Parents' Guide to


By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Heart, storytelling in relatable tale of legendary leader.

Book cover: Peacemaker by Joseph Bruchac, showing large flotilla of Indigenous people in canoes

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Heart, connection, history, and storytelling loom large as a 12-year-old Indigenous boy, caught up in never-ending warfare, finds hope for a better way in the words of a charismatic messenger. Scholar/storyteller Joseph Bruchac delves into the oft-told traditional accounts of the Peacemaker, who united the warring tribes of the Iroquois Nations into a confederacy that's served as a model for democracies ever since. Song and story are important for making your point and changing hearts and minds. Here, in a metaphor for the unending conflict, the Peacemaker tells of a snake who's busy devouring a frog when a passer-by suggests to the frog that he grab the snake's tail and start his own devouring.

"As the frog swallowed and the snake continued swallowing, the circle they formed got smaller and smaller... The snake swallowed and the frog swallowed, the snake swallowed and the frog swallowed. And the circle got smaller and smaller until...

"The Peacemaker clapped his hands together. 'Pop!' he said. 'They both disappeared. They had eaten each other.'"

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