Cover image for Ghost Hawk
Ghost Hawk
Ghost Hawk
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2013.
Physical Description:
328 pages ; 22 cm.
At the end of a winter-long journey into manhood, Little Hawk returns to find his village decimated by a white man's plague and soon, despite a fresh start, Little Hawk dies violently but his spirit remains trapped, seeing how his world changes.


Call Number
Material Type
JUV F COOPER New or Popular Book

On Order



From Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper, a story of adventure and friendship between a young Native American and a colonial New England settler.

On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren't as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author's note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.

Author Notes

Susan Cooper was born in Buckinghamshire, England in May of 1935. She attended Slough Grammar School, and then went on to Somerville College and Oxford. She was the first woman to ever edit the University Magazine, the Cherwell. She graduated from Oxford with an MA in English and went to work for London's The Sunday Times as a reporter on the Atticus Column for Ian Flemming. She evenutally made it to features writer, during which time she wrote her first book, "Mandrake," a science fiction story for adults.

Soon after the publication of "Mandrake," Cooper wrote the children's story "Over Sea, Under Stone" for a publishing house competition. It would later become the first of a five book series she would become famous for. She left England in 1963 to marry an American professor. Once there, she wrote two more books for adults, "Behind the Golden Gate" a study of America, and "Portrait of an Author" the biography of J. B. Priestley. In 1970, Cooper published "Dawn of Fear" an almost entirely autobiographical book about growing up as a child during the war. Even though Cooper wrote "Over Sea, Under Stone" as a entry for a publishing house competittion, she did not know at the time that it would be the first of her most famous copilation, "The Dark is Rising Series." In 1973 she wrote the second in the five book series, entitled "The Dark is Rising," published more than ten years after the first. In1974, Cooper published Greenwitch, book three, and book four, "The Grey King" a year later. "The Grey King" won the Newberry Medal in 1976. "Silver on the Tree" was the fifth and last book published, completing the series in 1977.

After completing the "Dark is Rising" series, Cooper turned to writing for the theater, learning the style from Urjo Kareda at Tarragon Theatres in Toronto. She wrote for Jack Langstaff's "Revels." Her first major play was called "Foxfire," which was written in coolaboration with Hume Cronyn. The play eventually went to Broadway in 1983 and starred Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, who won a Tony for her performance. Cooper then began working on "Seaward," but was interrupted by Jane Fonda, who wanted her to write the screenplay for Harriet Arnow's "The Dollmaker." She wrote the adaptation with Cronyn and won a Humanitas Award for it, while Jane Fonda won the Best Actress Emmy for her role. Cooper also got an Emmy nomination for her adaptation of "Foxfire" for television. "To Dance with the White Dog," a made for tv movie, was the last collaboration of Cooper, Cronyn and Tandy, Tandy having died in '94.

