Cover Image: Red Dove, Listen to the Wind

Red Dove, Listen to the Wind

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Member Reviews

Things are changing for Red Dove’s people, and tensions are high between the Lakota and the white settlers and soldiers. Red Dove’s village has managed to stay free and off reservation land through an agreement with the local soldiers, but the Lakota village is faced with unbearable choices as food becomes scarce, and white townspeople become unwilling to trade. 

Red Dove’s story takes place in the buildup of tensions in South Dakota in 1890 that led to the massacre at Wounded Knee. This an important piece of US history and it is told with compassion and empathy, emphasized by Red Dove’s ability to feel the experiences of others. This book would be a fantastic book to read in a discussion setting or classroom where readers can discuss and reflect on characters’ actions and why people act one way but think another, and to discuss the tragic events of Wounded Knee and the treatment of native peoples through history. I recommend this book for classroom settings and to kids 10-14 who are interested in history and social justice (my advanced reader 9yo adored this book).

The illustrations were lovely and added a lot of charm to this already beautiful hardcover book. Additional illustrations of important items or items that some readers might not be familiar with (like Red Dove’s parfleche) would help young readers understand the narrative more easily. I hope future books in the series will include Andrew Bosley’s illustrations.

Overall the book was great and the subject matter important to impart to young readers, but there were a few issues that took this book from 4 stars to 3. There were editing issues I wouldn’t have expected in a finished book, some of these were continuity issues like clunky descriptions that led to not knowing how a character got where they were in the scene, one seemed to be a note to fix one of these issues as it wasn’t a complete sentence, and mention of an unnamed character by name when it wasn’t known by Red Dove that this character was nearby. Also, mentioning things that were discussed between characters off page as though they had been discussed on page, either conversations were edited out then following dialogue wasn’t appropriately altered or some dialogue was just confusing. Either way a few clarifying words in the dialogue would help for clarity. I’m a pretty attentive reader and it’s problematic when passages make me stop and wonder “wait what?”, requiring a reread or two to figure out.

While Red Dove had some problems with continuity and clarity from an editing standpoint, the book’s praiseworthy telling of difficult subject-matter is well worth reading and embracing, especially in the classroom.
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This book hits home on how life was for American Indians as Anglos started lording over them. It's hard to read about Red Dove being forced to attend school in exchange for food, but it is important for readers to know the truth of the lengths of the unkindness that white people took to make life hard for American Indians.
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*received from netgalley for free for honest review* Very interesting book, really loved Red Dove, enjoyed this book as an adult and would have really enjoyed it as a child as well! Can't say I've read many books similar to this and I love that more books with native American MC's are becoming common!
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I loved the idea of this book, but the execution fell flat unfortunately. 

There’s never enough food for Red Dove and her Lakota family. White missionaries show up and basically force Red Dove’s family to send her and her brother to a faraway white Christian school where they will supposedly be fed and cared for. At the school they face abuse while back home on the Great Plains, her family is starving and under threat from the military encamped nearby that continues to encroach on their land. 

Red Dove feels pressure from her family to unite white people and Lakota people. Her family tells her she is the only one who can do this because she is half white (her white father abandoned her mother when she was just a baby). This is an overarching theme throughout the book - Red Dove needing to come to terms with her “power” to unite both people groups, made possible both because of her heritage and because of a magical amulet that allows her to understand English, and to therefore understand what is happening, when she otherwise would not. 

This book is a stark and honest account of the way indigenous Americans were treated by the government: starved and murdered, forced Christianity and abuse of children, and more. 

While the subject matter is important, especially an #ownvoices perspective, the writing was very flat. There is a ton of dialogue and it is largely unrealistic conversations used to move the story along. There is not much description, of either settings or characters, which made it hard to get into the story, or feel connected to the characters at all. Overall, there was a lot of telling vs. showing, which made for a disconnected read.
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Loved this! Have purchased for my classroom. Excellent read for middle school readers. We have been discussing Native voices recently and this book is a great, fiction for children.
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Thirteen year old Red Dove lives in interesting times for the Lakota people. Shortly after the Battle of the Greasy Grass (Battle of Little Big Horn), her people have fallen on hard times. Food has become scarce, and the Lakota have learned that they cannot trust the people who have settled on their lands to live peacefully.

