In just a few short months, Adeline Carson has had to deal with her mother's death and her father's departure. When she's told her father won't be back for her as he'd promised, she decides to run away and find him.
I live in two worlds, but I belong to neither of them. I grew up at Bent Fort in Colorado until I was 11. My Ma was Arapaho and my Pa is Kit Carson, the famous scout. I never thought much about being a mix of white and Indian blood till my Ma died of a fever, and Pa was hired to guide Lt. John Fremont on a special mission to find a trail through the Rocky Mountains. There was no one to take care of me, and Pa figured it was time I met some of his family. Problem was, he was so darn proud of me that he forgot to tell his relatives that my Ma was an Indian. Things that weren't considered so strange in Colorado were just plain repulsive to folks in St. Louis, Missouri.
Before he left, Pa warned me not to be sassy, but when I saw how his kin looked at me after he was gone, I decided I not only wouldn't be sassy, I wouldn't say anything at all. That's why they thought I was mute and dumb and fit only to be their servant. Pa has been in such a hurry to meet up with Fremont, he forgot to tell his family I was smart as a whip and needed to go to school. And it never occurred to any of them that I might be able to do more than fetch wood and sweep the floor. Fact was, I was better at spelling, and figuring and geography, than any of those stuck-up kids. But there weren't nothing I could do about it, 'cept wait for Pa to come get me. But he never came. Fremont came back, and he told Cousin Silas that Pa had decided to go on to New Mexico, and he wasn't coming back.
Cousin Silas was furious, and I knew it was time to leave. I couldn't stay where I was, scorned and hated. If Pa wasn't gonna come for me, I'd just go find him. That night I packed my few possessions and crept out of the house. I had no way of knowing what lay ahead of me, but surely it had to be better than what I was leaving behind.
But I never would have made it if it hadn't been for Dog. He was an ugly, scrawny critter with a face like a muskrat. And he slipped right into my heart as swift and sneaky as a Pawnee arrow. Even if Pa had always told me never to take a dog on the trail with you, it didn't take long for me to decide that Dog and I were partners. It was a long way from Missouri to where my Pa was. A long way…with lots of adventures. Take a seat, and listen while I tell you about them.
This booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart.