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Peacemaker

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A twelve-year-old Iroquois boy rethinks his calling after witnessing the arrival of a mystical figure with a message of peace in this historical novel based on the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. Twelve-year-old Okwaho's life has suddenly changed. While out hunting with his best friend, his friend is kidnapped by marauders from a neighboring tribe. Okwaho barely escap A twelve-year-old Iroquois boy rethinks his calling after witnessing the arrival of a mystical figure with a message of peace in this historical novel based on the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. Twelve-year-old Okwaho's life has suddenly changed. While out hunting with his best friend, his friend is kidnapped by marauders from a neighboring tribe. Okwaho barely escapes back to his village where everyone lives in fear of raids and killings: The five tribes of the Iroquois have been at war with each other for far too long, and no one can even remember what it was like to live in peace. Okwaho seeks only revenge, which will just perpetuate the violence. But before he can retaliate, a visitor with a message of peace, as told in the lore of the of the Iroquois nation, comes to him in the woods. The Peacemaker--a vision in white buckskin with a calm demeanor and soothing words--tells the boy that he can convince even the most warlike leaders of the wisdom of peace. Okwaho joins the legions of others who believe, and is present when the great treaty creating the Iroquois Confederacy is enacted.


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A twelve-year-old Iroquois boy rethinks his calling after witnessing the arrival of a mystical figure with a message of peace in this historical novel based on the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. Twelve-year-old Okwaho's life has suddenly changed. While out hunting with his best friend, his friend is kidnapped by marauders from a neighboring tribe. Okwaho barely escap A twelve-year-old Iroquois boy rethinks his calling after witnessing the arrival of a mystical figure with a message of peace in this historical novel based on the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. Twelve-year-old Okwaho's life has suddenly changed. While out hunting with his best friend, his friend is kidnapped by marauders from a neighboring tribe. Okwaho barely escapes back to his village where everyone lives in fear of raids and killings: The five tribes of the Iroquois have been at war with each other for far too long, and no one can even remember what it was like to live in peace. Okwaho seeks only revenge, which will just perpetuate the violence. But before he can retaliate, a visitor with a message of peace, as told in the lore of the of the Iroquois nation, comes to him in the woods. The Peacemaker--a vision in white buckskin with a calm demeanor and soothing words--tells the boy that he can convince even the most warlike leaders of the wisdom of peace. Okwaho joins the legions of others who believe, and is present when the great treaty creating the Iroquois Confederacy is enacted.

30 review for Peacemaker

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This is an essential book for young readers who learn about the history of the land referred to today as the United States of America. This is the story of the formation of the League of the Iroquois. Before the Creator sent the messenger the Peacemaker, what would become the Haudenosaunee Nation were five Longhouse nations in a constant cycle of war that would eventually wipe out those nations if they didn't come together in peace. The Great League occurred almost a thousand years before Europe This is an essential book for young readers who learn about the history of the land referred to today as the United States of America. This is the story of the formation of the League of the Iroquois. Before the Creator sent the messenger the Peacemaker, what would become the Haudenosaunee Nation were five Longhouse nations in a constant cycle of war that would eventually wipe out those nations if they didn't come together in peace. The Great League occurred almost a thousand years before European colonizers arrived, and this great peace became one of the models for the US Constitution and American democracy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie Proctor

    I loved this beautiful book SO much.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A beautiful story about the Peacemaker who united the Iroquois people viewed through the eyes of a young boy gifted with a talent for singing. Even though this is based on real people and events that happened hundreds of years ago, the message is 100% applicable to what is happening in our world today.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sierra Dertinger

