Luke knows his I´nupiaq name is full of sounds white people can’t say. He knows he’ll have to leave it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles from their Arctic village.
At Sacred Heart School things are different. Instead of family, there are students - Eskimo, Indian, White - who line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there’s some kind of war going on. And instead of comforting words like tutu and maktak, there’s English. Speaking I´nupiaq - or any native language - is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey.
Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. Buthe’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader - if he doesn’t self-destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. Each has their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School - and in the wider world - will never be the same.
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Youthful adventure, expose.
The narration, multiple voices.
40 below was not the problem...we have the solutions for that.
My wife read the book, and when she heard the epilogue used as the prologue, she was disappointed for me, because she got a second set of insights by learning the background after reading the adventure. I see her point, but it's too late for me, since the cat's out of the bag. I didn't know any better, so it was O.K. for me. If I could hear it again for the first time, I would skip past the prologue, then go back and listen to it later, get the benefit of additional insights to stimulate even more consideration about this saga.
Amy Rubinate and Nick Podehl do justice to the superbly developed characters in this captivating story. The book is written and narrated with such skill that the listener begins to see through the eyes of the boarding school students and feel with the heart of each character. It would be hoped that this book would be added to Junior High and High School Reading lists and included in classroom discussions.This neglected chapter of the history of Native Americans has waited too long to be told. It's audience reaches far beyond young adult readers. In addition to adding to our cultural awareness, this compelling story is difficult to set aside both while listening and after.