Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

When a teenaged Navajo girl is interrupted by Spanish slavers one day while she’s shepherding sheep, it’s only the beginning of a marked change in life for her and her people in Sing Down the Moon by author Scott O’Dell.

I remember listening to the reading of another book by this author, Island of the Blue Dolphins, back when I was eleven or so in school. I was vaguely interested at the time, listening with one ear, but this author’s writing style wasn’t my thing back then.

And I’ll admit I didn’t get far the first time I tried this book some months (or a year?) ago. With the heroine’s fear of being struck down by the gods if she ever displayed too much happiness, and her early mention about once seeing her long-dead grandfather walking around on a snowy night, my openly happy self who isn’t into seeing dead relatives figured I’d have to be in a different frame of mind to give the book another try sometime.

I’m glad I gave it another try.

I likely would have thought this children’s book was boring when I was a child, but now I can appreciate this kind of understated read that has unassuming beauty and muted but strong emotion. The joy resonated with me, and I could also feel the grief and shame caused by unjust treatment and tragedy affecting the young and old in this story. I was engrossed, needing to see what would become of this heroine, and the simplicity, warmth, relief, and triumph of her last four words in the book…just wow.

I remembered some important parts of American history, I learned a little more, and this historical fiction devotee may even try Island of the Blue Dolphins again in the future.

 

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