    Okwaho, a twelve-year-old boy, fears what will happen to his best friend Tawnis after he is captured by a neighboring tribe. The two boys were out fishing and while Okwaho was trying to catch a trout, he hears voices upon the rock where Tawnis is. The three men were not pleasant neighbors either. Tawnis helps Okwaho escape by fending off the men for a short while and allowing Okwaho to run home. When Okwaho arrives in his village, the people are unsettled. The five tribes of the Iroquois have be Okwaho, a twelve-year-old boy, fears what will happen to his best friend Tawnis after he is captured by a neighboring tribe. The two boys were out fishing and while Okwaho was trying to catch a trout, he hears voices upon the rock where Tawnis is. The three men were not pleasant neighbors either. Tawnis helps Okwaho escape by fending off the men for a short while and allowing Okwaho to run home. When Okwaho arrives in his village, the people are unsettled. The five tribes of the Iroquois have been at war for a very long time, yet Okwaho's tribe is known to want nothing but peace. As two members of his tribe leave to go inform the highest chief Atatarho what happened with Tawnis, Okwaho follows and learns that this will not end well for anyone. But the unexpected happens when a visitor with a message from the Creator comes to share that they need to bring peace to all. The visitor describes the Peacemaker as a mystical messenger that speaks in calm tones and is dressed in pure white. He will help bring peace amongst the five nations, but this will be difficult because in order for this to happen... They will have to change the mind of the aggressive Atatarho. This was a very simplistic novel in a sense that it focuses on the separation of the two young boys and the emotions that Okwaho has, and the presence of the messenger during a time of potential war to bring peace to the tribes that they have needed for so long. I thoroughly enjoyed the length of this book, as it was only 160 pages too. My favorite parts of the book was when Okwaho meets and connects with Carries and the Peacemaker. The lessons learned and the change of the character was riveting. This book is needed in today's classrooms and I am eager to share it with my students.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Joseph Bruchac retells the story of Iroquois Confederacy’s creation in The Peacemaker. The author’s inclusion of numerous stories and folktales helps emphasize important themes and develop other literary elements. The telling is not overly dramatic or action-packed, but this natural ebb and flow is not a shortcoming. Instead, it immerses the reader in the time period. Told through the eyes of a young person, readers learn how feelings of anger and revenge fuel the vicious cycle of war. However, Joseph Bruchac retells the story of Iroquois Confederacy’s creation in The Peacemaker. The author’s inclusion of numerous stories and folktales helps emphasize important themes and develop other literary elements. The telling is not overly dramatic or action-packed, but this natural ebb and flow is not a shortcoming. Instead, it immerses the reader in the time period. Told through the eyes of a young person, readers learn how feelings of anger and revenge fuel the vicious cycle of war. However, an alternative always exists. Through song, storytelling, or a messenger of hope, there are constant messages that peace is possible. The underlying idea about a person being able to choose to bring it about is powerful. Many a reader may find that The Peacemaker not only brings peace to the Iroquois people, but it may just bring some peace to them as well. It is an important tale; it is a real story; and it surely resonates today. The Peacemaker would be an excellent novel to teach in conjunction with a nonfiction study of First Nations in North America prior to and after the arrival of Europeans. The Iroquois Confederacy’s accomplishments and the subsequent maltreatment of them by the European colonists would only serve to underscore those incredible accomplishments. It would also highlight not only the importance of peace but also its fragility. Such a cross-curricular experience would draw out important lessons and effectively put them in history’s broader context for students. Thank you to Edelweiss+ and publisher, Dial Books, for an eARC of this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    It seems that Joseph Bruchac's newest book, Peacemaker, comes to us just when we need it the most. Through the eyes of a young man, Okwaho, we learn how the five original Longhouse Nations are encouraged to form the peaceful Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy. Okwaho, his family and a small group of other families have left Onontaka, a large community governed by warlike Chief Atatarho to avoid conflict. Even though their new small village is a quiet one, it is still impacted by by surrounding It seems that Joseph Bruchac's newest book, Peacemaker, comes to us just when we need it the most. Through the eyes of a young man, Okwaho, we learn how the five original Longhouse Nations are encouraged to form the peaceful Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy. Okwaho, his family and a small group of other families have left Onontaka, a large community governed by warlike Chief Atatarho to avoid conflict. Even though their new small village is a quiet one, it is still impacted by by surrounding warlike groups. When Okwaho's best friend is kidnapped by a rival group, fear and uncertainty for the future dominate their lives. Stories have always been important to Okwaho and his people. When he was very young, he asked his mother, "Why are they so strong? Why do your stories always take me somewhere?". His mother replied, "A story is like someone you trust to take your hand, lead you on a journey, and then bring you back home again". In an afterward to his book, Bruchac explains the importance of the Peacemaker story, a tale told for a thousand years and which continues to this day. The author's exquisite language in telling Okwaho's journey is a beautiful way to share the heritage of the Haudenosaunee people with young readers. I would like to thank Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Random House, and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to provide an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Daney

