ALEUTIAN SPARROW by Karen Hesse
Kirkus Star

ALEUTIAN SPARROW

Age Range: 10 - 15

KIRKUS REVIEW

The historical facts are as starkly unforgiving as the Aleutian landscape, but not as beautiful. During WWII, the government removed five Aleut villages to a camp in Southeast Alaska after the Japanese bombed and occupied islands in America’s farthest northwest. Returning after three years, they found their villages in ruins. In Hesse’s hands, facts become the elegiac thoughts of Vera, a half-Aleut teen. Contained in Vera’s unrhymed verses are Aleutian traditions, small details of camp life, and hints of racism, delivered with quiet innocence that belie the deepest wounds. The relocation was full of loss because numbers of Aleuts, in an alien forest climate far from the sea, either moved to take jobs in the nearby town (Vera’s mother) or sickened and died (her best friend). With a whisper-soft touch, Hesse’s clear, resonant verses and delicate imagery will break hearts. At the end, readers will be haunted by a hope-filled love that has grown between Vera and Alfred in the camp and by a government that says, “We are moving you to save you.” (Historical fiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-86189-3
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2003




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