Sing down the moon

by Scott O'Dell

Paper Book, 1970



Local notes



Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1970.


A young Navajo girl recounts the events of 1864 when her tribe was forced to march to Fort Sumner as prisoners of the white soldiers.

Original publication date


Physical description

137 p.; 22 cm


0440979757 / 9780440979753



Media reviews

The story of the Navajo's forced migration from their original homeland in Arizona to Fort Sumner, New Mexico (a 300-mile walk) is told from the point of view of a fourteen-year-old Navajo girl, Bright Morning, in this historical novel set in the 1860s. The book recounts the tragic deprivations suffered by the group both during and after the migration…. A postscript to the book gives the historical background for the story.

User reviews

LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
This is a rather depressing story of the Navahos being pulled from their homes and their livelihood and being forced to a reservation that can not support them. Bright Morning escapes slavery by the Spanish only to find her people later forced from their canyon by the Americans. Before their eyes, everything in their homes and land is destroyed, and they can do nothing to stop it. Bright Moon has a great struggle- getting Tall Boy to get over his pride and act.… (more)
LibraryThing member carterchristian1
Won recognition at the time, but does not appear to be especially interesting.
LibraryThing member meagandye
I enjoyed this book to some extent. I thought that it was a great story, but was a little slow. I love historical fiction, I love novels by Scott O’Dell, and I read that this novel was an all-time classic. Therefore, I was extremely excited to read it. However, I found myself being let down. It was a little slow, and just did not have very much excitement to it in parts that could have been really exciting. I also really liked how it had a lot to do with the large movement of many Indian tribes. I would be interested in finding other novels out there about this same topic. I feel that it would be a great novel to read when learning about this historical event in America’s history.… (more)
LibraryThing member wb010371
Sing Down the Moon is a Navaho girls life through tragedy and despair of her people. The forced migration of the Navaho Indians from their original homeland in Arizona to Fort Sumner, New Mexico is described from the Indian point of view and is very moving when you think of the hardship that they endured.

This book would be a great reading for just about any age. The story captures the reader and makes you feel some of the hardship that these people had to face. I would recommend this book of not only learning some history about the Navaho Indians, but some compassion for the Indian people.

This would be a good book to incorporate into a history lesson, or if learning about different Indian cultures. I am sure that it would open the eyes of some that have no idea about some of the many hardships that Indian people faced.
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LibraryThing member brittneywest
This book is an excellent book to read to learn about the hard life of Native Americans. It concerns the live of a young Navajo girl who is forced into slavery for a Spanish family. It talks about her life as a slave and also talks about her life after slavery. When she is freed, her people are forced to leave their home in what we know now to be the Trail of Tears. I feel this book will be an excellent supplement in learning about the history of Native Americans.… (more)
LibraryThing member junipertree
I was kind of disappointed with this book. It was too short. Actually, I thought that Bright Morning was made out to be masculine and Tall Boy was made out to be feminine. Everything that Tall Boy did was wrong. I thought that maybe there should have been more on the Spanish slavery than was written. It seemed to have ended too abruptly. But the history of the removal of the Indians from their homelands were incredible and very accurate.… (more)
LibraryThing member katyguerra
Sing Down the Moon, is about a Navajo girl name Morning Star. Throughout the book, it tells of her story, how she was kidnapped by the Spaniards and forced into slavery. She escaped and made it home. She was married, shortly after her tribe was dislodged from their homes. She became pregnant and had her baby in the encampment. Her husband found a way for them to escape, which they did.
I loved this story, I loved how it had a happy ending. Not all of these stories have a happy ending. I can relate to this book to how I think. I am always thinking of how can I do something.
I would use this book in my classroom, to give the students a realistic look at how life truly was for Native Americans.
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LibraryThing member OracleOfCrows
Just as entertaining now as when I read it years ago in elementary school. It would be a great read for any kids studying Native Americans or early American history.
LibraryThing member Ashleyreece
Sing Down the Moon is an amazing book by Scott O Dell. It tells the story of a Navajo girl who is at first captured by Spanish slavers, then escapes and finds her way back to her tribe only to be forced out of their home lands but the Long Knives. (White Soldiers) They travel very far, and stay in this camp for a long time. Then her and her husband decide to escape back to their mesa home.

My Thoughts:
I LOVED this book. As a matter of fact it only took me about three hours to read it. I have always adored Scott O Dell books. Island of the Blue Dolphin is one of my favorites!

I would defiantly use this book in a Native American unit. I would read this to my kids and when we got through it I would have them write about their own Navajo adventure.