    Twelve-year-old Okwaho’s life has never been peaceful. The village he lives in was built because the families wanted to separate themselves from the raid-hungry chief of their old tribe. When Okwaho’s best friend is kidnapped by a neighboring tribe, Okwaho’s mind is clouded by revenge. With all this fear and hate among the five Iroquis tribes, it is hard to imagine that there can come a time of peace. When The Peacemaker arrives, it is his mission to visit all five tribes and try to convince eve Twelve-year-old Okwaho’s life has never been peaceful. The village he lives in was built because the families wanted to separate themselves from the raid-hungry chief of their old tribe. When Okwaho’s best friend is kidnapped by a neighboring tribe, Okwaho’s mind is clouded by revenge. With all this fear and hate among the five Iroquis tribes, it is hard to imagine that there can come a time of peace. When The Peacemaker arrives, it is his mission to visit all five tribes and try to convince even the most warlike leaders that peace can be achieved. This short novel tells the tale of how the Iroquois Confederacy was created. Bruchac creates a compelling tale that carries the reader through without involving action and bloodshed. Peacemaker is written with middle grade students in mind, however, I don’t see many students stopping to pick up this book as an independent read. A class read would be a better option for this novel as more meaningful discussions can then be had about the story and history behind it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Danny

    This is a simple, yet beautiful, story of how the five warring nations of the Iroquois came together as one peaceful League. Through respecting the women of the nations and their part in leadership, as well as realizing the need to no longer give power to the desire for revenge, hatred, or malice, the divided nations were unified and strong through peace. Respected by men such as Benjamin Franklin, the League of the Iroquois served as one of the models for American democracy. Perhaps America nee This is a simple, yet beautiful, story of how the five warring nations of the Iroquois came together as one peaceful League. Through respecting the women of the nations and their part in leadership, as well as realizing the need to no longer give power to the desire for revenge, hatred, or malice, the divided nations were unified and strong through peace. Respected by men such as Benjamin Franklin, the League of the Iroquois served as one of the models for American democracy. Perhaps America needs to relook at the League's example again today. Bruchac weaves stories and truths into a timeless tale told through the eyes of a young man, Okwaho, as his idyllic young adult life is changed when his best friend is captured by the men of a neighboring village, causing him to desire revenge. But when a strong, peaceful man comes to talk to the leaders of his village, he begins to realize the healing power of forgiveness and release of anger. Great book for young readers and mature readers alike.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Thank you Netgalley for the ARC! A lyrical and timely book that weaves together a story of personal sadness and community hope. Even though the text is not one of non-stop action, the storytelling drives you forward. I read the whole thing in one sitting! Although there is a main character, he is the lens through which we see things but the focus is not on him. I appreciated that. He is most definitely a likeable character and even on reflection I would love to see more stories with him, especial Thank you Netgalley for the ARC! A lyrical and timely book that weaves together a story of personal sadness and community hope. Even though the text is not one of non-stop action, the storytelling drives you forward. I read the whole thing in one sitting! Although there is a main character, he is the lens through which we see things but the focus is not on him. I appreciated that. He is most definitely a likeable character and even on reflection I would love to see more stories with him, especially the lovely dynamic with his friends. But there is not the heaviness that so many stories for children carry now. A story of redemption and kinship that will resonate with many.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yapha

