cover image Remember My Name

Remember My Name

Sara Harrell Banks. Roberts Rinehart Publishers, $8.95 (120pp) ISBN 978-1-879373-38-9

A poignant story with natural yet dramatic action inaugurates the Council for Indian Education series of middle-grade novels. Here, Banks addresses the Indian Removal of 1838, when the Cherokee nation was forced out of Georgia and marched to Arkansas on what has become known as the Trail of Tears. As the novel opens, 11-year-old Annie Rising Fawn, half Cherokee/half Scot, leaves behind her traditional Cherokee home and name when she goes to live in sophisticated New Echota, the Cherokee capital in Georgia. Soon she befriends Righteous Cry, a black slave girl. Before long, however, punitive measures are exacted against the Cherokees; finally, troops arrive to banish them from their lands. Banks enhances the plot's immediacy by providing a minimum of exposition--like Annie, the reader is more aware of the sensations of fear, bewilderment and anger than of the underlying political circumstances. Parallels between the legal status of the Cherokee and the slave become an integral part of the story; however, Banks undercuts herself in her portrayal of Righteous Cry, who alone speaks in dialect (``I sho' glad you home, Mama''). This flaw aside, the novel conveys great feeling--it's part adventure, part history, and wholly engrossing. Ages 9-12. (May)