Jimmy McClean (11) lives on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation with his mother, who is Lakota Indian, and his father, who is half Lakota Indian and half white. Jimmy’s blue eyes, light brown hair, and name are different from the Lakota kids he goes to school with. They tease him and he doesn't like to go to school. When school ends, Jimmy's Grandpa, Nyles High Eagle, takes him on a road trip to teach Jimmy about his culture, Lakota history, and the stories of Crazy Horse.
On the trip, Jimmy learns that Crazy Horse, the great warrior and leader, is his great-great-grandfather. He also learns that he looked a lot like him. Jimmy and his grandfather visit many historical sites that were an important part of Lakota history. Grandpa Nyles tells a story at every site. His grandfather points out what Crazy Horse and many other natives encountered while trying to protect their land from American soldiers.
BTSYA Volunteer (23):
In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse packages a short overview of Crazy Horse’s life in a story well suited to young middle schoolers while giving lessons of confidence and courage.
As a Citizen Potawatomi with mixed ancestry, I understand Jimmy’s frustration at not visually belonging a certain group, and wish that the author had explored the issue further. Nyles helps resolve this conflict by telling Jimmy that Crazy Horse also had lighter hair and a lighter complexion. The information about Crazy Horse - physical and historical - gives Jimmy self-confidence to face his bullies at school. This lesson—that your appearance doesn’t define who you are—is well received, but this book would have been more powerful if it had more deeply explored Jimmy’s thoughts as he came to this conclusion in is mind and his heart.
Worth reading. Because of the underdeveloped characters and environment, I recommend In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse as a book best checked out from the library.
BTSYA Volunteer / Adult Perspective (41):
The author does a wonderful job providing a historical background of Crazy Horse and the Lakota Warriors. He provides insight into how important protecting the land and the people were. This is a fictional story that highlights real events and a celebration of Crazy Horse.
Even though the book doesn't have much of a plot, the stories Grandpa Nyles tells are very informative. Events like the Battle of the Rosebud and Battle of the Little BigHorn are explained through the eyes of the Lakota. It’s a great history lesson and I enjoyed every page. This book would make a great gift to ages 11-13.
Readers interested in history and who like episodic stories will truly enjoy this book.
Violence is presented in the story through battles between Natives and Americans.
This is an historical fiction story that incorporates factual events and experiences of Lakota tribe members.
Although Jimmy and Grandpa Nyles are fictional, the content in Nyles' stories are facts from history. Retrace their trip with a map (paper recommended), and if there is a particular event that is interesting or was a "I never knew that" moment, grab it and take the opportunity to explore more.
10 and Up
10 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 23, 41
Borrow, for sure. This is history you need to read but are not likely to see in schol.
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