In a moment of weakness, Red Dove's mother agrees to send her children to a local Catholic school, hoping that the children will at least find regular meals there. Red Dove's grandfather hopes that she will also learn the ways of the Wasichu, to better bridge the gap between her people and these strangers. The journey will be so much harder than any of them know.

Though I've read a fair amount of middle grade fiction, Red Dove, Listen to the Wind is a hard one for me to grasp. I think it's the kind of book that would be a favorite of a reader of the right age. Red Dove, like Meg Murry before her, is a difficult girl, chafing against two cultures that both would rather she wasn't so active or assertive. Coming to this as an adult, and as someone with a pretty good idea of what's ahead for her people, Red Dove comes across as a bit of a brat. She pushes where she shouldn't, choosing to hunt though the women of her tribe do not hunt. But, if I step back, I can see that she's not wrong: Red Dove makes choices that feel real for a girl her age in the challenge times she lives in. If she can hunt better than her brother, isn't it better that she does so? Who would choose hunger over tradition? (Hunger actually drives a few of her poor choices, which: girl, same.)

Red Dove's story is heart-breaking. The cruelty of the events she lives through prompted me to set the book aside a number of times. But the gentle magic of the book balances some of the harder elements. 

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in order to facilitate this review.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Sonia Antaki, and One Elm Books (an imprint of Red Chair Press) for the opportunity to read Red Dove, Listen to the Wind in exchange for an honest review.

My initial interest in this book comes from my own heritage. I am 1/8 Paiute-Shoshone (yeah, yeah, 1/8 isn't much), but it is that 1/8, and growing up in a heavily populated Paiute area, that developed my interest in Native American culture, history, and mythology. I could tell from the description that this would definitely be a fantastic book that would resonate with the struggles that Native Americans face in the early history of the United States, as well as with conflicts still occurring today.

Red Dove is of the Lakota, a Native American tribe that migrates around the Great Plains area of the U.S. Born to a white father and Lakota mother, Red Dove has never quite fit in among either world. She is ridiculed by her fellow Lakota people for her light-colored eyes, yet her heritage and knowledge is that of the Lakota. She is even a better hunter than her brother, Walks Alone, but women aren't hunters! When she is taken to a school to learn the language and ways of the wasichu (white man) to help feed her family and save them from the harsh winter, she experiences the first-hand racism that the wasichu present toward Red Dove's people. Of course, not all wasichu are like that.

Her experience with the nuns of the school, imposing Christian ways on Red Dove as well as forbidding her from speaking her language or divulging in her cultural norms, is less than human. This event in the novel reflects what has happened to most Native American tribes across the country: a loss of their tradition and language because of this forceful "education."

Red Dove has a special pouch that is invisible to those who are "unworthy" of its power. It allows her to understand English and see/share visions and experiences with others. With the pouch, she is able to show some of the white men and nuns, among others, the pain that they have caused or are causing the Lakota people. 

When a massacre somehow seems necessary and many of Red Dove's people are killed and wiped out, the morality behind this reflection of true events really hits the pathos with the reader.

I love how educational this book is. It's authentic to the Lakota history and is a great way to share these experiences with young readers today who may not know or understand this aspect of American history. There is also a Lakota dictionary in the back of the book that defines the many Lakota words used throughout the novel. A quick, easy, serious but fun read that I would recommend bringing into the classroom!
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My Review: I grew up reading Kenneth Thomasma's books and this one gave me very similar vibes with the synopsis.  I am glad I did get the opportunity to read it.  While this is a middle grade book and a lot of the violence has been toned down, it still gives a good look at the harsh realities of the time. Red Dove and her family, had some difficult decisions to make, to survive by leaving their ways behind and trusting people who were not entirely trustworthy or stick with their heritage but risk starving and being persecuted.  I did appreciate the portrayal of  not only those who are following orders and strongly agree with them, but also those who think they are helping but were innocently blind to the damage that was being caused.  I enjoyed seeing how the characters developed throughout the story.



