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Rain is Not My Indian Name [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio Cassette]

Cynthia Leitich Smith , Jenna Lamia
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 31 2001
Read by Jenna Lamia
Approx. 3 hours
2 cassettes

It's been six months since Rain's best friend Galen died, and up until now she has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around her aunt Georgia's Indian Camp in their mostly white midwestern community, Rain decides to face the outside world again—at least through the lens of her camera.

Hired by her town newspaper to photograph the campers, Rain soon finds that she has to decide how involved she wants to become in Indian Camp. Does she want to keep a professional distance from the intertribal community she belongs to? And just how willing is she to connect with the campers after her great loss?

In a voice that resonates with insight and humor, Cynthia Leitich Smith tells of heartbreak, recovery, and reclaiming your place in the world.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Multiple plot lines and nonlinear storytelling may make it difficult to enter Smith's (Jingle Dancer) complex novel, but the warmth and texture of the writing eventually serve as ample reward for readers. The sensitive yet witty narrator, 14-year-old Cassidy Rain Berghoff, grows up in a small Kansas town as one of the few people with some Native American heritage. That experience alone might challenge Rain, but Smith creates a welter of conflicts. Rain's mother is dead (she was struck by lightning), and as the novel opens, her best friend is killed in a car accident just after he and Rain realize their friendship has grown into romance. Six months later, her older brother urges her to go to her great-aunt's Indian Camp. At first she shrugs it off, but later volunteers to photograph the camp for the town paper and begins to share her Aunt Georgia's commitment to it. When public funding for the camp becomes a contested issue in the city council, Rain decides to enroll. Some of Smith's devices such as opening each chapter with a snippet from Rain's journal add depth and clarify Rain's relationships for readers, although other elements (the detailing of song lyrics playing in the background, for instance) seem stilted. Even so, readers will feel the affection of Rain's loose-knit family and admire the way that they, like the author with the audience, allow Rain to draw her own conclusions about who she is and what her heritage means to her. Ages 10-14.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-9-Rain and Galen have been friends forever, but for Rain's 14th birthday, the thrill of finding that her burgeoning romantic feelings are being reciprocated puts the evening into a special-memory category. The next morning, she learns that Galen was killed in an accident on the way home. Plunged into despair, Rain refuses to attend the funeral and cuts herself off from her friends. Skipping to six months later, the main portion of the story takes place as she thinks about Galen's upcoming birthday and summer plans are complicated by the girl's Aunt Georgia's Indian Camp and political efforts to cut its funding. Rain participates in nothing and her family members, loving though they are, seem preoccupied with their own needs and concerns. Gradually, Rain's love of photography resurfaces and lands her an assignment with the local newspaper. She becomes involved in examining her own heritage, the stereotypical reactions to it, and her own small-town limitations. There is a surprising amount of humor in this tender novel. It is one of the best portrayals around of kids whose heritage is mixed but still very important in their lives. As feelings about the public funding of Indian Camp heat up, the emotions and values of the characters remain crystal clear and completely in focus. It's Rain's story and she cannot be reduced to simple labels. A wonderful novel of a present-day teen and her "patchwork tribe."-Carol A. Edwards, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rain Resonates with this Reader April 22 2002
Cynthia Leitich Smith's Rain is Not My Indian Name is a refreshing, respectful examination of the issues that contemporary teens face. Smith gives such authentic voice to the heroine, Rain, that the character becomes real to this reader. The book courageously takes on real and complex issues that many teenagers face today, including death and single-parent households. Although there is enough action within it's pages to keep any teen interested, this is truly a book about individual characters. Smith captures the essence of her main character, Rain, by giving the reader a glimpse into her American Indian heritage. What is most impressive about Rain's character development is her proud heritage comes through, but does not solely define her. Smith has accomplished what few writers have. She develops her heroine's culture but not at the expense of her universal appeal to all teens, regardless of ethnicity. Rain illustrates the differences that make us special but also the similarities that unite us. I highly recommend this book for teens and parents alike for a thoughtful view of young middle-America. My only regret is that this type of book was not being written when I came of age.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Believable Rain April 15 2002
I read this book almost a year ago, but it still lingers with me. I think the main reason is Cassidy Rain Berghoff, the fourteen-year-old title character. After losing her best friend, Galen, in a tragic way, Cassidy shuts out the world. Months pass before she grows to realize that she has to get in touch with the world again, even if it's through a job. I was really impressed by Cassidy's bravery and strength. The author did a great job making this character REAL. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew Cassidy. The author made me care about her - about what would happen to her.
