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The Education of Little Tree

Narrated by: Johnny Heller
Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
Categories: Children, Ages 8-10
5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression.

”Little Tree" as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leaving the rest for nature to run its course.

Little Tree also learns the often-callous ways of white businessmen and tax collectors, and how Granpa, in hilarious vignettes, scares them away from his illegal attempts to enter the cash economy. Granma teaches Little Tree the joys of reading and education. But when Little Tree is taken away by whites for schooling, we learn of the cruelty meted out to Indian children in an attempt to assimilate them and of Little Tree's perception of the Anglo world and how it differs from the Cherokee Way.

A classic of its era, and an enduring book for all ages.

©2008 India Carter, LLC © 1976 by Forrest Carter; Copyright renewed 2004 (P)2014 David N. Wilson

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best books you'll ever read.

l love this book. I've read it numerous times in physical form and wanted to listen to it in the car. At first I wasn't sure I liked the narrator but he grew on me and I think he really added to the feel of the story.
The story is about a young American Indian boy who's parents die so he is taken in by his grandparents. They live in the mountains and have a pagan understanding of nature which they pass on to Little Tree.
It's a simple story told from the boys perspective and I can only describe it as magical. The writing is wonderful and simple but with a brilliant intelligence and emotion behind it.
My barometer for all media is, how invested am I in the characters? In this book, totally.
If you never read this book, you have left something out of your life.

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Wisdom of the wilds!

A beautiful story with great threads of wisdom from a sadly forgotten people running throughout the book.

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Not for children!

There are a lot of interesting lessons and points in this book. But there is a lot of cussing and the language used is old English-keep the young ones away.

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Profile Image for L. Pegher
  • L. Pegher
  • 02-07-15

Grabs Your Heartstrings

What made the experience of listening to The Education of Little Tree the most enjoyable?

Narrator was perfect. Made me feel that the story was narrated by a naïve young boy. Really personalized the story.

What did you like best about this story?

Drew me into this poignant story. Could not stop listening.

What about Johnny Heller’s performance did you like?

Accent was done extremely well. Made me believe that he identified with this very young orphaned Native American.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I cried for at least 15 minutes. Was a very good story that drew me right in, and because I felt connected to each of the major character, I personally felt their pain.

Any additional comments?

This story reminded me of the way I felt after watching "Ol' Yeller". I enjoyed the entire story, laughing out loud at times, but crying at the end when reality intrudes.

7 people found this helpful

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  • StevenJayCohen
  • 24-06-14

Johnny Heller impresses!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Even if you have read this classic piece of Americana (whether or not you know its checkered past) you need to hear Johnny Heller read it to you. It is like discovering a lost treasure all over again.

What did you like best about this story?

Having read and taught this book numerous times, it was a rare treat to have Johnny Heller read it to me. His fresh, in the moment, subtle style does not disappoint.

What does Johnny Heller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Johnny Heller has a knack for getting inside the soul of young characters when he narrates a book. It's amazing really. A voice that on first blush seems better suited for Noir brings vivid detail to YA and Classic Children's Literature.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Talking with Grandma about her special place... I was there with them... just beautiful.

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Sharon Nordlinger
  • Sharon Nordlinger
  • 24-06-14

Gorgeous!

What did you love best about The Education of Little Tree?

This is a book for all ages and all time. It is a beautifully lyrical sensitive rendering of the native American experience and a young mans powerful and resilient journey. Johnny Heller gave a knock out narration/performance that is honest, jugular and nuanced.

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Larry DuBoise
  • Larry DuBoise
  • 21-01-20

Tugs at the heart strings.

I have watched the movie and liked it.
As always the book is so much better.
The story always reminds me of my youngest son and his relationship with my mom and dad.
My mom has past so now it’s just a boy and his grandpa.
The story has always reminded of stories that my folks have told me of their growing up.
I enjoyed the performance I felt it was spot on.
It just a great story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cora
  • 17-12-19

Little tree

This was such a beautiful book I hate it for it to end. The story of this little boy’s love for his grandparents we’re gone from him to early night. I would recommend this book to one and all young and old it was beautiful read it thank you to the author and the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for KKomments, NYC
  • KKomments, NYC
  • 22-06-14

A Beautiful Culture Through the Eyes of a Child

If you could sum up The Education of Little Tree in three words, what would they be?

Charming, Heartbreaking, Uplifting..

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Education of Little Tree?

The vivid descriptions of a simple life in the mountains and the daily life that Little Tree and his grandparents shared was genuinely touching and thought provoking. I loved the humorous episodes about the politicians and the whiskey runnin' business.. I loved the hound dogs.I especially loved Grandma's explanation of the "mind spirit" and "body spirit". I loved all of the moments with Willow John and Little Tree's grandparents. This book is not tragic or angry. It expresses with dignity and grace a culture "torn apart and scattered" that should never be forgotten.

What about Johnny Heller’s performance did you like?

I cannot imagine anyone better to portray this little boy than Johnny Heller. He told the story in a simple straight forward manner which meshed perfectly with the writing. I really felt as though I was living every moment through the eyes of a 5 year old child who was struggling to make sense of a world he was thrust into. I felt the discovery and genuine love and adoration that Little Tree had for his grandparents, the mountains and a way of life that because of it's simplicity and truth gave him a rich and satisfying life.

Any additional comments?

I listened a second time to several of these chapters because I was so moved by this story.I wish that this were on the reading/listening list in every school in America. There are lessons for ALL to take to heart here!

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jon David Schein
  • Jon David Schein
  • 24-11-15

Excellent story for every American to read!

The narrator of the story colors the story with American Indian accents, which brings life to the characters. Powerfully moving passages about the coming of age of a young person in a rapidly changing world, complete with a removed and misdirected political force which threatens extinction of the very way of life for an entire people, whose culture lives as one with nature and whose religion can be described as spiritually tuned to the frequency of nature. Replete with social, religious, political ideals and challenges of the United States since its inception and even further since white man's first, drastic contrasting contact with the American Native peoples.
A beautiful eloquent story, it's as if Grandpa is re-educating the reader to know The Way.

3 people found this helpful

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  • USMC 8152
  • 23-09-19

Disappointing remake for likely political reasons

I've owned the original read of this book since 2012. After having complications listening to the original book, I contacted support to be told that, that version was no longer available so they deleted the original from my library and added this "new" version. Simply put... I HATE IT! The reader gets an Irish accent whenever reading the parts of Grandpa and Grandma who are supposed to be Cherokee. He sounds like he's 100 years old and doesn't come remotely close to the original reading!!! I will be looking to get a refund of this book now that for, most likely political correctness, they have removed the original and far better reading,.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 15-03-19

One of the best stories I’ve ever read

Absolutely love this book I recommend it for anybody who loves traditional American life and stories, if you love mountains and Indians in Hunting anything as good about our past here in America this is a good story.

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Profile Image for CWCadwell
  • CWCadwell
  • 31-08-18

Read About the Author Before You Read This Book

I did not realize until after I finished this book that the author was a white supremacist and made up a lot of stuff about Cherokee Native American culture. Some of the words he says are Cherokee are simply made up!

When reading the book I thought it was pretty good. However, knowing that it is culturally and historically inaccurate makes me realize it’s just fluff trash. Guess I should have done my research FIRST. Lesson learned.

3 people found this helpful