Saturday, April 5, 2008

Historical Fiction: Morning Girl

Dorris, Michael. 1992. Morning Girl. NY: Hyperion Books for Children. ISBN: 1562822845.

In this lovely historical fiction set on a Bahamian island in 1492 the readers are given an pleasant look into the lives of the Taino Indian siblings Morning Girl and Star Boy and their family. Alternating between chapters, Morning Girl and Star Boy share three intertwining occurrences that affect their entire family: the loss of a baby sister during birth, a hurricane that nearly blows Star Boy away, and Star Boy earning acceptance of his adult name from the community. In the final chapter, Morning Star greets a large canoe full of strangers to the island. Little does she know, as readers will discover in the epilogue, that these visitors are non other than the explorer Christopher Columbus and his men to claim the island and indigenous people. Eloquently written, the entire story flows like a soft morning tide on a quiet beach and describes the beautiful harmony of how these pre-Columbian people live as one with nature rather than overshadowing it as well as the sharing the cultural importance of names, celebrations, and food. Readers with brothers and sisters will find connection with Morning Star and Star Boy as they grow up as individuals, accepting their differences, and as they put aside their sibling rivalry. A pleasant addition to any Native literature collection, Morning Girl that provides a unique look into the time before the world changed with the coming of explorers from the Old World.

CONNECTIONS *Read Michael Dorris’ other books: Guests, See Behind Trees, and The Window.

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