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Red Dove: Tell Truth to Darkness

Red Dove – Tell Truth to Darkness is a fantastic children’s novel written by Sonia Antaki for youth ages 10-14, that explores a re-imagined history of the Lakota people in 1891. Red Dove is a young protagonist who joins Buffalo Bill’s European Wild West Tour. Ecstatic by the opportunity to ride with the warriors, Red Dove leaves everything behind; including her white life, the cruel Sister Agatha and the wretched school that tried to force the Native out of her. Guided by her grandfather’s medicine pouch and sacred teachings, Red Dove knows what others think and feel.

This is a well-written book, and the characters were lively and relatable. The protagonist, Red Dove, has a fiery spirit but is also very reflective and thoughtful; her journey to find her truth is relatable to all audiences. Pairing this coming-of-age story with important and well known historical figures of the time, like Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, makes the story recognizable but with a unique twist. I liked that the author did not gloss over the harsh realities of colonization and the harmful effects of residential schools. Red Dove and Windflower are abused at the school by Sister Agatha; who beats them, cuts their hair and refuses to let them speak their own language. Further, Sister Agatha believes Red Dove to be a witch for using traditional medicines. While the author is not Indigenous, there are notes and acknowledgments at the front that indicate the author has consulted the Lakota tribe for accurate information and research to represent their people through this piece of historical fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I believe it would be most suitable for schools to help further learning of past and present Indigenous issues. Even as an adult, I enjoyed and would recommend this book! I look forward to the next installment of this series. Red Dove: Tell Truth to Darkness is a fun and educational children’s book that provides readers with a glimpse at history in an entertaining way.

Pages: 230 | ISBN: 1662905483

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