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Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Name is Not Easy

My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson is a National Book Award Finalist. Edwardson draws on her strong knowledge of Alaska's history and environment. This story told through multiple narrators –Luke, Chickie, Sonny, Donna, and Amiq –children of various races (White, Indian, and Eskimo) sent a long way from their villages to Sacred Heart Catholic boarding school. All of the preteens’ families have been assured their children will receive a good education. No one can imagine at what cost. Luke begins the story by saying that he had to use the name, Luke, because his “name is not easy”. The students must give up their home language and speak only English. The integration of the Indians and the Eskimos is difficult at first as the students separate into packs. The story follows them from 1960 – 1964. Facing hardships brings the teens together and they soon find that School has become home for some of them. I appreciate that Edwardson used real-life situations that many Indian and Eskimo children had to face during that time in order to get an education. Some readers may have a difficult time at first keeping up with the characters as their stories are shared, but it is worth the effort. Another good book by Edwardson is Blessing’s Bead.

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