The Birchbark House

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In 1847, Omakayas is living with her extended family. Omakayas’ year is a time of growth, joy, and lessons learned.

 

Author: Louise Erdrich (Ojibwe)
Illustrations: Black & white illustrations by Louise Erdrich (Ojibwe)
Binding Availability: Paperback only
Published: 1999
Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Ojibwe

 

“She was named Omakayas, or Little Frog, because her first step was a hop. She grew into a nimble young girl of seven winters, a thoughtful girl with shining brown eyes, and a wide grin, only missing her two front teeth. She touched her upper lip. She still wasn’t used to those teeth gone, and was impatient for her new, grown-up teeth to complete her smile.” It is 1847, and Omakayas is living with her extended family on the land called the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. Omakayas’ year is a time of growth, and joy, of lessons learned—some hard—and of tragedy and loss and joy and healing, and the singular importance of place and family in a child’s life: “Omakayas rose on her elbow and threw back her head, closed her eyes and smiled as the white-throated sparrow sank again and again through the air like a shining needle, and sewed up her broken heart.”