Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Durbin, William
New York : Bantam, 1997.
IL 5-8
ISBN 044041184X

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Thirteen year old Pierre LaPage is consumed by guilt. He was supposed to chop the wood for his family but didn't. His father had to do it instead. While chopping the wood, his father had a terrible accident which will keep him from taking his place as a voyageur with the North West Company. The year is 1800 and there is a big demand for furs back in France. Voyageurs transported the furs thousands of miles so they could be shipped. The voyageurs would carry the furs to canoes and then paddle the canoes from Montreal to Grand Portage -- a total of 2,400 miles! Pierre knows that his family will not survive without the money his father would have earned on this trip so Pierre volunteers to take his father's place. He is certainly not prepared for how hard a life the voyageurs have. He must paddle 16-18 hours a day with few breaks. He also must endure the taunts of the other men on the trip. Will Pierre be able to survive the relentless teasing, the treacherous waters and the aching, bloodied hands? Find out by joining Pierre on his journey.

Booktalk #2

If only my bed hadn't felt so good that morning.  If only I hadn't wanted to sleep for a few more minutes.  If only my father hadn't started my chores... 

He was whistling as he chopped firewood.  Then there was the scream!  That blood-curdling scream!  I grabbed my pants and found out that Dad had chopped off his thumb doing my  chores.  Oh, I feel so guilty!  I've got to do something.  I'm a bit of an egghead, but now I've got to support our family. 

It's 1800 and Dad has worked as a fur trader to support our family.  I know what I'll do!   I'll quit school and enlist as a voyageur -- a member of a brigade, which will paddle 2400 miles in a canoe to trade goods.  I know it won't be easy.  I'm only thirteen, but it's life or death any way I look at it.  Read the adventures of Pierre and the other voyageurs in BROKEN BLADE.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee) 

SUBJECTS:     Fur traders -- Fiction
                        Canada -- History -- 1763-1867 -- Fiction
                        Fathers and sons -- Fiction


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