National Book Award Finalist 2016

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels from town to town in Texas reading the news of the world to anyone who has a dime to attend his readings. He stays away from local news because it’s just a few years after the Civil War and reading the local news could have dire consequences. Captain Kidd has served his time in two wars and is now older, a widower, and for the most part, happy with his life on the road.

At a stop in Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to return a captive girl to her relatives in San Antonio. The US government has been offering “perks” to native tribes if they turn over any captive children. Ten year old Johanna has been recently rescued by a Black man, who knows he can’t be seen traveling down south to San Antonio with a young white girl. He makes deal with Captain Kidd. Kidd gets his wagon and the $50 gold piece if he makes it to San Antonio with the girl.

But Johanna is a reluctant passenger. Her parents and siblings were killed during a Kiowa raid when she was four years old. Now she’s been torn from the only home she remembers and from her Kiowa family. She doesn’t remember how to speak English, she won’t wear shoes, and she tries to escape at every opportunity.

However, as they both face dangers and trials on their 400 mile journey, Captain and Johanna begin to trust each other and slowly form a bond of friendship and solidarity. When they reach their destination, all does not go as planned, and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd must make a precarious decision.

This little book – and it is small in size – is chock full of good story. Like when you say to someone, “Wow, that’s a good story.” It’s like that.

View the online catalog listing

Recommended by Nancy


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