A 2015 historical fiction, Hiawatha and the Peacemaker (Abrams Books for Young Readers) is based on a story author Robbie Robertson heard one of the elders of the Six Nations of the Grand River, in Ontario, Canada tell. Retold in beautiful lyrics and David Shannon’s striking oils, this story retells the story of the Peacemaker and Hiawatha, who traveled between New York State and Ontario and Quebec, Canada, in the fourteenth century to share the story of peace to the leaders of the warring Iroquois nations: the Cayugas, Senecas, Oneidas, Mohawks, and Onodagas.
The story starts when Hiawatha looses his wife and three daughters in a terrible battle at the hands of Chief Tadodaho. But the revenge Hiawatha feels is replaced by peace when he is visited by the Peacemaker and asked to come along to spread the message of peace to the tribes. Hiawatha is met with some resistance, especially from Tadodaho himself. But, ultimately, the efforts are successful, and as Hiawatha encourages others to engage in peace, he, too, learns to forgive.
My only critique of the book is that there are a lot of words per page, so you will need to reserve more time than usual to read this book aloud. But the message of forgiveness that is shared in this story that has been passed down through oral tradition is so powerful.
An incredibly powerful story for its message and its artistic elements, Hiawatha and the Peacemaker will make a powerful addition to your library.
Let me know what you think of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker in the comments below.