man's food and sees many of her people die. Her courage and hope are restored when she is reunited with her father, a leader on the Trail, chosen to bring her people safely to their new land.

Soft Rain, a nine-year-old Cherokee girl, is forced to relocate, along with her family, from North Carolina to the West.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In what PW called "an eye-opening introduction to a painful period of American history," a Cherokee girl recounts the hardships of 1838 leading up to and including the journey along the Trail of Tears. Ages 8-12. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Rebecca Joseph
This beautiful work of historical-fiction details the harrowing journey nine-year-old Soft Rain and her family must take when they are forced to leave their land by white soldiers. Set in 1838, the year of the forced relocation of the Cherokee people, Cherokees from four southern states including Soft Rain's North Carolina were forcibly sent out West. The dangerous trip, which most of the Cherokees took on foot , included traveling over mountains and across rivers during the winter. Focusing on the brave, yet scared Soft Rain, this moving story captures the tragedy of this forced journey from the perspective of the Cherokees, many of whom died along the way. Inspired by the experiences of her own great grandfather during the Trail of Tears, Cornelissen brings this often ignored piece of American history alive for readers of all ages.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-In the spring of 1838, nine-year-old Soft Rain learns that there will be no more school for the Cherokee children in her North Carolina community. The Tsalagi (as the tribal members refer to themselves) have signed a treaty with the white men and will be moving to new lands in the West. A short time later, soldiers abruptly force Soft Rain and her mother from their home, abandoning the girl's blind grandmother, her dog, and her father and brother out working in the fields. They follow the Trail of Tears, the path taken by 18,000 Cherokee traveling from stockaded holding areas across rivers, valleys, and mountains. Hungry, exhausted, and often ill from the white man's disease, some 4000 people died during the migration. But Soft Rain's story ends more happily; she and her mother miraculously meet up with her father, brother, and an uncle. The author makes clear the hardships these Native Americans endured and the injustice of their exile, but her protagonist remains remarkably positive. Because she has been relatively unaffected, readers may be, too. At one point the grandmother tells a story; at that moment, the book becomes more than just the record of a trip but a glimpse of a disappearing culture. However, there aren't enough of these stories to bring readers closer to this girl and her world. Still, this novel is a readable version of a shameful episode in U.S. history and may find use as a supplement to social studies units.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews
Cornelissen (Music in the Wood, 1995, etc.) relates a tragic chapter of American history, the removal of the Tsalagi, or Cherokee, from their land in North Carolina and their march westward to Oklahoma, as seen by a nine-year-old Tsalagi girl. Soft Rain is informed at school one day of the removal of her people; in no time, soldiers barge into her home and break apart her family. She and her mother are taken to a stench-filled stockade, where the white man's sickness quickly kills her cousin and best friend, Green Fern. Soft Rain is a strong and sympathetic character, as well as a good storyteller, evoking the harsh winters, hunger, and rage that are part of her journey, as are her experiences with the kindness of strangers. Among the rousing details in the narration are Soft Rain's whispers to a soldier through the fence to get information, her worries over the uktena, or horned snake, when crossing the river, and her silent huddling with her brother under a blanket in the pouring rain. Such particulars enlighten readers, even as the characters themselves transform a sorrowful story of adversity into a tale of human resilience. (bibliography) (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385322539
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/8/1998
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2001

    Soft Rain

    I think this book is great because it gives you information about the trail of tears & it relates a lot about kids that are away from there families all the time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2004

    Good book...

    I read this book because I am Cherokee and wanted to know what it was like on the trail of tears for a young person. I was about 10 when I read this book and read it again just recently. A great book for everyone...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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