My Rating: This was a beautiful but difficult book to read, it shows us some of the truly ugly past of our nation.  With that said it is an important story to read and the way the multiple and polar opposite views are presented make for great conversation starters with young readers.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
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Red Dove is a book that is geared more towards middle grade readers but I still liked it.
There isn't really much to review about this book except that it was told from an 13 year old girl who had a difficult decision to make.along her journey and I must confess there is a lot of jumping around so I didn't finish it.
Can Red Dove stay true to herself and learn the white man's ways as she finds a way to belong? 
I will say the cover is beautiful and the few pictures that are in it was done very well
My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book. NO compensations were received and all opinions are my own
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Unfortunately I was not really a fan of this book.
I did enjoy the general plot of this book. With Red Dove having to go to a ‘white people’ school, for food. Her seeing how ‘white people’ life, and what they think about ‘Indians’. But I think it just didn’t work out very well.
I liked that Red Dove was very brave and strong but also scared, and really wanted to help ‘her people’!
The thing is, I liked the idea of the book, but I didn’t like the execution. There were quite some side characters introduced, that I either didn’t care about or didn’t think were that important. The magic in this book wasn’t that good, it was basically a pouch that solved everything?!
There were also some ‘big reveals’ at the end that were very obvious, and I didn’t really like them. But they might have been more of a surprise for the actual age group!
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A very moving middle-grade book. You will not want to put down once you are near 50% done. 

Red Dove is geared to middle-grade readers but I find it may be difficult for them to read and understand on their own. It speaks of the horrible way our ancestors treated the Indians as we populated the country by moving West. Some kids may find the ruthless killing discussed a trigger for harsh emotions. 

I would love to see this incorporated in a 5th-grade classroom using many of the subjects. History (Sitting Bull and Custer), Reading, Science (the herbs Indians relied on), Art and Music. There is much to be learned from this book and lessons we can apply today on how to treat others fairly. 

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, One Elm, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I found this book quite difficult to get into. It felt like it was trying to deal with different plots and didn't quite know its direction. There was a glossary at the end of the book, but as I was reading in e-book format, I didn't notice it until I had finished the book. I think that it might be a bit of a difficult one for younger readers, which is who the book is aimed at. I also found this book too dialogue driven, which is not something I enjoy. Overall, this book wasn't too bad.
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Thirteen-year-old Red Dove lives with her mother and brother and Lakota tribe in the Dakota Territory. Abandoned by her white father, Red Dove struggles to help her family survive. Walks Alone, her older brother, constantly reminds her of her place in the family and the tribe. Red Dove must not hunt, must not eat plums, and must not break a hundred other rules that govern the way of the people. 

Falling Bird, Red Dove’s mother, tries to help her understand that the rules help everyone live in balance. Red Dove fears that her need to question traditions stems from her white heritage. Fitting in, even after living her entire life with the tribe, doesn’t come easy. Her grey eyes and lighter skin don’t help. 

When white settlers come to their village and insist that all the children leave for the white man’s school, Red Dove has no desire to leave for the white man’s school, but it becomes clear that if the tribe that sending its children away will be the only way the white soldiers will help feed the tribe over the winter.

Red Dove’s grandfather, a medicine man, assures her that one day she will use her gifts to help her people. Even if it means traveling far away to the school.

Once at the school, Red Dove wonders how her grandfather’s prophecy could ever come true. Especially in a place where no one listens and no one cares.

