I bought In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall at Barnes and Noble because I had read a good review somewhere and I was looking for interesting books for my kids (age 8 and 11). It also interested me as I have some Native American roots myself (my grandfather on my mother’s side).
It turned out to be a simple but engaging story about a boy struggling with his heritage, and how to fit in, but also a short history of the life of Crazy Horse.
It’s basically a history lesson on Crazy Horse based on the oral history of his people but in the form of a story told by a grandfather on a road trip with his grandson. The fitting in part is just a hook to get the story started and to add a thread about courage to the history.
I found it interesting to learn about the battles and about the tragic end of Crazy Horse’s life from the perspective of the people involved (as passed down). I have not spent any time reading about this period or subject so it was mostly new to me. As I always do when reading about this subject, I came away with a sense of sadness and helplessness. America’s dealings with Native Americans is not an easy subject.
Tying the history to people and families, and to topography and geography, helps bring it to life. And the combination of conversation and flashbacks makes it accessible and easy to relate to.
I would think this would be a great introduction to this topic and time period; and may spark student’s interest in further reading. I haven’t read any history textbooks lately but I am guessing this would give a different perspective than is typical in textbooks.
If you have young readers interested in history or if you want a short easy to read introduction to Crazy horse, worth checking out.