The book doesn't make it easy for Cassidy to work things out. For example, while working as a photographer in an Indian camp run by her Aunt Georgia, Cassidy finds herself torn between getting involved in an emotional issue and staying professional and objective. Kids are faced with hard decisions all the time, so I found it very easy to relate to Cassidy and what she goes through.
I recommend RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME to anyone who loves a good story and good characters. This book has both!
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By A Customer
Written with an authentic Native literary structure, Smith's debut novel is perhaps most notable because ethnic identity is integrated rather than the sole focus of the book. Instead, her protagonist, Rain Berghoff, is a young mixed blood teen struggling to heal after the death of her best friend by reconnecting to her intertribal and German American small-town community. That challenge to heal is her primary conflict. The two subplots are about financing for a local summer camp for Indian youth, based on real-life camps of the same kind, using the same approach, and the adjustment to her older brother's new baby, nodding to the continuity of life and love.
Yet Rain's story is told with wit and warmth, deserving particular praise for its down-home Indian humor and realistically contemporary teen voice and vision. At its heart, this is a story about the importance of family and community, how they help us heal and become more of the best of who we are.
For this novel, Smith was named a 2001 Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. She'd also been a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award for her previous title, Jingle Dancer. This title is used in middle school classrooms and college courses with a multicultural focus. A break-through book from a young Native American author staying true to her culture and her readers. Don't miss this one
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing execution of a story with potential April 2 2002
I am a freelance quiz writer, and I picked up this book for one of my assignments. The cover blurb looked very interesting, and I began reading it with eager anticipation. Two hours later I put the book down, disappointed.
Rain's story has lots of potential, and takes place in an interesting family setting. Rain's mother has been dead for several years. Rain and her brother & his girlfriend live with their grandfather, who is vacationing in Las Vegas during the book. Their father is posted on Guam.
The book begins on the night her best friend Galen is killed, and then jumps ahead six months to his birthday (July 4) for the action. Rain's Aunt Georgia wants to run an Indian Camp, and Rain doesn't want to attend. Her brother's girlfriend asks her to photograph the event for a story Flash, an intern, is writing about the camp.
Aunt Georgia's concept of Indian Camp is very vague; even when Rain and Flash observe the camp in an attempt to write a feature story, Indian Camp never becomes anything more than nebulous. Georgia wants the campers to build a pasta bridge, write, design a webpage, and take a long fieldtrip to Minnesota (from Kansas) to watch an Indian rice harvest. Aunt Georgia feels these are important activities, but doesn't ever bother to explain why. Even Rain and Flash's conversations about the activities shed little or no light on the importance.
Galen's mother--a dislikeable character in all but one incident--is trying to stop funding of Indian Camp. For Rain, the Indian Camp conflict and her difficulty in dealing with Galen's death, combine to create problems between her and Galen's mother. Add to that rumours that are certainly intended to be scandalous (but which fall far short) and the situation becomes a stress point for Rain.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
With the reading of this book I have now read all of Cynthia Leitich Smith's books in the last few months. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2010 by Steven R. McEvoy
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Look at Race Relations
Even with the happy ending, this book was still too depressing for me. Was an interesting look at race relations, though.
Published on Jan. 8 2008 by Tez Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars Rain Is Not My Indian Name
Before I began this book I came onto amazon.com to see what other people thought of this, along with the reviews and summaries I was expecting something absolutely GREAT!!! Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003 by Sam Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Rain made me believe in her.
I read this book almost a year ago, but it still lingers with me. I think the main reason is Cassidy Rain Berghoff, the fourteen-year-old title character. Read more
Published on April 12 2002 by "adriab"
4.0 out of 5 stars What the reader brings is important too
The reviewer who is a freelance writer seems intent on bashing this book. Not liking a book is one thing, calling an author names is another. Read more
Published on April 7 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Spanning powwows to laptops
Rain may not be her Indian name, but the easy reality of powwow references (where the birthday necklace comes from), a soon-to-be-born niece Aiyana (named after Rain's Cherokee... Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2001 by Becca Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars Rain is not my indian name
This is a wonderfull book! I found myself agreeing with Rain very often! I am a Cherokee Indian, and my friends and family continually told me how much I am like the... Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Rain is not my indian name
This is a wonderfull book! I found myself agreeing with Rain very often! I am a Cherokee Indian, and my friends and family continually told me how much I am like the... Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new talent
On New Year's Eve, the eve of her fourteenth birthday, Rain Berghoff kisses her best friend Galen and discovers that she likes him as a boyfriend as well as loving him as a friend. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2001 by Diana Tixier Herald
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