Antaki tells Red Dove’s story with sensitivity and accuracy. Younger readers may struggle with the truths about the boarding schools for Native Americans and the treatment of Natives during this time period (1880s). Red Dove’s quest for truth and her place in the world keep the book from becoming maudlin or a heavy-handed litany of wrongs against Native Americans. 

Students will want to explore further and draw their own conclusions about the settlement of the American West.
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What I really liked about this book is that it told a story of the history that some American Indians likely experienced in the late 1800s and does not shy away from showing how wrong the government and military of the day treated people. This is an important story that we need to make sure everyone knows.

I wasn't as enamored with the magical elements. I believe that it is key for people to try to experience how the actions of the majority impact the minority, even today, and the writer chose to use magic to make this happen, nearly in real time. It made for a tidy plot and forced characters (white characters) to act in ways they probably never would have. There is some instruction that can occur from this, but I wonder if this will feed into some stereotypes about stories with Indigenous peoples that involve mystical, mythical qualities, and also take away from the reality of the terrible situations portrayed. This book would be best if it was discussed with students rather than handed to them.

I am also a little leery these days of books portraying cultures from other writers. It looks like sensitivity readers were used here an that is good. I would rather see an ownvoices book, and will need to do more research on the sensitivity readers used. 

Once I have though, I am likely to purchase this book for my school and use it to create dialogue with students.
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The story of Red Dove is written simply and plainly and the story could be accessed by any age, with younger readers easily consuming the story if it were to be read aloud to them and older readers to read it for themselves.

It is a brief touch upon Native American magic and tradition mixed with the White People trying to make them “civilised”. As always it reminds me of the scene in Pocahontas before she sings colours of the wind and says “and still I cannot see, how the savage one is me” whilst handing him back his gun.

Red Dove is mixed race, Native American and White and was raised as Native American but feels like she doesn’t quite belong though when she is forced to go to the school run by the nuns, they don’t accept her either so as the story goes on, she, with the help of her grandfather’s spirit tries to make others see and feel the pain that they are causing and help them to realise that it isn’t something they want to be doing. That the violence should stop.

Overall, I’d aim it at age 10+ years old though accessible for all and it gets 4 stars,
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Red Dove is a 11yo chld, half indian half white. She lives with brother WalkAlone, mother and Grandfather in an indian village.
A day, a woman come to the village, says the children must to go to school.. and then all changed. Anger, war, battles start.
This is a true nice story. what happen to Indians is awful. all traditions, places, culture, people must be respected.
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Red Dove, Listen to the Wind follows a courageous and feisty young Lakota girl on a journey to find where she belongs. As the daughter of a white man and Lakota mother, she often feels as though she doesn't belong with her Native American family. When Red Dove and her brother, Walks Alone, are sent to school, her journey to finding her place and helping her people begins. 

This was a quick read. It was well plotted with developed characters. The author had me invested in Red Dove's journey and kept me reading. I thought that the sensitive topic of how white settlers treated the Native Americans was approached in a way that was suitable for the audience. This book would be a great addition to any library serving upper elementary and middle school children.
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Red Dove, Listen to the Wind
by Sonia Antaki

One Elm Books, an imprint of Red Chair Press

One Elm Books

Children's Fiction , Middle Grade

Pub Date 15 Oct 2019


I am reviewing a copy of Red Dove, Listen to the Wind through One Elm Books and Netgalley:



Red Dove is s thirteen year old Lakota Child Who was abandoned by her white Father.  She faces another lean winter with her Lakota Family on the Great Plains!  Red Dove is willful and proud.


Red Dove finds herself faced with an impossible choice either leave her people to live in the white world, or stay with the Lakota and watch them starve to death.


Soon Red Dove finds herself on a journey to find her place in the world and learns that greatest power comes from within.



I give Red Dove, Listen to the Wind five out of five stars!


Happy Reading!
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I thought Red Dove, Listen to the Wind was a pretty good middle grade read. I give it four and a half stars.
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