Morning Girl - Michael Dorris

Morning Girl, who loves the day, and her younger brother Star Boy, who loves the night, take turns describing their life on an island in pre-Columbian America; in Morning Girl's last narrative, she witnesses the arrival of the first Europeans to her world.Tells the story of Morning Girl and her brother, Star Boy, two Native Americans of the Taino tribe, their family, and their community, as they grow up together in the Bahamas in the fateful year of 1492.



Morning Girl is a 12 year old Taino child living with her parents and younger brother, Star Boy, on a island in the Bahamas in the 15th century. As you might expect, Morning Girl is a natural early riser, a go-getter always full of ideas, while Star Boy loves the night and tends to move through the world with a slower, more easy-going nature.


The story's narration alternates between the siblings. There's not really a direct, clear-cut kind of plot here, but more like interconnected scenes showing readers what life might have looked like for indigenous families of this era. Family --- both living and not --- plays an important role in this little story. One special scene depicts Star Boy, having been caught in hurricane weather, waiting for someone to rescue him, passing the time by talking with the ghost of his grandfather.




When I had nothing else to think of, I simply let the air wash over me. I became the darkness. I listened to my breath as it ran in and out of my mouth like tides on the beach. I put my hands flat on the sand and felt the smoothness against my palms. I sniffed the air, got to know this great, wide house, because I didn't know how long I would have to live in it. And, without my ever noticing the change, I stopped being mad. I became mother had come to sit beside me. She was quiet, waiting, her body a dim shape settled so naturally into itself that until she spoke I couldn't be sure that she was not just my wish. 


"Tell me what you have learned," she asked, her words low and like a dream. 


"At night," I answered in that same whispering tone, "at night you must be your own friend."


My mother took a short breath, and I knew she understood me.



It's a sweet story in the way it shows how even if family member fight with each other, they can also still love each other fiercely... even if the deeper emotions are largely displayed in secret. The ending of the story also serves as a good example of why Columbus Day really should be dropped as a national holiday in the States.