Monday, September 9, 2013

Ghost Hawk

What can kids learn from SusanCooper’s Ghost Hawk that impacts their health and well-being? A great deal, if you happen to believe that understanding helps prevent violence. 
Ghost Hawk tells the story of how the hatred if a people, in this case white Puritan settlers in Massachusetts, towards their Native American neighbors developed and grew.  Ironically, as we know, the Puritans themselves had fled to America to escape persecution and so were schooled in intolerance and in persecuting others in the name of Christianity.

In this compelling story, the relationship between a young boy named Little Hawk and a settler boy named John begins when John witnesses Little Hawk’s shooting death at the hands of a puritan racist.  John is powerless to stand up for Little Hawk, to speak for the boy who was completely innocent of a crime and in fact was trying to save a white settler's life.  

But Little Hawk's death doesn’t end the boys’ relationship.  Instead, Little Hawk returns as a ghost and the two boys become friends, developing a friendship that lasts years, narrated by Little Hawk.  Through his visits with his ghost friend, John learns Ghost Hawk’s Native American language. Through this fantastical relationship, John grows into an adult who is committed to fighting the ignorance about the Native American culture that grips the colony.  John pays with his life in the end. 

Though Cooper’s story is about racism injustice, it is hopeful in the sense that it teaches a basic truth: that individuals who are very different can find common ground and friendship.  There is so much sadness in this book.  But experiencing the relationship between John and Little Hawk through story might help open hearts and minds.


1 comment:

  1. Wow. I don't know how I've missed this book. I loved Susan's Coopers Dark Is Rising series. Um, this is that same Susan Cooper, right?