When war is coming, it can be difficult to distinguish between friends and enemies. Anikwa and James are friends, and their families have been good to one another. Anikwa’s family and the rest of his Miami tribe have been trading with and living mostly in harmony with James, his family, and other “Americans” living at Fort Wayne. But as they teeter on the edge of the War of 1812, relationships are strained and trust is hard to come by.
Frost tells the story of the friendship through free verse, a medium that’s not always an easy sell to young readers. Frost does it well, offering a spare, poetic way to give voice to two different characters. Any reader willing to take the risk of trying something new will be rewarded with a complex, affecting story that brings history to life in a very simple way. Ages 10 and up. (Farrar Straus Giroux)