    Although it is one of the models of our democracy, the League of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) is rarely part of the elementary or middle school American History curriculum. This book tells the story of how the five Longhouse nations ended their wars and became a unified and peaceful nation. Told through the eyes of Okwaho, a 12 year old boy whose family has split off from the larger community in search of a more peaceful life. Creation tales and other powerful stories are woven throughout. Recom Although it is one of the models of our democracy, the League of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) is rarely part of the elementary or middle school American History curriculum. This book tells the story of how the five Longhouse nations ended their wars and became a unified and peaceful nation. Told through the eyes of Okwaho, a 12 year old boy whose family has split off from the larger community in search of a more peaceful life. Creation tales and other powerful stories are woven throughout. Recommended for grades 4 & up. eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennybeast

    If there was ever a time to write a novel that encompasses the Iroquois legends of the Peacemaker, this is it for our generation. The book overlays a fairly simple plot (two boys separated by war) with a tapestry of story: both illustrating the role of learning from stories in Native culture, and allowing the main character time and space to work through his anger and grief. Beautifully written, sensitively delivered, and offering a message of hope to everyone, but especially people battered by If there was ever a time to write a novel that encompasses the Iroquois legends of the Peacemaker, this is it for our generation. The book overlays a fairly simple plot (two boys separated by war) with a tapestry of story: both illustrating the role of learning from stories in Native culture, and allowing the main character time and space to work through his anger and grief. Beautifully written, sensitively delivered, and offering a message of hope to everyone, but especially people battered by trauma and sorrow. Advanced Readers' copy provided by Edelweiss.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This review is based on an ARC. Okwaho's family and friends leave home and start their own village in order to seek peace. They leave a war inclined leader that cannot see beyond his own vengeance. This story was refreshing and definitely needed in our literary cannon. I enjoyed the old world feel, the simplicity of life and the tradition of passing a story down orally generation to generation. This review is based on an ARC. Okwaho's family and friends leave home and start their own village in order to seek peace. They leave a war inclined leader that cannot see beyond his own vengeance. This story was refreshing and definitely needed in our literary cannon. I enjoyed the old world feel, the simplicity of life and the tradition of passing a story down orally generation to generation.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    In "Peacemaker" Bruchac tells the history of the treaty creating the Iroquois Confederacy. Young Okwaho, fears for his best friend Tawnis after he is captured by a rival tribe. This was a very quiet and simple novel. I honestly can't see many middle schoolers voluntarily reading it; however, because it is a pretty short book at 160 pages I think it would make a wonderful read-aloud. There are many points to encourage discussion and teaching passages along the way. In "Peacemaker" Bruchac tells the history of the treaty creating the Iroquois Confederacy. Young Okwaho, fears for his best friend Tawnis after he is captured by a rival tribe. This was a very quiet and simple novel. I honestly can't see many middle schoolers voluntarily reading it; however, because it is a pretty short book at 160 pages I think it would make a wonderful read-aloud. There are many points to encourage discussion and teaching passages along the way.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I am very interested in learning about indigenous history and culture so I was super pumped to read this book. I just didn’t connect to it. I could possibly use it as a read aloud but probably won’t. Not really a fan of this one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    NicoleLynn (PopCrunchBoom)

