Cover image for Walks Alone
Walks Alone
Burks, Brian.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Diego, Calif. : Harcourt Brace & Co., [1998]

Physical Description:
115 pages ; 22 cm
After a surprise attack leaves many of her people dead, fifteen-year-old Walks Alone, an Apache girl wounded in the massacre, struggles to survive and rejoin the refugee band.
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 3.0 24943.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.6 6 Quiz: 12194 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


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X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This powerful, factually based novel explores the human instinct for survival and self-determination through one Apache girl's fortitude in the face of extreme hardship and loss.

Author Notes

Brian Burks' published works include Runs With Horses , Soldier Boy , and Wrango , which was awarded the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile Fiction.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. Burks offers a short but powerful depiction of Apache Indian life circa 1879 and the decimation of the Indians by the U.S. Army. Fifteen-year-old Walks Alone witnesses and survives the massacre of her tribe by U.S. soldiers, escaping with her mute younger brother, who later dies of illness. Although she is ultimately reunited with her grandmother and betrothed to the young man she loves, she loses them both at the Battle of Tres Castillos. Burks' vivid descriptions of incredible physical hardship lend excitement, and the varied and scholarly bibliography is evidence of the author's attempts to accurately portray Apache history and philosophy. This will be an obvious selection for historical fiction assignments, but it will also draw readers who enjoy Gary Paulsen's survival stories. The brief, action-packed chapters and terse, accessible text will appeal to reluctant readers. --Debbie Carton

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8‘Harsh and sometimes brutal, Walks Alone follows its Apache heroine through a series of difficult situations. The book begins with a raid carried out by Apache scouting for the U.S. government, in which Walks Alone's mother is killed, and ends with the girl's capture, along with other members of Victorio's band, by the Mexican army in 1880. Along the way, she endures privation and injury with fortitude and skill, and without complaint, ably caring for her young brother and a teenage widow with an infant daughter. Apache customs, skills, and religion are seamlessly worked into the text, and the tale's point of view is solely Apache. While this provides an enlightening antidote to various "Anglo"-centric tales of the frontier, it also creates a novel in which there are no "good" Anglos or Mexicans, and no "bad" Apache, except for those in the employ of the "White Eyes." Burks's writing style, both lean and formal, may put off some readers, but it also gives a valuable sense of distance from the grimness of the events, thereby helping to prevent youngsters from feeling overwhelmed by Walks Alone's tragedy. The girl's determination is also a key leavening. An interesting and useful, as well as counterbalancing, book to set alongside G. Clifton Wisler's many novels of the frontier and John Loveday's Goodbye, Buffalo Sky (McElderry, 1997).‘Coop Renner, Coldwell Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.