Books: Fiction

The Porcupine Year

Book — Fiction. By Louise Erdrich. 2010. 224 pages.
The third in a series of novels for middle and high school students about an Ojibwe family in the mid-19th century. The story parallels the time of the widely-read Little House on the Prairie.

Time Periods: 19th Century
Themes: Native American

Here follows the story of a most extraordinary year in the life of an Ojibwe family and of a girl named “Omakayas,” or Little Frog, who lived a year of flight and adventure, pain and joy, in 1852.

When Omakayas is twelve winters old, she and her family set off on a harrowing journey. They travel by canoe westward from the shores of Lake Superior along the rivers of northern Minnesota, in search of a new home. While the family has prepared well, unexpected danger, enemies, and hardships will push them to the brink of survival. Omakayas continues to learn from the land and the spirits around her, and she discovers that no matter where she is, or how she is living, she has the one thing she needs to carry her through.

Richly imagined, full of laughter and sorrow, The Porcupine Year continues Louise Erdrich’s celebrated series, which began with The Birchbark House, a National Book Award finalist, and continued with The Game of Silence, winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. [Publisher’s description.]


“The novel reinforces the strength and importance of family.” —KLIATT (starred review)

“Charming, suspenseful, and funny, and always bursting with life.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Birchbark House

“Readers who loved Omakayas and her family in The Birchbark House have ample reason to rejoice in this beautifully constructed sequel.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on The Game of Silence

“Erdrich is a talented storyteller. She has created a world, fictional but real: absorbing, funny, serious, and convincingly human.” —New York Times Book Review on The Game of Silence

“The struggle to survive provides the exciting action in this sequel to The Birchbark House (1999) and The Game of Silence (2005), which takes place in 1852. What is left unspoken is as powerful as the story told.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Readers will want to follow this family for many seasons to come.” —Publishers Weekly on The Birchbark House

“Charming and enlightening.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The events in this installment will both delight and appall readers.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

ISBN: 9780064410304 | Harper Collins