Yesterday I finished reading an enjoyable book titled, “Walk The World’s Rim.” It was authored by Betty Baker. My American History teacher assigned this book for my class to read. Though I still have another week until the half day of class, and another entire week until the full day of co-op, I still had homework. Ever since I got into high school, I have had homework to do even before school starts. Thankfully, this book was pretty good.
Summary of Plot:
The protagonist is named Chakoh, and he is a Native American boy who goes on an expedition with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, and three other men. Chakoh becomes very fond of one of the expedition members, a man called Esteban. The entire story revolves around his friendship with Esteban, his adventures, and what life was like back in early America.
Book Analysis (Contains plot spoilers):
I personally thought the book was a good story. It is not very long, and probably written for a younger audience. Some of the issues it brings up may be offensive to some (ie slavery). Esteban is an African American slave. Chakoh doesn’t realize this for the longest time, and once he does, he is very mad. Chakoh grew up believing that slaves were warriors who surrendered rather than fought to the death. He thought it was a disgrace to be a slave, and remarks, “They are men of no honor. They would rather be slaves than die like true warriors, and they did not care if the world knew of their fear. Their hearts are weak. They have no sense of shame, for they surrendered rather than fight.”. Esteban tells Chakoh, ” ‘Perhaps they did not have a chance to fight.” Chakoh responds, “Then they should have refused to do the work of slaves. They should have forced their masters to kill them by trying to escape.” Later Chakoh even says, “No man of courage and honor becomes a slave.” (all quotes from page 31). Later, he realizes he was wrong. Esteban actually had to go into slavery to save the rest of his family. Chakoh even realizes he would rather be a slave than a begger, which shows a huge and positive change of heart for Chakoh. The bond between the two protagonists of this story is so strong, even though Chakoh has a tendency to be easily angered.
The story does have lots of references to the Native American religion. Chakoh does multiple things that are not very Christian like, and the author does not show that he has actually converted to Christianity. He continues to believe in both Christianity and his religion, which may bother some people. The references and different forms of something that resembles witchcraft may be a problem.
Another problem with the story is Esteban’s death. Though one of the most powerful and moving parts of a story can be the death, that doesn’t change the fact that Esteban was a very sweet and kind character, who thought of others almost the entire story. Some young readers may become sad because of his death.
Personally, I think this book is very, very clean, and though it touches on topics that may offend some readers (slavery) and the protagonist can be very mouthy (he does not curse. He is merely very outspoken and judging), I think it is a good book for all ages.