Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sitting Bull Remembers

Sitting Bull Remembers

Ann Turner
Illustrator:   Wendell Minor 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
HarperCollins, 2007   ISBN: 978-0060513993

Now imprisoned and unable to "get free" Chief Sitting Bull closes his eyes and travels back to the past when he was just fourteen years old and had earned his name, Sitting Bull, a name his father "saw" in a dream. His father gave him a shield which he carried into battle and he was taught how to "be a part of the Sioux Nation."

Then the white people came to the land, with their alien ways which Sitting Bull does not understand. They insisted on owning land and building their railroads across it. They killed the buffalo, even when they did not need meat to eat. Long Hair, Custer, brought soldiers into the Black Hills looking for gold. This was land that had been given to Sitting Bull's people by the treaty but the treaty did not seem to mean anything to these soldiers. Many tribes came together to fight back. The time had come to fight and at Little Big Horn Custer and his men fell.

Sitting Bull had to flee and for a while he managed to survive in Canada. But he could not run forever and now he is captured "caught like a bear in a trap without claws." He lives on the food that the white men give him and on the dreams and memories of his past.

This powerful and deeply moving picture book is based on the true life of Sitting Bull, the great leader and holy man who did his best to protect the Sioux way of life when it was threatened. Forced to live on a reservation Sitting Bull was made to live in a log cabin, and being the kind of man he was it is very likely that he did indeed think back on his life as he sat there, unarmed and unable to do anything to help his people further. Though this story is upsetting, it is important to remember who Sitting Bull was and what he did, and to honor his memory by keeping his name and his achievements alive in our thoughts.