I read the most amazing middle grade novel last week and I’m so excited to share it with everyone. It is called The Young Healer by Frank N. McMillan III. It was awarded the Children’s Book of the Year contest award by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. It came out this past July.
Feather is a young girl living in New York City with her mom, brother and grandfather Spotted Eagle. She’s half Lakota Indian on her mom’s side. One day Feather takes the journey of a lifetime when her brother Peter is put into the hospital and her grandfather picks her up early from school to go on a healing quest.
Feather meets all sorts of interesting people around NYC, and discovers the stories of her Lakota ancestors prove true even today. She learns from her grandfather that she has the “gift”- the power of a medicine healer. In the end it is a battle of faith versus medicine.
I loved this book. The story is so richly told through the amazing characters, the sacred Lakota tales and through the love of Feather for her brother.
My favorite character is Spotted Eagle, the grandfather. He is a wonderful man who is wise to the world around him and sees beauty in all things. He teaches these values to Feather, and her eyes are opened to not only new people, but to miracles and nature. At one point they go to the top of the Empire State Building to perform a ceremony. Spotted Eagle paints his face and then wears the paint throughout the rest of the story, oblivious to other people’s thoughts.
I highly recommend this book. It is well written, and the only criticism I had was the part where Feather and her grandfather visit a bear at the zoo. Not just visit, but go into his cage. I had a hard time with that idea, but overall, the book is so well done and filled with culture and good values. Wow! Go get this one.