Young Adult Literature


Crossing The Panther's Path
by Elizabeth Alder


A novel based on the true story of Billy Calder, Tecumseh's translator and aide during the War of 1812. The teen is half Irish and half Mohawk, educated by the Jesuits, fluent in many languages, falling in love, and fiercely dedicated to the cause of the Indians and the British in the war. Once initiated into his mind and culture, readers will be walking trails, canoeing streams, riding horses, and fighting battles along with him. Throughout, he clearly matures and develops, but only as an idealized character, which accomplishes the author's apparent aim of raising him to heroic status. The valuable Native American perspective is important: William Henry Harrison is cast in an extremely negative light that rarely is illuminated in textbooks, and the generalized American ambition is shown to do what it indeed did, that is, destroy the homeland and much of the culture of the native peoples. Such historical aspects are so well woven into the text that they are at once unnoticed and accepted as part of the story and how things were at the time. Libraries should have copies of the novel to share with the many readers who will enjoy it. -Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL
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