    This review has previously been posted on my blog, PopCrunchBoom Books. ~ In Joseph Bruchac’s new novel, Peacemaker, we are introduced to 12-year-old Okwaho. Early into the novel readers watch as Okwaho’s best friend is kidnapped by a neighboring tribe. This experience really affects Okwaho. Most of the novel explores Okwaho’s feelings surrounding his friend’s kidnapping (anger, grief & revenge) and his family’s decision to leave their original village in order to live a less violent life while al This review has previously been posted on my blog, PopCrunchBoom Books. ~ In Joseph Bruchac’s new novel, Peacemaker, we are introduced to 12-year-old Okwaho. Early into the novel readers watch as Okwaho’s best friend is kidnapped by a neighboring tribe. This experience really affects Okwaho. Most of the novel explores Okwaho’s feelings surrounding his friend’s kidnapping (anger, grief & revenge) and his family’s decision to leave their original village in order to live a less violent life while also being set within the historical context of the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. I enjoyed reading Okwaho’s story. It was very much a coming of age story but coming from an Iroquois point of view. Okwaho really struggled with his feelings and withdrew from his usual activities and interactions within his village after his friend was kidnapped. When tales of The Peacemaker made their way to his village, Okwaho began to rethink his revenge and anger. Not only did he begin to work through his emotions, but he also began to find his voice. This was a beautifully told historical fiction novel. I loved how Bruchac told the story of the treaty creating the Iroquois Confederacy through the eyes of Okwaho. Not only do we get to hear the oral stories of the Peacemaker & get a glimpse into Iroquois history, but we are also treated to Okwaho’s character development. I think this story will be relatable to young readers struggling through emotions and finding their identity and I think the message of finding & using your voice in the name of peace and unification will resonate with many—especially in today’s current climate. I really resonated with this message. The ending and overall story left me hopeful and reminded me of the power of peace and unification. This is definitely a timely novel for readers – both young and old. It’s one I’d definitely recommend you pick up. It’s a quick read and you won’t be disappointed. - Initial thoughts (6/4/2020): I really enjoyed the flow of this story and how it was told. It was a fast read but it touched on a relevant topic. The history of the Peacemaker and the oral stories interwoven into this one are definitely stories we need to be told/reminded of in today’s world. This story left me hopeful and looking towards where we can grow peace as individuals but also as a society.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hottinger

    What a beautiful telling of how the Iroquois people found peace. Imagine a snake, frog, and music could open minds and hearts to find peace. We need the peacemaker and his wisdom throughout the world! Absolutely beautiful book that calmed my heart ❤️!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Krissy Ronan

    A fascinating story based on the many Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) people's Peacemaker stories. A timely stories about seeking to restore, not destroy, connections with others. Recommended for tweens and teens. Thank you NetGalley and Dial Books for the advanced copy. A fascinating story based on the many Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) people's Peacemaker stories. A timely stories about seeking to restore, not destroy, connections with others. Recommended for tweens and teens. Thank you NetGalley and Dial Books for the advanced copy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Magaly C.

    E-Arc provided by NetGalley. This story follows 12 year-old Okwaho and his experience when a visitor with the message of peace, Carries, enters the village to tell the story of The Peacemaker whose eminent arrival will finally bring peace to the five warring nations. The story is a great insight into the oral history of Indigenous Peoples and the formation of the League of the Iroquois. Bruchac underscores the importance of setting aside revenge and making peace with oneself in order to establish E-Arc provided by NetGalley. This story follows 12 year-old Okwaho and his experience when a visitor with the message of peace, Carries, enters the village to tell the story of The Peacemaker whose eminent arrival will finally bring peace to the five warring nations. The story is a great insight into the oral history of Indigenous Peoples and the formation of the League of the Iroquois. Bruchac underscores the importance of setting aside revenge and making peace with oneself in order to establish peace with others. I enjoyed the various stories of The Peacemaker interwoven throughout the narrative; however, there were times where the story seemed to drag a bit. I almost dnf because some of the descriptive language, especially in the first chapter or so, seemed to be fulfilling a word count rather than adding anything substantive to the narrative. Bruchac's style could be for a slightly older middle-grade audience, but overall, the message of peace and unity for younger generations is incredibly important.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sharon King

    It was a bit difficult to keep up with all of the character names. Otherwise, I found it insightful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Gentle, hopeful. I might use this as a read-aloud for mythology and storytelling.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kaytee Cobb

    This was really excellent. Perfectly appropriate to hand to your middle grader and they will get to see the story of Peacemaker brought to life through a child their own age. Just wonderful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shari

    This is an intriguing coming-of-age story about a real event in the history of the Iroquois, centuries before Europeans came to North America. Okwaho's character is relatable and sympathetic, and the stories-within-the story are beautifully told. This is an intriguing coming-of-age story about a real event in the history of the Iroquois, centuries before Europeans came to North America. Okwaho's character is relatable and sympathetic, and the stories-within-the story are beautifully told.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  25. 4 out of 5

    Britt

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jody

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mc Chanster

  28. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cherise

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

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