alabama map
talking leaves

Reviewer rating

Format reviewed: Audio
Ready by Joseph Bruchac
4 hours and 34 minutes


Yellowhammer State

Talking Leaves by Joseph Bruchac


Time Period:



Wills Town, Alabama
Sequoyah (George Guess), Cherokee (Tsalagi) people, Cherokee syllabary
Serious, thoughtful, sincere

This is the first audiobook I listened to for the Audiobook Tour of US History project and I highly recommend it!  I learned a lot and Joseph Bruchac did an excellent job of narrating his book.  I’m definitely interested in reading more by this prolific author. 

Talking Leaves is the fictionalized story of Uwohali and his relationship with his father, Sequoyah, the inventor of the written Cherokee language. At thirteen years of age, Uwohali is ready to learn a trade and is interested in becoming a blacksmith and jeweler like Sequoyah.  He hasn’t seen his father in many years and is cautious about approaching him since it is rumored that he’s crazy; he spends his days making strange markings, which could be a sign of witchcraft. As Uwohali gets to know and understand his father, the reader learns about Cherokee life and culture in the 1820s.  The story is chock full of Cherokee tales, customs, values and important events such as the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. 

I listened to two other excellent audiobooks that take place in Alabama:
* The Watsons go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christoper Paul Curtis.  History Focus: 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Rating: 5 stars.
* Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.  History Focus: Vietnamese immigrants in 1974.  Rating: 5 stars.

alabama state bird
Yellowhammer (Northern Flicker)
alabama state flower
alabama state tree
Southern Longleaf Pine
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