Cover image for Soft Rain : a story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears
Soft Rain : a story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears
Cornelissen, Cornelia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
115 pages ; 22 cm
Soft Rain, a nine-year-old Cherokee girl, is forced to relocate, along with her family, from North Carolina to the West.
Reading Level:
650 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.3 3.0 32159.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Soft Rain is 9 years old when her life changes. Without warning, white soldiers arrive at her house. They command Soft Rain and her mother to come with them, taking only the possessions they can instantly pack and carry. They are forced to leave behind Soft Rain's blind grandmother, her father and brother, and even her puppy. It is 1838, the year of the enforced westward relocation of all the Cherokee people. The long and dangerous journey, across rivers and over mountains, through rain and snow, is an unwelcome adventure for Soft Rain and her people. Soft Rain's inspiring story of strength and hope is a testament to all those who lived through the Trail of Tears.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. The historical facts are authentic in this docu-novel about the forced march west of the Cherokee from their home in North Carolina in 1838, but the writing is flat, with idealized characters, a contrived subplot, and purposive bits of culture and history patched on to the story. All of young Soft Rain's family members are perfectly strong, gentle, and brave, both before the removal and on the march. What will hold readers is the personal drama of the terror from the child's point of view: the white soldiers' invasion of her home, the separation of her family, the brutal roundups, then the long, bitter journey from home. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In what PW called "an eye-opening introduction to a painful period of American history," a Cherokee girl recounts the hardships of 1838 leading up to and including the journey along the Trail of Tears. Ages 8-12. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-In the spring of 1838, nine-year-old Soft Rain learns that there will be no more school for the Cherokee children in her North Carolina community. The Tsalagi (as the tribal members refer to themselves) have signed a treaty with the white men and will be moving to new lands in the West. A short time later, soldiers abruptly force Soft Rain and her mother from their home, abandoning the girl's blind grandmother, her dog, and her father and brother out working in the fields. They follow the Trail of Tears, the path taken by 18,000 Cherokee traveling from stockaded holding areas across rivers, valleys, and mountains. Hungry, exhausted, and often ill from the white man's disease, some 4000 people died during the migration. But Soft Rain's story ends more happily; she and her mother miraculously meet up with her father, brother, and an uncle. The author makes clear the hardships these Native Americans endured and the injustice of their exile, but her protagonist remains remarkably positive. Because she has been relatively unaffected, readers may be, too. At one point the grandmother tells a story; at that moment, the book becomes more than just the record of a trip but a glimpse of a disappearing culture. However, there aren't enough of these stories to bring readers closer to this girl and her world. Still, this novel is a readable version of a shameful episode in U.S. history and may find use as a supplement to social studies units.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mapp. ii
A Sad Letterp. 1
The Little Peoplep. 8
Green Fernp. 15
Planting Selup. 19
The Dollp. 24
To the Stockadep. 28
In the Penp. 36
The Coughing Diseasep. 43
Rain Comesp. 51
The Young Chiefp. 58
Rattlesnake Springsp. 63
Rivers, Valleys, and Mountainsp. 69
The Barnp. 76
A New Leaderp. 83
The Mississippi Riverp. 91
White Childrenp. 97
The Last Applep. 103
About the Cherokee Nationp. 110
Suggested Reading for Childrenp. 113
Selected Bibliographyp. 114