cover image Children of the Longhouse

Children of the Longhouse

Joseph Bruchac. Dial Books, $14.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1793-0

Told from the alternating points of view of Native American Ohkwa'ri and his twin sister Otsi:stia, this historic novel shows a Mohawk village during the best of times: after the Great League of Peace is formed and before European settlers rob the tribe of its land. The story revolves around 11-year-old Ohkwa'ri's conflicts with a pompous bully, but the plot is less essential than the painstakingly wrought details about the tribe's daily rituals, legends and annual celebrations. Bruchac, who states in an afterword that his book is ""the result of a lifetime of learning from my Mohawk friends and neighbors,"" eloquently conveys how democracy, respect and justice are integral components of the Native Americans' religion and government. Besides learning the origins of modern-day lacrosse and certain kinds of tool-making, readers will come away from this novel with a broadened awareness of a nearly vanished culture. Ages 8-11. (June)