I picked this book out to read with my 7-year-old as part of her history lesson. I didn't know that I was going to enjoy it so much. Kaya is spunky, and the action is never ending. The lessons aren't just about Native Americans and about history. As Kaya learns to be more mature, children reading it learn to be stronger and wiser.
I thought it had some great character lessons for my daughter. Kaya decides to race her horse when she is supposed to be watching her younger brothers. She gets caught and has to go to the whip woman for shirking her duties. In the Nimiipuu society, learning to be dutiful and to watch out for others is important. They would not be able to survive if each member of the tribe did not do their part. So Kaya is whipped, and along with her every other child is also whipped for her crime.
The whip woman tells Kaya that she acted like a magpie, only thinking of herself, and the name sticks. All the children call her magpie. Kaya promises herself not to brag and not to think of just herself. She wants to earn her own name back, rather than the nickname Magpie.
Kaya works along her sisters and her mother and grandmother and the other women of the tribe to learn her duties. The story depicts many customs, rituals, folklore and survival techniques among the Nimiipuu (now called the Nez Perce tribe).
I highly recommend this book for parents and children to read together.
eBook Meet Kaya