Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 15
- Grade: 5 to 10
In her fourth historical novel dealing with British North America and the American Revolution, Jean Rae Baxter focuses on Broken Trail, a young boy who was born white but captured and adopted by the Oneida people. The great Mohawk leader Thayendanegea - known to Euro-Canadians as Joseph Brant - has chosen Broken Trail to assist him in the daunting task of uniting all the tribes and nations with the goal of establishing a country of their own. In preparation, Broken Trail must attend a Christian boarding school for native youth, where he soon finds that he has to gain the trust of young men from many different tribes whose ancient enmities lie barely concealed beneath the surface. With the help of Yellowbird, the only woman student, he discovers that the school - racist in the extreme - is a place of secrets where appearances can be deceiving and loyalty is sometimes proven in unexpected ways. As a first step, Brant sends Broken Trail on a long journey to meet with Tecumseh, the young Shawnee leader, to begin the work of union. In this tale of intrigue and adventure, Baxter once again demonstrates her ability to convert the past into living history.
About the author
Jean Rae Baxterholds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.Ed. from Queen's. She has been nominated for the 2022 Governor General's History Award for Popular Media: the Pierre Berton Award.
Although she grew up in Hamilton, "down home" was Essex County, where her ancestors had settled, some as Loyalists in the 1780's following the American Revolution and some a century earlier, in the days of New France.
Jean has written six historical novels, the "Forging a Nation Series," covering the period from 1777 to 1793:
The Way Lies North (2007)
Broken Trail (2011)
Freedom Bound (2012)
The White Oneida (2014)
Hope's Journey (2015)
The Knotted Rope (2021)
With The Battle on the Ice she moves ahead to the Patriot Wars of 1837—1838. Jean's historical novels have won awards in Canada and the United States, including all three Moonbeam medals, ——Gold, Silver, Bronze?for Young Adult Historical Fiction.
She was also nominated for the 2022 Governor General's History Award for Popular Media: the Pierre Berton Award: About her series, "Forging A Nation" the committee write: "We were honoured to learn more about your work as a teacher, writer and public speaker. Your series… has done the important work of introducing young readers to the stories of the past and fostering a life—long interest in Canadian history."
She has also authored a murder mystery, Looking for Cardenio, and two short story collections, Twist of Malice and Scattered Light.•
As a teacher of creative writing Jean holds workshops on using the tools of fiction to bring family history to life.