IN the '80's and '90's, Cooper wrote the text for many children's picture books such as, "Jethro and the Jumbie" and "Danny and the Kings." 1993 marked her return to the Children's Book List with "The Boggart" and int's follow up "The Boggart and the Monster" in 1997. In 1996, Cooper published a collection of essays on children's literature entitled, "Dreams and Wishes." Over the course of her career, Cooper has written for newspapers, books for children and adults, screen[plays for television and cinema, and a Broadwat play. Today, she lectures on children's literture and continues to write.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In early colonial Massachusetts, Native America Little Hawk and colonist John Wakeley come from different worlds. But a brief encounter turns into a long kinship that eventually moves beyond the confines of the living world. When colonists kill Little Hawk, Wakeley finds himself still connected to his friend's soul, which guides him to a life of peace and the principles of Roger Williams. Narrator Jim Dale turns in a winning performance, his voice capturing the tone and attitude of a person recalling the events of past. Dale provides a strong vocal contrast between Little Hawk and Wakeley, while also establishing distinct voices for the book's other characters. Ages 10-14. A Margaret K. McElderry hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Upon return from his three-month test of solitude, young Little Hawk of the Pokanoket tribe finds his village devastated by disease, and all but his grandmother are dead. The two move to another village, where they are adopted and become part of the community, and much of this novel focuses on their quiet life there until something unspeakable happens. Then the focus shifts to 10-year-old John Wakeley, and the book becomes more clearly a historical fantasy that links the lives of Little Hawk and John in a mysterious way. Set in the seventeenth century, Cooper's wonderful novel is unsparing in its treatment of the bigoted attitudes of many of the English settlers toward the Pokanoket people, and of the censorious nature of the settlers' religion. The historical figure Roger Williams, a character in the novel, says sadly, They have escaped repression in order to repress others. The novel's dramatic tension resides in the fact that John grows up to be a friend to the native people and, like Williams, a Separatist, believing that people should be free to worship as they will, a belief for which he will be flogged. Cooper has written a richly plotted, lyrical, and near-epic novel filled with wonderfully realized and sympathetic characters. In sum, this is simply an unforgettable reading experience.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-Cooper's historical fantasy (Margaret K. McElderry Bks., 2013) about a Wampanoag boy and the son of a Pilgrim tells a story of Europeans settling in America during the early 17th century. The tale centers on the lives of two friends, Little Hawk and John Wakeley, both about 11 years old when they meet. Focusing first on Little Hawk's journey into the wilderness where he must survive a three-month rite of passage to become a man, Cooper illuminates the character. When Little Hawk is murdered by white settlers after he pulls out his tomahawk to assist John's injured father, John is unable to resolve the unfairness of what he witnesses in relation to the teachings and professed moral authority of his elders. Little Hawk becomes a ghost to whom John is linked for the rest of his life. From him, John learns about the native people's language, politics, and culture. The bigotry and injustice John witnesses and experiences are described along with details of his life in the Massachusetts territory. While most of the plot takes place during John's lifetime, Cooper successfully brings it to the present day. Jim Dale's exceptional narration, measured pacing, ability to render multiple characters, and emotional intensity fully immerses listeners in the story. At the end, there is a timeline of facts and references related to the experiences of Native Americans also narrated by Dale.-Janet Thompson, West Belmont Branch Library. NJ (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Ghost Hawk ONE He had left his canoe in the river, tied to a branch of a low-growing cherry tree. Now there was green marshland ahead of him, all round the river's last slow curve. He pushed his way through waist-high grass toward one of the three high places in the marshland, where trees grew. They were islands of trees, never visited; the duck hunters went only to the marsh. He had chosen this place months ago, and now was the day to come back. In a squawking flurry two ducks erupted ahead of him, flying low, but his bow stayed on his back; he would not hunt till later, on the way home. He reached the trees--a tangle of pin oak and cherry, sumac and hickory, juniper and birch--and threaded his way through the grabbing branches to the two rocks that marked the tree he had chosen. There it still was, beside the rocks, still the proper shape: the small bitternut hickory tree with its twin leading stems growing in a slender V. He gave the tree a respectful greeting, and explained what he was about to do. The woven birch-bark pouch was heavy round his neck. He took out the stone blade, a long, notched rectangle of flint with one edge chipped to a fine sharpness. This blade had belonged to the tomahawk used by his father and his grandfather, until its handle broke; nobody knew where it had come from or when it was made. It was very precious to him. Carefully he fitted the blade into the cleft between the tree's two slim branches, twisting them together above it. Then, with tough strands of deer sinew from his pouch, he bound the joined branches tightly above the stone--so tightly that they would grow together as the years went by, enclosing the blade. To make a tomahawk for your son, you needed the stone blade, and the wooden shaft, and time. In my father's day, there was still time. When he'd finished his binding, he thanked the small tree, and gave it good wishes to grow straight and strong. Then he went back across the marshland to his canoe. On the way he shot three ducks, for the feast celebrating the arrival of the baby son who had been born early that day. I was that son. Because Flying Hawk was my father, the name they were giving me was Little Hawk. Excerpted from Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.