Friday, March 02, 2007

Walk the World's Rim

by Betty Baker

One of the problems with the history books I had in school is that they didn't know how to tell a story. They would present names and dates and I would learn a bunch of facts, but I had no clue what it might have been like for the people living through those events. Take the age of exploration, for example. I learned the names of folks like Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan and Cabeza de Vaca. I was able to look at the maps and see where their journeys had taken them. But I was also living in the age of interstate highways and air travel. The reality of crossing a huge ocean in a small wooden ship or crossing a continent on foot was beyond me. Well, this is a long winded way to say that this book tells a story. It's a fictionalized account of the journey of Cabeza de Vaca, who started a 600-man expedition to Florida and ended up in Mexico with four survivors. The story picks up the expedition in Texas, when the expedition is down to the four men. It is told from the perspective of Chakoh, an native lad who joins the party in hopes of learning more about the Spaniards god. He has heard the tales of the wealth of Mexico and hopes that he might be able to learn enough of their god's medicine to help his impoverished. What follows is a journey of growth and discovery, as Chakoh sees new lands and discovers a few things about himself. It's a good book, which gives my kids a chance to experience history in a way for which I had to wait some thirty years. Check it out.
LibraryThing link


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