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    Morning Girl

    Morning Girl

    by Dorris, Michael

    The award-winning author of A Yellow Raft in Blue Water presents a tale based on an entry in the diary of Christopher Columbus that tells of a native family living in a vibrant community striving to coexist with the natural world.

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    books;paperback books | Ages 9-12
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    Morning Girl
    Ages 9-12 $4.99
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    Morning Girl

    Morning Girl

    by Michael Dorris

    "I open my eyes as soon as the light calls through the smoke hole in the roof, sift the ideas that have come to me in the night and decide which one to follow first." In alternating chapters, Taino youth Alba (Morning Girl) and Noche (Star Boy) vividly recreate life on a Bahamian island in 1492—a life that is rich, complex, and soon to be threatened.

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    Paperback Book | Grades 5-8
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    Morning Girl
    Grades 5-8 $3.71
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Morning Girl

Author: Michael Dorris

Interest Level:
4-6

Lexile Framework:
980L

Grade Level Equivalent:
6.3

Guided Reading Level:
S

Age:
9-11

Genre:
Historical Fiction, Multicultural

Subject:
Native American, Exploration and Discovery, European Colonization, Communities and Ways of Life, Caribbean Islander

About This Book

This brief, lyrical novel explores the world of a sister and brother living on a lush island in the Bahamas just before the arrival of Columbus. Morning Girl and Star Boy narrate the story in alternating chapters, giving readers a view into the Taino Indian culture of which they are a part. That they must live in harmony with nature is a given; that the children recognize the power of that harmony is elegantly drawn. Says Morning Girl: "I like the aloneness of the early morning. I try to step gently on the path so that the sounds I make will blend into the rustle of the world." Her brother also feels it: "The first thing the wind moved was my blood. It ran faster in my arms and legs, pushing against the skin, warning me."

Although Morning Girl takes place at a moment in time that changed the lives and culture of a people forever, Dorris never lets the global scope of history take over his story. His characters defy stereotyping, and are not called upon to symbolize or represent their people. Morning Girl and Star Boy are themselves, fully developed, with concerns that even modern kids can understand: how to reconcile feelings of love and anger toward family members (including each other); how to discover their individual identities. The ultimate arrival of Columbus is a minor footnote in their story, but the epilogue, an excerpt from Columbus' journal, reminds us that the coming of Europeans to the island will eventually mean the nearly complete destruction of the Taino and their way of life.

Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award, Morning Girl is a moving work of fiction with a multitude of cross-curricular possibilities. Consider using it to supplement units on Native-American history and Columbus Day.


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