Beginning in broken English, Nannie tells of her incredibly difficult first year at the school, including entries detailing her previous life as her ability to communicate in English grows. From December, 1879, to October, 1880, readers follow a remarkably resilient girl, uprooted from her home and culture, trying to find a place for herself in a rapidly changing world. Loyal, caring, and creative, she is able to see a spirit helper in a kitchen mouse and willing to defy regulations in mourning the death of her dearest friend. Rinaldi depicts widely divergent cultures with clarity and compassion. Captain Pratt, founder of a school that forcibly strips children of their native culture, also provides vocational training and field trips, and responds to his students as true individuals. The body of the text is followed by an epilogue telling of Nannie’s later life, an extensive historical note, and black-and-white photos. The period, the setting, and Nannie herself all come to life. An excellent addition to a popular series.
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