Having never read either series, I coincidentally read this book just after finishing the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. I loved it - hands down. Louise Erdrich's series is a wonderful blend of realism and fantasy that weaves day-to-day details of Ojibwa life with supernatural/spiritual flourishes. Also to the author's credit, this and the following two books, "The Year of the Porcupine" and "The Game of Silence," are not without sadness. It would make a good project to read Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" in comparison to Erdrich's "The Birchbark House." Both fictional stories take place in the late 19th century and are written from a young girl's point-of-view. Both stories take place during the time of pressuring Indians out of their homeland to move onto reservations. This tense theme lurks in the background without overshadowing each simple, heartfelt story. I cannot wait to find out if there will be a fourth book!
OH! a truly wonderful story for all- even adults. My youngest son read this book as assigned summer reading a few years ago- I casually picked it up and was hooked- read it in one long sitting- it is a unique, moving, and very poigniant story about a Native American girl and her family.
I think this book is especially fitting for children who have experienced adoption. I hope others will enjoy it as much as our family did- It's a keeper.
After so many children's books that casually provide negative stereotypes of Indians, The Birchbark House is a positive book about Ashinabe or Ojibwa people in Minnesota in 1847. It has the dual merits of being impeccably historically researched and having a strong narrative. I read it out loud to my second grader--the language was beautiful and he demanded more at the end of each chapter. There was a lot to talk about afterward: this is a book you could read just for the pleasure of it, but it also provides a good opportunity to talk about life's biggest issues: religion, culture, adoption, family, life and death.
My daughter needed this for a book report and, since the entire class needed it, there were no copies left in our library. The person who posted this book saved us. My daughter liked the book very much.
This is a lovely children's book. It follows 7-year-old Ojibwe girl Omakayas and her family through a year (1847, I think). Some reviews have compared it to Little House on the Prairie (but from the Native perspective), and it does have some similarities: mainly, the combination of watching the family go through both normal activities like setting up their summer home, dealing with sibling tensions, picking berries, and raising a pet crow, and major events like a smallpox outbreak.
I haven't read the sequels, The Game of Silence and The Porcupine Year, yet, but if they're anything like this one, I'd recommend them all.