With my recent holiday blogging break, I’m a bit behind on sharing about our read alouds! We took a read-aloud break in late December and early January as well (between travel and sickness, regular reading time was hard to come by!), but we finished three read-alouds in recent weeks that I realized all had a common theme.
Our selection of books about being alone in the wilderness began with Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran by Kenneth Thomasma. We enjoyed another book by Thomasma earlier this fall, and I had originally planned for this book during our initial US History unit on Native Americans. However, once I had this book in hand I realized it fit much better in the unit we just finished on America as a new nation after the Revolutionary War.
Naya Nuki and several other members of her Shoshoni tribe are captured and taken prisoner by an enemy tribe. She and her fellow captives are forced to walk for days to this tribe’s village, where they become slaves. Naya Nuki’s closest friend and fellow captive is none other than Sacajawea — who of course later becomes famous as a guide to explorers Lewis and Clark.
Naya Nuki sets her mind on a different path than that of Sacajawea or any of her other fellow captives. She is bound and determined to escape and return home — no matter what dangers she might face on the way. While on the outside she looks like a model servant, she secretly plans her escape and hides away supplies she will need.
When the moment is right, Naya Nuki runs under cover of darkness from her captors — and thus begins a journey of many weeks to trek many hundreds of miles to the home of her people. Naya Nuki is a very brave young woman, and she is incredibly resourceful as she perseveres through the long journey across prairie and mountains to her homeland.
Miss M and I both enjoyed this exciting story. I’m bummed that our library doesn’t have any of Thomasma’s books. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much since our library usually has just about everything I am looking for. 😉 But used copies are available very inexpensively on amazon of many of the books in his Amazing Indian Children series.
Next Miss M and I read Sarah Witcher’s Story by Elizabeth Yates. I originally had this book planned for Miss M as an independent reading selection for history. As this book was nearing its library due date (with no option to renew — somehow our library system only has one copy and someone else wanted it too), I decided the surest way to make sure we read it before it went back was to make it our next read-aloud.
This was a pretty quick read for us. Sarah Witcher is a young girl from a family in New Hampshire in the early 19th century. She’s very young — her age is never given, but I am guessing she must have been three or four. While her parents go off to visit friends and leave Sarah’s older siblings in charge, Sarah wanders away to play in the woods. Her siblings are absorbed in what they are doing, and see so little of Sarah they assume their parents must have taken Sarah with them! Sarah’s disappearance is realized at the end of the day, touching off a multi-day search in the nearby woods.
Sarah, meanwhile, is surprisingly resourceful for a young girl. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but a great deal of her survival is thanks in part to a wild animal she mistakes for (or perhaps just really wants to believe is) the family dog.
As you might guess, this story has a happy ending and shows a great portrayal of her family’s unwavering faith that God cares for them.
Our final read-aloud fitting in with this theme is a bit different, since it deals with an even shorter time period of being out there alone. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh is an easy-reader chapter book I selected as a read-aloud for all the kids. We pretty easily finished it in one long sitting, so even a newer reader who is ready for this sort of reading could probably finish it in short order.
Jonathan is asked by his mother to complete an important errand — going over Hemlock mountain to his Aunt’s house, and returning with a large pot needed for an impending family gathering. Hemlock mountain is called a mountain, but we’re told it’s really just a big hill. Jonathan fears there might be bears on Hemlock Mountain…but, no, that’s not really true, is it? After Jonathan lingers just a bit too long at his Aunt’s house, he finds out for himself the truth about the bears on Hemlock Mountain.
For as “easy” of a read as this book it, it really makes a great read aloud. There is the rhythmic refrain of , “There are no bears on Hemlock Mountain. No Bears! No bears at all!…”, to the other opportunities for dramatic pauses while reading that make this book a fun one to share out loud. All three older kids (ages 8, 5, and almost 4) like this one a lot and begged for me to read “just a little more” until the whole book was finished!
I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word!