Everytime we finish one of the suggested history read alouds, we always say…”that was so awesome!!!”
But when we started Blackhawk, my oldest daughter was not enthused. She didnt like the idea of such a barbaric story. But after reading this book, we all agreed…”that was sooo awesome!” And it was a true account, which made the book even more spectacular. There is no way to finish this book and not begin to seriously question everything you have learned about the white man and Native American struggle. This book was full of every emotion and I cant wait to read it again with my younger kids.
This fabulous book challenged our assumptions, softened our hearts, and inspired us. My 8yr and 6yr were hungry for more. Even my husband was caught up in the story and insisted we wait for him to join our reading time.
Read with caution with younger audiences. This book came with our book pack for year 3 history. It does a beautiful job at showing Native American life and their culture and the struggles they faced. It is eye opening and a great read for students to see how Native Americans lived and how they felt and dealt with internal struggles and the difficulties they faced during this time period. For older students the themes in this book truly open up great communication about life back then and how there is true internal conflict between right and wrong. This is a definite read for older children. These topics and historical studies are vital to a real view of history and is a great eye opening book for older students to read and talk about. It is absolutely real and raw. However for younger more sensitive audiences I would proceed with caution. While I am sure some younger children would be completely fine with this book I wish there had been a more in depth review for me to read before starting this book with my 1st grader. This book has a lot of older themes like descriptive killing, war scenes and scalping and collecting scalps on the ends of spears. The war scenes do use language that could be scary to younger children and describes the Indians cutting throats and piles of dead bodies during the wars between the other tribes. The main character of the book does kill and take scalps. While it is an internal struggle for him and he regrets his actions afterwards it does describe his killing others in the book. There is also a scene where alcohol is brought to the Native American village by outsiders and one of the Native Americans squaw is kissed without her consent. And the drunk man that does this to her brushes it off as no big deal when her Native American husband gets angry about it. This book is included in the year 3 history pack and advertised as appropriate for 1st grade through 12th which could be misleading if you have a sensitive younger elementary student.
Black Hawk has been an interesting and eye opening look into the inner workings of a leader during difficult times. We see him grappling with what he feels inside to be right while trying to make sense of what he is taught. It’s a process I think we we all go through in some degree. I like that we can learn about his life and history of our nation while learning about that struggle and reflecting on it in our own lives.
We need more books like this. Books that truly show the heart of individuals and reveals the truth of difficult parts of US History. We read this book aloud as we did the History Year 3 Native American Unit, and it added great value to our unit studies. This book beautifully paints important historical accounts and valuable examples of strong character. My 7-year-old son said that he loves books like this because he can close his eyes and picture what everything looks like.
Before dying, Pyesa, Black Hawk’s father and chief of his people, commanded his son to defend their land from whites, who were trying to force the tribe off their land. Black Hawk, however, has no taste for killing and scalping and goes through great internal conflict. The story of this great-hearted leader shows how some whites and Native Americans were peaceful and kind, while others were not. Based on true events, this powerful book teaches about a difficult time period and shares profound, unique messages about love, faith, mercy, humility, friendship, forgiveness, and faith.
“I love stories that are beautifully written, that teach about history, and that dig deep into powerful messages; this book does all of these things. Why do we want our children to love reading? Not so they read fast-paced books without value, but because we want them to be immersed in books like Black Hawk that mold the mind and heart in ways that are good and beautiful.” –Jenny Phillips
This book is a suggested read-aloud for the History Year 3 course and is included in the optional History 3 Book Pack.
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