I love the title of this book! I think Luke recognizes that not only is his name hard to pronounce, but that it is hard sometimes to be himself. I was instantly sucked into the world of this book where Luke, Bunna, and Isaac are preparing to leave their home and travel hundreds of miles away to attend school. Set in the 1960's with only one phone in the village, I can't imagine the heartache or worry of having to send your children so far away to get an education.
Initially, I was a little confused about the characters. Each chapter is written in a different voice, and several are introduced quickly. But once I got into the pacing of the book, it all made sense. It was very interesting to see the world from the different perspectives of Eskimo, indian, and one white character. This book is incredible at teaching about stereotyping and prejudice. I loved one scene where an eskimo boy and an indian boy pretend to be brothers, and then laugh because a white general can't tell the difference. I love books that teach the importance of accepting differences in people.
This is a powerfully-written book about a topic I really knew nothing about--Native Alaskans being sent to boarding schools. I liked reading about the adventures the kids had and seeing the lessons they learned. I appreciated reading the afterwords of the book and seeing that many of the kids took the education they'd received and used it as adults to help the towns they grew up in.
Award: National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (2011)