Book Review: Dear America: My Heart is on the Ground, The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl (Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania 1880) by Ann Rinaldi

heartongroundNannie Little Rose leaves her home and family to become educated and integrated into white society among a diverse student body of other Native American tribes at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. In current culture, this is a controversial depiction of this sad topic.

Throughout this story, Nannie tries to fuse her Sioux upbringing, beliefs, and family’s values with her new experiences at the Carlisle School, including seeking wisdom from her spirit helper, a mouse in the school kitchen, and a fierce rivalry between another girl, Belle Rain Water. Nannie learns lessons of love and forgiveness. It is an engaging read, but may fail to fully express the harm that was done to the Native communities by taking children from their families and “integrating” them in this way.