Reviews for Salt : A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
Booklist Reviews 2013 June #1
*Starred Review* Set during the War of 1812, near the present-day city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Salt is the story of the friendship between Anikwa, a Miami Indian boy, and James, the son of a trader. As both British and American armies advance on the area, other Native American peoples arrive hoping to fight with the British against the Americans. The plan fails, and Anikwa's peaceful people must flee. Will they have to abandon their traditional home, and will the friendship between the boys be sundered? Printz Honor Book author Frost (Keesha's House, 2003) has written, with artful economy, another affecting novel in verse. Interspersed among selections narrated in the alternating voices of the two boys are poems about the salt that is necessary to the survival of both peoples. Frost explains that the form of Anikwa's verses, rich in Miami words, evokes the diamond and triangle shapes of Miami ribbon work, while James' more linear form suggests the stripes of the American flag. While acknowledging the uncertainties, misunderstandings, and occasional animosities of war, Frost also celebrates the relationship of both the Miami people and the Americans with the land and with each other. Explanatory notes and a glossary of Miami words are appended to this lovely evocation of a frontier America and the timelessness of friendship. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #4
In her signature poetic style, Frost (Crossing Stones, rev. 11/09) uses an 1812 incident at Fort Wayne, Indiana, to illuminate the issues and human costs of westward expansion. Anikwa is a Miami; his tribe has been in the village of Kekionga for generations. Settler James and his family live at the trading post near the fort. The two twelve-year-olds are good friends, though each knows few words of the other's language, and together they roam the woodland that sustains them both. Then American and British armies (the latter probable allies of the Native Americans) descend on Fort Wayne in preparation for battle. Apprehension on both sides breeds injustices and resentments that flare into catastrophic preemptive acts and retaliation. In the boys' alternating narration, telling incidents and character-revealing actions are interlaced with thoughtful commentary. When Anikwa asks, "Who started the fire?" his grandmother replies, "Grief / gathered kindling. Fear struck the flint. / Anger fans the flames." Vital salt (which the Miamis harvested until they were required to buy it, and which they're "given" after the conflict) is the theme of a dozen lyrical interludes -- as elemental, essential to all creatures; as a symbol of tears, of taste, of life. Poignant and beautifully fashioned, this is a story that resonates far beyond the events it recounts. The book includes notes on form (James's lines, of even length, resemble stripes on the American flag; Anikwa's are symmetrically patterned like "Miami ribbon work") and a glossary of Miami words. joanna rudge long
Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #2
Frost explores the wide-ranging impact of wartime aggression through the intimate lens of two 12-year-old boys caught in the crossfire of the War of 1812. Anikwa, a member of the Miami tribe hailing from Kekionga, often spends his days hunting and playing in the forest with James Gray, whose home is in the stockade near Fort Wayne. For centuries, Anikwa's ancestors have lived in this area, and James' family has enjoyed amicable relations with the Miami and other Native Americans with whom they exchange goods. While these differing communities have learned from and helped support each other through adverse conditions, British and American claims to the Indiana Territory near Fort Wayne force them to re-examine their relationship. As other tribes and thousands of American soldiers gather to fight to establish the border between Canada and the United States, Anikwa's grandmother laments, "We can't stop things from changing. I hope / the children will remember how our life has been," foreshadowing how the boys' friendship, which has always been able to bridge cultural and language gaps, will face unprecedented challenges. Frost deftly tells the tale through each boy's voice, employing distinct verse patterns to distinguish them yet imbuing both characters with the same degree of openness and introspection needed to tackle the hard issues of ethnocentrism and unbridled violence. Sensitive and smart: a poetic vista for historical insight as well as cultural awareness. (Verse novel. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 May #4
Using a narrative poetry format, Frost (Hidden) artfully crafts a fiction-based-on-fact story of events at Fort Wayne in the Indiana Territory in 1812. Pages alternate between the insightful voices of two 12-year-old friends: Anikwa, a member of the Miami nation, and James Gray, whose family runs the fort's trading post. The poems offer each boy's perspective on events, such as playing together in the woods or, later, the siege of the fort and subsequent burning of Miami villages. The layouts of the boys' narration visually highlight the contrast between their cultures: Anikwa's centered verses expand and contract in the organic shape of traditional Miami ribboncraft, while James's left-justified, double-line stanzas represent the U.S. flag's stripes, Frost explains. Lyrical poems about salt, a traded commodity necessary to both cultures, are interspersed: "Tears come from earth and sky,/ from words moving through us./ We taste them as they fall,/ leaving salt streaks on our faces." Author notes and a glossary of Miami words conclude a very personal account of history that offers much for discussion. Ages 10-14. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (July) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July
Gr 5-7--Though the year 1812 rings ominously in the ears of any American history student, for Anikwa and James it is simply their 12th year, one that they expect will unfold like those that came before it. Anikwa, a member of the Miami tribe, and James, the son of traders living just outside Fort Wayne, have an easy friendship filled with trapping, fishing, and exploring the surrounding woods and river. Yet as outside events begin to converge, the first signs of betrayal and confusion enter their world as all is turned upside down. Frost, as readers have come to expect, fully embraces the stylistic possibilities of the verse form; James's poems run in long parallel lines visually representing the stripes of the American flag, while Anikwa's mirror Miami ribbon work. The two voices-and therefore forms-alternate easily throughout the story. The titular salt is sprinkled throughout the narrative, both as the subject of short poems that "give readers pause" between events (according to Frost's notes) and as a symbol of the fragile friendship between frontiersmen and Native Americans. James's father uncharacteristically withholds salt from Anikwa's people as tensions rise; yet pages later he watches as James takes great risk to get salt to Anikwa outside the stockade. The verse is succinct, yet beautiful, and the story is rich in historical and natural details. Fans of frontier and survival stories will find much to love within these pages.--Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ [Page 80]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
VOYA Reviews 2013 June
Salt is a remarkable novel that draws a reader's attention to the War of 1812 through the eyes of two young boys on the verge of becoming teenagers. James and Anikwa love to fish and enjoy the peaceful frontier life near Fort Wayne in the Indiana Territory. They think little of the politics between the settlers and the Indians until the battle comes to their doorsteps. Anikwa and his family are members of the Miami tribe and the land of the Indiana Territory has been their familial land for centuries. They have hunted, fished, trapped, traded, and lived in harmony with the land without problems--until the new American settlers begin to take more and more land for themselves. James and his American family run a trading post in the forest surrounding Fort Wayne and regularly trade with their Miami friends. As the desire for more land spurs the American settlers to move farther and farther west, the Miami Indians must decide if they will fight the Americans or relinquish their hold on the land they love so much. As the conflict escalates, James and Anikwa are caught in the middle; they do not know who to trust or believe. With soldiers entering the fort and the trading post being burned, James, his mother, and his sister move into the fort for safety. The Miami Indians hope the British soldiers will help them fight the Americans. When help fails to materialize, Anikwa and his family bury their food and move west until the furor dies over. The American soldiers work to push the Indians back by burning their village and crops, and killing many animals. Salt is an important novel for students to read and consider as they are learning about the War of 1812 in their social studies classes. The perspective of the boys helps bring personal meaning to a period of history that can be hard for students to grasp.--Charla Hollingsworth 5Q 3P M J Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.