News Of The World – by Paulette Jiles (2016)

Captain Jefferson Kidd is a man who has raised two daughters, fought in the Civil War of the 1860s, and outlived his wife. Now in his elderly years, he lives a nomadic life, earning a living reading newspapers aloud to audiences in the western states. People who are illiterate or who don’t have access to newspapers are hungry for word of what is happening around the world and in other parts of their country.

While he is in Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is offered $50 to transport a ten-year-old girl to San Antonio, Texas. Although reluctant at first, fifty dollars is a lot of money, so he agrees to the deal. The girl’s name is Johanna. Four years earlier, Kiowa raiders had killed her parents and taken her back to their tribe, where she had become part of their community. She remembers nothing of her early life with German parents, and speaks only the Kiowan language.

The trip is about 400 miles, and along the way Captain Kidd and Johanna run into all kinds of trouble. The longer they travel together, the closer they become. On their journey, Kidd begins to teach Johanna English, as well as the ways of accepted behavior in white society. Captain Kidd is the only white person that Johanna trusts, and she does not want to live with unknown relatives.

Continue reading “News Of The World – by Paulette Jiles (2016)”

Touches The Sky – by James Calvin Schaap (2003)

In the 1890’s, a wave of Dutch settlers migrated en masse to the Dakota Territory, and settled in an area that was home to the Sioux nation. The two ethnic groups were about as different as they could be, both in lifestyle and in religious beliefs. They lived near each other in an uneasy fashion, each suspicious of the other.

In this historic novel, the author creates the character of Jan Ellerbroek, who moves into the area and marries a white woman, Dalitha, who has lived among the Lakota Indians (a sub-culture of the Sioux nation) so long that she is more like them than the Dutch. She has been a devoted school-teacher to the Indian children for many years. Her husband Jan is not as comfortable with the native people as his wife is, though.

Continue reading “Touches The Sky – by James Calvin Schaap (2003)”
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