For the five books I’m reading for my verse novel challenge, I’ll not post reviews. Instead, I’ll leave you with a feel for the work itself.
From the dust jacket:
In June of 1942, seven months after attacking Pearl Harbor, the Japanese navy invaded Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. For nine thousand years the Aleut people had lived and thrived on these treeless, windswept lands. Within days of the first attack, the entire native population living west of Unimak Island was gathered up and evacuated to relocation centers in the dense forests of Alaska’s Southeast.
With resilience, compassion and humor the Aleuts responded to the sorrows of upheaval and dislocation. This is Vera’s story, but it is woven from the same faric as the stories of displaced people thoughtout history. It chronicles the struggle to survive and to keep community and heritage intact despite harsh conditions in an alien environment.
In a luminous novel of unrhymed verse, Newbery winner Karen Hesse brings to light this little-known episode from America’s past.
A peek inside:
Most of us dreamed of going Outside, hungry for a taste of
life beyond the Aleutians.
Few of us truly meant it, few of us ever really intended to
leave the fog and the wind, the sun and the rain, the
hunting and trapping and fishing, the easy welcome
We never thought who we were was so dependent on where
But when we settle back into the quiet villages along the
Aleutian beaches, who will we be after this?
After three years of promises we are back
Where the sun emerges from the galloping clouds,
Where one moment the rain ices our hair and the next a
rainbow arches over the volcano.
Where early grass ripples in the wind and violets lead an
advance of wildflowers across the treeless hills.
It all comes back so quickly, the particular quality of the air
where the Bering Sea meets the Pacific.
The Aleutian sparrow repeats over and over its welcome of
Our resentment folds down into a small package and is
locked away under the floor of our hearts.
What other chance do we have to survive if we cannot forget?