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Birchbark Blog


Louise Erdrich - Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I've just sent in the manuscript for the next book in The Birchbark House series.  Title: Chickadee.  I am still working on the art and drawing horses at last because my family (Omakayas, the twins Makoons and Chickadee, Animikiins, and all of the others) have moved onto the Great Plains.  I realized that for the sake of this book series we had to move there around 1866.  This is a fascinating year for all sorts of reasons, but for the main character, Chickadee, it is a year of unusual adventure.   Some odd things happen to Chickadee.  He challenges a man named Skunk.  He is kidnapped by two brutish louts who want a servant.  He learns to cook a wretched concoction called bouyah.  Chickadee runs away from well meaning but heartless missionaries.  He learns to survive completely alone in the woods helped by his namesake, the chickadee, who teaches him a song that can heal.  There is lots more, including a visit to Saint Paul, the first city he has ever seen, and composed at the time of shacks, pubs, treeless mansions, and lots of trading companies.  This book has been on my mind for a long time, and during this endless winter I've finally had time to compose it -- so at last.  As I mentioned, I am still working on the drawings.  I take photographs of my family and use them in the compositions.  I draw objects from my collections.  I make people up.  All in all, this is a pretty good job to have.  I recommend it for those who like to live in their pajamas.
Amy commented on 29-May-2011 05:47 PM
Excellent! I have been waiting patiently for the next book in the series. I would not wish this past long winter on anyone, but if that's what it takes to get the next book then it was worth it. I'm off to re-read the first three books!
Amy commented on 29-May-2011 10:24 PM
This is so exciting. My daughters will be floating when I tell them in the morning! We've read the series many times... We have a literacy library book love non-profit run by two little girls with a little help from Mom and Dad. This summer we are helping
local libraries with their summer reading programs. We are presenting story and reading journals (so they can work on their own stories) and weekly challenges to help them along. Along with reading the books and collecting stories we are suggesting that the
children get to know authors as real people: research them, send them letters! Where can children send you letters? And importantly do you have a estimated release date? The girls will want to know this. And please consider Northern Michigan for your book
tour, we'd be happy to help host you and connect you with our amazing community of book lovers! Let us know how we can help! Amy (
Andie commented on 31-May-2011 12:18 AM
Wonderful! I have two boys who love this series - along with me. We are very excited! Thank you for your amazing books....
Brenda commented on 10-Jun-2011 08:39 AM
Louise, this is good to know. I am a children's librarian in Jamestown, North Dakota and we are discussing your book "The Birchbark House" next week at our children's book club. I will let the kids know there will soon be another book in the series. Happy
Louise erdrich commented on 02-Jul-2011 07:29 PM
Dear Amy, Sorry it took me so long to respond. The date for Chickadee is a ways off -- right after the election November 2012. Thank you for writing in-- I wish that I could visit but am pretty limited in where I can go because I'm sort of booked up right
here at home with my own daughters -- happily booked.
Staffan Jansson commented on 05-Nov-2011 02:39 AM
I'm really glad to hear that the story continues. And it's interesting with the Ojibwe leaving the woods for the plains. Now I'm personally living in Sweden and for us the Minnesota Sioux uprising is not a bit controversial. However I have heard it is
in Minnesota. Next year there will be a 100 year anniversary. And you are bringing the ojibwe fairly near to where the Dakota struggle was taking place in this new book. One wonders if there be any mentioning of it, and so, if this in any way will be a controversial
story? Just by coincident. Maybe a book like this can be something, just a little bit something, that will create understanding for nature and living near it. Thinking about the tar issue, of course.
Staffan Jansson commented on 05-Nov-2011 02:56 AM
Correction. Of course it should be a 150 years anniversary of the sioux uprising. Maybe some people don't want to hear abot that anyhow. ;-)
Allison K commented on 27-Feb-2012 09:46 PM
After hearing a rumor about a continuation of The Birchbark House series (which I had wrongly assumed was a trilogy) I hit the internet to find out more. I was delighted to find that Chickadee is coming along, but I'm curious. How many more books are you
planning in this series? Also, I have adored your books since a professor of mine put Tracks on her syllabus and I am slowly but surely working my way through your works. I'm really impressed and grateful that you're able to write such amazing books on such
a fast schedule...I'm so glad I'll get to read them all!
ryan commented on 25-Apr-2012 12:19 AM
hey louise, i was wondering if you had any information on the chickadee and and what impact they had on the Ojibwa culture?
Bella and Madeline commented on 18-Jun-2012 09:32 PM
We really like your books. I love Indians and I think they are very interesting. Your books are the best books. They actually are the only Indian books in a series I have read. FROM Bella age 8; Madeline age 6
Anonymous commented on 06-Dec-2012 12:18 PM
Louise, we love this series. Thank you so much for writing it. Just so, so wonderful. I am reading it with my daughters. I wish there were more series like yours and I feel blessed that we discovered the Birchbark series at this time. Meegwich! Keep writing. Peace.
Anonymous commented on 11-Jan-2013 10:11 AM
Hi Louise! I really love this series and cannot wait for more. I hope you will publish more soon. Could you please write a book for the time period before the Chickadee book? There is so much I'd like to know about the time period you skipped over. What other books are planned for this series? I am so anxious to hear all about them. I really liked the growth in Two Strike in this book. I'd also like to know if it was common for so small a family group to move west? I love the information on survival skills, medicinal plants, wildlife and traditions. Please write quickly! Erin, age 8
Anonymous commented on 14-Jan-2013 06:41 AM
Having found a copy of first book BIRCHBARK HOUSE, loved pictures and want to read others in series. Many years ago, LITTLE HOUSE books were first series I read and still recommend them to all who have discovered the joy of reading words and 'chapter' books. Reading is my greatest joy and want to share it with the every new generation of readers. Pictures are important in processing words and especially in first time reading experience
when i try to remember when I discovered wonderful world of books.
Caryn Long commented on 05-Dec-2014 01:50 PM
Louise, I am curious about the flowers on the internal front and back covers of your bound Birchbark series. (My husband and I are birders. We started also really looking at wildflowers closely and began identifying them this past year when the weather was too warm or when hunting was going on in our favorite birding places.) Your four petaled fower with the vining leaves really caught my eye.
I have been reading your books throughout your entire career. I just read the entire Birchbark series in the past few months. Having just lost my adoptive father in late September, I think that most especially the fostering of lost children theme that runs through this series warmed the cockles of my heart. Your work always speaks to me and continues to do so. Thank you so much. - Caryn Long 12/05/14
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