Cover image for The winter people
The winter people
Bruchac, Joseph, 1942-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Dial Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
168 pages ; 22 cm
As the French and Indian War rages in October of 1759, Saxso, a fourteen-year-old Abenaki boy, pursues the English rangers who have attacked his village and taken his mother and sisters hostage.
Reading Level:
800 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.5 6.0 59609.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.7 11 Quiz: 32598 Guided reading level: V.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



Saxso is fourteen when the British soldiers attack his Canadian village. It is the year 1759, and war is raging between the British and the French, with the Abenaki people-Saxso's people-by their side. In fact, most of the men of Saxso's village are away looking for the British elsewhere on the day of the attack. There aren't enough people home to put up a proper defense, and the village is destroyed. Many people are killed and some are taken hostage, including Saxso's own mother and two younger sisters. It's up to Saxso, on his own, to track the raiders and bring his family back home.

Riveting and poignant, this novel sheds new light on history, offering the fascinating untold story of the Abenaki perspective on the French and Indian War. Joseph Bruchac is acclaimed for his novels about Native American history and culture, and he is at his very best with this tale of family and community, courage and sacrifice.

Author Notes

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored many books for adults and children including Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two , Skeleton Man , and The Heart of a Chief . For more information about Joseph, please visit his website

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. Historical fiction doesn't get much better than this. Like Michael Dorris' Morning Girl (1993) and Louise Erdrich's The Birchbark House (1999), Bruchac takes an event we thought we knew about--the French and Indian Wars--and presents it from an entirely different standpoint. In October 1759, Major Robert Rogers--of the famed Rogers Rangers--led his British soldiers and a Stockbridge Indian party on a raid against the Abenaki village of St. Francis, whose inhabitants were Abenaki Catholics and their French allies. This gripping story is told by Saxso, a 14-year-old who sees his home destroyed and his mother and sisters carried off into captivity. Saxso tracks them and rescues them. There is passion here both external and internal. As Saxso tries to find his family, he also seamlessly maintains both his Catholic faith and belief in Klist, son of the Great Spirit. His knowledge of his spirit kin in the forests and waters and what they can teach also strengthens him. The narrative itself is thrilling, its spiritual aspects enlightening. An author's note shows how much of Saxso's story is grounded in Abenaki narrative and in the history of Bruchac's own family. GraceAnne DeCandido.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-A heartbreaking but exciting story. In a Quebec village during the French and Indian War, 14-year-old Saxso, an Abenaki, is caught in a struggle of survival and rescue when his mother and sisters are kidnapped during a massacre raid by the English Rangers. Bruchac has based this historical novel on an event that took place in the fall of 1759 when Major Robert Rogers of the English forces led a group of 200 men in an attack on St. Francis. For the Abenaki, the struggle to survive, rebuild, and continue throughout the generations was nearly lost. Through Saxso's own words, Bruchac leads readers through the boy's pursuit to save his family. He is also depicted as religious, with beliefs that are a mixture of Abenaki and Christian teachings. An excellent complement to Native American or French and Indian War units with high discussion potential.-Rita Soltan, formerly at Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
1 The Bush That Talkedp. 5
2 The Bostoniakp. 10
3 The Worrier's Warningp. 17
4 In the Dance Hallp. 25
5 The Ravinep. 35
6 Malian's Songp. 40
7 The Attackp. 44
8 The Burned Villagep. 51
9 Jean Baptistep. 57
10 Little Pinesp. 62
11 Cooking Firesp. 67
12 Pieces Coming Togetherp. 72
13 The Silver Virginp. 78
14 Two Days' Startp. 82
15 The Shoulder Bone Trailp. 87
16 Chief Gill Arrivesp. 91
17 Setting Outp. 96
18 Empty Shoresp. 101
19 Hidden Canoesp. 107
20 Stories of Battlep. 113
21 The Knotted Branchp. 117
22 The Smell of Meatp. 121
23 The Stalkerp. 127
24 The Messagep. 132
25 The Beech Treep. 136
26 Waitingp. 141
27 In Battlep. 145
28 Going Homep. 150
29 The Circle Within the Circlep. 157
Author's Notep. 160
Acknowledgmentsp. 167