The Night Birds

The Night Birds

Book - 2007
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After the Mankato Massacre of 1862, the Dakota Indians were banished from Minnesota. 14 years later, young Asa's life is changed by two visitors, each bearing secrets from the past which can no longer be buried. Maltman brings back to life a nearly forgotten episode in the history of the settlement in the American Midwest, which has been overshadowed by the Civil War.
Publisher: New York : Soho Press, c2007
ISBN: 9781569474624
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 370 p. ; 24 cm


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SPPL_Betsy Mar 09, 2018

During the summer of 1876, fourteen-year old Asa Senger learns haunting details about his family’s history after his mysterious aunt Hazel comes to live with him. Hazel informs young Asa about the reasons the Senger family settled on the Minnesota prairie, the hardships his parents and grandparents endured, and the tragic unfolding of the Dakota uprising. A surprising revelation forces Asa to understand that he is more closely tied to the uprising and ensuing mass-hangings of Dakota warriors than he ever imagined.

Thomas Maltman does an excellent job of describing a harrowing and disturbing period in American history from multiple perspectives. Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the details of nineteenth century prairie life intermingled with the fictional accounts of Asa and Hazel. Though there are violent scenes described in the book, readers of Young Adult literature may like that much of book revolves around adolescent characters, and is told in an accessible manner. Maltman earned several awards for The Nightbirds, including the ALA Alex Award (2008).


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