Based on the author’s own family’s experiences, this historical fiction book tells the story of Regina Petit, a girl whose family is forced to move from the Grand Ronde reservation when the US government terminates (no longer recognizes the legal status of) the Umpqua tribe in the 1950s. Regina’s dad optimistically moves the family to Los Angeles for a new start. Regina doesn’t understand how she can be Indian no more, and her grandmother who lives with them helps her to preserve her identity as Umpqua. Regina and her little sister make friends with kids in the neighborhood, all kids of color. She plays games with her friends like Cowboys and Indians, wants to watch the Lone Ranger to see what a “real Indian” is supposed to be like, and doesn’t feel quite right when asked to put on Indian “costumes.” The author(s) do an absolutely masterful job portraying a kid’s experiences with microaggressions and overt racism, including hearing very harsh, racist language directed at her friends. McManus died before she was able to complete the book, but convinced Sorrell to complete it for her after her death. Despite her own membership in the Cherokee nation, Sorrell worked diligently to make sure the book was historically accurate from the Umpqua perspective. Probably due to two authors working at different times on this book, there were a few very minor inconsistencies in the text. Highly recommend for about 4th grade and up; parents will probably want to have a conversation with their kids about some of the difficult situations represented in the story.
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