The Heart of a Chief

by Joseph Bruchac

Paperback, 2001



Call number

PB Bru

Call number

PB Bru

Local notes

PB Bru


Puffin Books (2001), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 153 pages


An eleven-year-old Penacook Indian boy living on a reservation faces his father's alcoholism, a controversy surrounding plans for a casino on a tribal island, and insensitivity toward Native Americans in his school and nearby town.


Physical description

153 p.; 5 inches


014131236X / 9780141312361



User reviews

LibraryThing member irisdovie
I found this book good enough but I am beginning to realize that all of Joseph Bruchac's books have a happy ending - it's beginning to seem a little too Hollywood to me. Anyway, I liked this story - I learned that the Penacook way is for a unanimous consensus when it comes to tribal decisions ('participatory democracy' as it says in the book). I liked learning that, as sometimes majority rules is not the best policy, I think, as it always leaves someone out. I would consider using this book in a school setting to illustrate that calling sports teams by Native American derogatory names is demeaning.… (more)
LibraryThing member ChuckJackson
A great book for older students, 6th - 9th, to learn about the struggles of today's Native Americans. This book will give insight to everyday struggles at home, at school, and with growing up. This book will touch you and give you a better understanding of the hardships some cultures have. This book also deals with some social issues and how you can win the friendship of those that even oppose you.… (more)
LibraryThing member meotoole
This book is easy to read adn deals with current issues.
LibraryThing member blindexpression1
A wonderful story that identifies with the stereotypes that all races feel at sometime or another. In particular the Native American Indian is protrayed in this novel, and their struggle to be understood. As Chris Nicola seeks a normal begining at a 6th grade located off the reservation he finds himself confronting issues of racisim, stereotyping, and a battle to convince the elders that their land is more important than a Casino. Other themes that develop are the struggle between younger and older generation ideals, society vs. indiviuality, and oppurtunity vs. cultural sacrafice.… (more)
LibraryThing member Frye
This book teaches that even children can make a difference and people will listen if you stand up for what is right. its about an Native american boy that goes to school and is teesed and not treated correct by staff and the other studnets. so her fights for her rights and he made a difference in the way people saw him and the Native Americans.… (more)
LibraryThing member zhelg
It wasn't so much the story that bothered me, but Mr. Bruchac's writing style. I am noticing many, many short sentences that make whole passages and chapters abrupt sounding and like you're choking something so hard it can only get out splutters of diaglogue. Sure, the author is just trying to "realistically" imitate a sixth-grade boy's voice, but he's making him sound like he's six years old. For me, this kills most the book, and made this novel a tortuous exercise.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Joseph Bruchac, a Native American of Abenaki descent, is one of my all-time favorite children's authors, and I am always amazed at the almost-comprehensive catalogue of genres he has mastered. From picture books to plays, folktale collections to nonfiction, as well as historical, contemporary, fantasy and horror fiction, his work is diverse in form, but consistent in both its quality, and its commitment to issues relevant to America's indigenous peoples.

Heart of a Chief is no exception. An engaging middle-grade novel, it follows the story of eleven-year-old Chris Nicola who, in addition to grappling with some very tough family issues, finds himself confronting the question of Indian mascots in his class at school, and the even thornier dilemma of gambling on his New Hampshire reservation. Bruchac handles these controversial subjects with sensitivity, particularly the issue of gambling, which has been very divisive among Native communities.

Although it does address some serious problems, Heart of a Chief is a fairly optimistic book, and young readers will appreciate Chris's fair-minded, tolerant approach to life, as well as Bruchac's message that children can have a positive effect upon the world around them.
… (more)
LibraryThing member jackiediorio
"The Heart of a Chief" is a young adult novel about a Penacook boy who fights to prevent a casino from opening in a treasured island on his reservation. Chris is a six grader caught between the worries of his family life, with his father an alcoholic and the family he and his sister live with aging, and the world outside his reservation, where his people are either ignored or used as sports team mascots. The book is targeted for between ages eleven to thirteen, and it's perfect for that age group. Even children who are not part of a minority group will be able to relate to the issues Chris faces going into the sixth grade. Overall, "Heart of a Chief" is a poignant book about a culture that doesn't get enough coverage, and this book should have a place in absolutely any library.… (more)






(17 ratings; 3.6)
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