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Aleutian Sparrow.

ALEUTIAN SPARROW. Karen Hesse. 2003. Read by Sarah Jones. Includes an afterword featuring Aleutian evacuee Harriet Hope. 1 tape. 1.75 hrs. Listening Library. 0-8072-1966-5. $12.99. Cardboard; plot, reader, author notes. JSA*

From the KLIATT review of the book. Sept. 2003: "... this series of short poems ... tell a story about Aleutian people during WW II. The Japanese bombed some of their villages, and 'for their own protection' the US government relocated them to camps in the Alaskan forests, a place completely different from the windswept, treeless islands they knew ... The narrator is an adolescent girl, whose father is white and whose mother is Aleut ... Like so many other Aleutian people, the narrator's best friend Pari dies when they are in exile, unable to adjust to the strange new climate and diet.... Hesse, as usual, displays her mastery of this form--creating a novel in poetry."

Jones, as narrator for the main character, Vera, gives us a voice that haunts by reminding us of the vulnerability and, at the same time, the strength of a teenager. There is a longing in her voice, not just for herself but also for the survival of her whole Aleut tribe. She conveys the terror of her journey from a light, open seascape home to a dank, dark, forest relocation center where the government hand is heavy and disease rampant. We are swept along in the beauty of the author's poetic imagery with the light voice of a teen wondering what will happen to herself and her people. It is truly like listening to a sparrow. Teens should identify well with this reading. Rozelle Overmire, San Francisco, CA
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Author:Overmire, Rozelle
Article Type:Audiobook Review
Date:May 1, 2004
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