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Ghost Hawk


Ghost Hawk

Alethea Allarey

Official Links


Written by Susan Cooper

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2013

2015-2016 Nominee - Middle School/Junior High


On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.


Excerpt from Ghost Hawk (pages 31-32)

I was totally alone, trapped in this cold snow-buried winter.  I had failed to find my Manitou.  I couldn't go home.  I should die like Southern's friend who never came back from the woods, whose body was found many moons later half-eaten by animals.  I should never see my family again.  
A great snorting sob came out of me, though a man does not cry and a man does not show weakness, ever.  For a few moments I pressed my face into the cedar branches and I howled like a coyote.  Outside, the snow came silently down and down, burying me deeper, and I drove myself into a kind of trance of despair.
I had never known how my Manitou would come to me, but I never expected it to come as a comfort for shame.  They had taught me that you can earn your revelation only by fasting or by bravery, by heroism.  They were wrong.
He came as a great osprey--a fish hawk, the bird we see only in summer--and he swooped over me with the spread feathers of his broad wing brushing my face, in my mind.  He called to me, and his voice sang like the throb of a drum.
Stop this, he said.  Stop this at once.  You are Little Hawk, given life on this earth.  You will keep yourself alive.
I can't, I said wretchedly.  I can't.  I've failed.
I will show you your strength, said my Manitou.  Come.  Come.
And I was flying with him, up into the grey-white sky, swooping down over the snow-mounded treetops.  The snow was no longer falling, the clouds had taken shape--towering, churning clouds full of winter, with a break in the eastern sky where the sun was beginning to glimmer through.
My arms were wings; I lay on the wind.  I followed my Manitou as he banked and turned.  Far below us I could see the sea.

Used with permission of the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books

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