Review: Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
Friday, September 25, 2015 10:00 AM

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson and David Shannon. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015.


Hiawatha was having a rough time. His family was killed by the ongoing wars between the Iroquois tribes and hatred was festering in his heart. Then the peacemaker arrived, and told Hiawatha to let go of his hatred because if the five nations of the Iroquois did not come together they would destroy each other until no one was left. So Hiawatha became the messenger of the peacemaker and brought the five nations of the Iroquois together before war destroyed them all.


It’s one of the most moving non-fiction books I have read in a long time. The illustrations are gorgeous and in two different styles. The lesser used style is done in that of tribal art, colorful but simple and is at the bottom of some of the pages to show the coming together of the tribes. The other style, which is the majority of the book is hard to describe outside of gorgeous (also because I don’t have an art degree). But they are extremely detailed and colorful and truly enhance the story that is being told. The story itself is very moving and told in the same way I imagine it would be told by a Iroquois storyteller. It’s a moving story about finding forgiveness for yourself and towards your enemies and ultimately coming together as one nation. I will admit that while I was reading it I had a hard time deciding if it was a biography or a legend, but ultimately I decided it was a little bit of both. The book also come with a 1 Track CD with an original song by Robbie Roberston that tells the same story in a different way with less words that the book. While I found the book more moving, I did enjoy the CD.

Further Information

Hiawatha is written so that people of all ages can enjoy it, although the target audience is kids. This book would be a wonderful story to include in a storytelling repertoire and on any Native American history or culture display. I received an advanced copy of this book.

If you enjoyed Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Roberston and David Shannon you might also like Sitting Bull Remembers by Ann Turner and Wendell Minor, Buffalo Bird Girl by S.D. Nelson, and Pocahontas: Princess of the New World by Kathleen Krull.

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