Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WORLDS APART by Kathleen Karr


by Kathleen Karr

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7614-5195-1
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Karr spins a tale of the first European colonists in the Carolinas (1670) around a haunting historical episode. Teenaged Christopher West is able to escape most of the arduous work of building a settlement by hooking up with Asha-po, a member of the indigenous Sewee who quickly picks up some English, and sets about teaching his new friend how to hunt, forage and live in harmony with the land. Christopher thrives under Asha-po’s tutelage, and so does the colony, surviving a tough first winter, and fending off attacks from both Spanish settlers and hostile neighbors called Westo—but relations turn sour when the English move inland, clearing land for plantations, overtaxing the local food supplies and using Westo captives as slave labor. In the end, Christopher returns to the coast in search of his friend—and arrives in time to see the entire Sewee community setting out to sea in canoes, heading for Europe and, as it turns out, directly into a hurricane. They were never seen again, Karr explains in an afterword, and left only hints behind of what they were like. A poignant chapter in our country’s early history, set further to the South than recent tales of the period. (Fiction. 11-13)