I would have a younger class draw the Navajos home and their sheep, and we could do a dictation of why they think that those people lived in that area or why they were sheep farmers.
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LibraryThing member marsh2
Great book to use with social studies when dealing with historical event of the Trail of Tears.
LibraryThing member JanaRose1
Bright Morning and her friend Running Bird, members of a Navaho tribe, are out tending sheep when they are taken by Spanish slave traders. With the help of another Indian slave, the girls are able to escape and journey back home. American militia, the “Long Knives” force the Navaho out of their home and to a forced march. Overall, I thought the book was engaging, fast-paced and an interesting story about a shameful time in American history.… (more)
LibraryThing member Lulu2010
In this book a Navajo girl named Bright Morning was captured by the Long Knives Soldiers came on thier horses. They also captured her friend Running Bird. The two girls were seperated and taken to the Soldiers home town. One of the Navajo soldiers helped the girls escape one night, and when the Long Knives figured out what had happened they captured all the Navajo people and held them as prisoners. Tall Boy and Bright Morning got married and planned another escape at night. They went to a place called Elk-Running Valley. Bright Morning and Tall Boy had a baby boy. This would be a good book to incorporate into Social Studies to discuss the Navajo Indians and their lives.… (more)
LibraryThing member sunnysturdivant
Summary- This book is about a young 14 year old Indian girl named “Bright Morning.” She belonged to the Navajo Indian tribe. One morning when she was letting her sheep graze she was kidnapped by Spaniards and took to be a slave. She and her friend “Running Bird” ran away and made it back home. White soldiers came and took over the entire village and canyon “Canyon de Chelly” where her tribe lived they were forced to leave by the white soldiers. This book is over a long period of time. She is much older now as they travel may of the elderly and many of the very young died. After many moons, there were thousands of different of Navajo tribes. The white soldiers were taking them to Fort. Sumner. The Navajos refer to this as “The Long Walk.” While they were at their place of living Bright Morning got married to “Tall Boy.” After being married for a short period Tall Boy was arrested by the white soldiers. After he escaped he and Bright Morning left Ft. Sumner and went back to Canyon De Chelly. Right before reaching the canyon they stayed in a place called “Elk Running Valley.” Bright Morning gave birth to their son there. Finally, they reached the canyon they called home, they settled in a meadow, where she found some of the sheep she left behind.

Personal reaction- I enjoyed reading this book. The author did an amazing job of recreating this historical story. As I read I was able to envision what was happening in the book. I would definitely read this book to my class.

Classroom extension- (1) This would be an excellent book to do a cultural study over.
(2) Draw pictures of what they think they characters may look like.
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LibraryThing member 1AndrewS
It is about a girl who gets capured and was abel to ascap. Then she got marred at the end of the book. But they moved to a place so they can be
free and only.
LibraryThing member clstone
Bright Morning, a yound Navaho girl's life is told during the "Long Walk" when Indians were enslaved and forced to move by the white soldiers. Bright Morning is from Canyon de Chelly and loves her life there. She herds sheep and likes Tall Boy. One day she is taken captive by Spanish solidiers and sold into slavery, only to escape and return to her village. White soldiers soon take over Canyon de Chelly and force the Indians to move to camps miles away. The story chronicles the expercience through Bright Morning's eyes as she grows up and eventually marries Tall Boy.… (more)
LibraryThing member meadert
Sing down the moon is a great book about Indian slavery and how the spaniards made the people of the Navaho walk the trail of Tears.
LibraryThing member Dylan3
Sing Down the Moon was where I got most,or actually all, of what I know about the Long Walk. As well as being a great story, it provides a ton of information.
LibraryThing member MASON545
This book was a really good book because it told a lot of information about the long walk.
LibraryThing member mcorbink
Very well told, the images and emotions are very well detailed.
LibraryThing member Eric420blaze
Its a very good, heartfelt book about the Navajo long walk and how the Navajos got through it and some escaped. I would it's probably one of the best books I've ever read.
LibraryThing member Amabelle
I LIKED THIS BOOK. IT Informed me about the long walk. I found the long walk to be very intriguing.
LibraryThing member Julia4
The part I like best about sing down the moon is the long walk and when Bright Morning and Tall Boy escaped from the Long Knifes and snuck back to there village.I also liked when Bright Morning running bird and her friend escaped from the other village.
LibraryThing member mirrani
Living in the eastern part of the United States, we hear a lot about the Trail of Tears, but not much about the Long Walk, both very important parts of American history that need to be remembered. This story is short and to the point while still containing plenty of adventure to keep young readers turning the pages. The writing is engaging and the first person perspective keeps the tradition of not telling one's name, which is something I found interesting as an adult. An important book to teach young readers about having strength through hard times and certainly deserving of the various honors it has won.… (more)
LibraryThing member NadineC.Keels
When a teenaged Navajo girl is interrupted by Spanish slavers one day while she's shepherding sheep, it's only the beginning of a marked change in life for her and her people in Sing Down the Moon by author Scott O'Dell.

I remember listening to the reading of another book by this author, Island of the Blue Dolphins, back when I was eleven or so in school. I was vaguely interested at the time, listening with one ear, but this author's writing style wasn't my thing back then.

And I'll admit I didn't get far the first time I tried this book some months (or a year?) ago. With the heroine's fear of being struck down by the gods if she ever displayed too much happiness, and her early mention about once seeing her long-dead grandfather walking around on a snowy night, my openly happy self who isn't into seeing dead relatives figured I'd have to be in a different frame of mind to give the book another try sometime.

I'm glad I gave it another try.

I likely would have thought this children's book was boring when I was a child, but now I can appreciate this kind of understated read that has unassuming beauty and muted but strong emotion. The joy resonated with me, and I could also feel the grief and shame caused by unjust treatment and tragedy affecting the young and old in this story. I was engrossed, needing to see what would become of this heroine, and the simplicity, warmth, relief, and triumph of her last four words in the book...just wow.

I remembered some important parts of American history, I learned a little more, and this historical fiction devotee may even try Island of the Blue Dolphins again in the future.
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
Follows a young Navajo girl just before and during The Long Walk.
A good story, nicely told and with characters well drawn, although the beginning bit seemed too disjointed from the second half.




(171 ratings; 3.8)
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