Sons of the People
by Janet Pesicka Watson
CHB Media

"Sometimes there are bad days.Those are the rocks. Other days are good... the feathers."

Clues from 7000-year-old human remains found in Florida inspire this spectacular piece of prehistoric fiction. Bones found in Florida come to life as Watson weaves a story of two young boys, Onopato and Tutuntee, who live as part of an ancient community. The children the author imagines are delightful, caring youth, each with their own human gifts. One is physically disabled but intuitive and forgiving beyond his years. The other is kind, strong, loyal, brave, and relentlessly compassionate toward others.

This story explores the imagined pure goodness of some of humanity's ancestors. The tale is so well told that it brings to mind the famous Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel, although without the romance because it is written for 5th graders to appreciate. What young readers might glean from this book, beyond sheer entertainment, is individual value. Everyone has special gifts and distinctions. For example, Tutuntee, despite his burden to Onopato, is an exceptional storyteller, weaver, flint worker, and, most notably, perceptive beyond his years. "There must be a hole in his heart where love once lived," thinks Tutuntee about the mean Tomo who once threw him into a river to drown.

This prehistoric fiction written for young adults deserved Eric Hoffer Book Award honors. The book is an artfully constructed story about early clan communities. Action, suspense, climax, resolution, and skillful character development make this book absolutely engrossing and a superb read. This heartwarming story of brotherly love and travails will stick with readers for a long time.

A 2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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