A Promising Life: Coming of Age with America

9 CDs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 8:47 hrs. Aug. 2017. ISBN 9781338159691. $39.99
Gr 5–8—Not much has been written about Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of noted Native American guide Sacagawea, who helped the Lewis and Clark expedition, and a French fur trader. We know that General William Clark promised to raise him but ultimately only paid for his schooling. This fictionalized biography of Baptiste shows him to have been highly intelligent, resourceful, and mature beyond his years as he made his way through various schools, to Europe, and, eventually, back to the United States. Basically raising himself from the age of seven, Baptiste faced injustice and racism due to his mixed-race heritage. MacLeod Andrews reads and performs the many accents easily, smoothly differentiating among the characters. He deftly shows Baptiste's frustration at not being fully integrated into the Clark family life. Andrews's expressive narration brings to life sections that might have been somewhat dull in written form, such as Baptiste's lengthy stay in Germany living off the largess of a wealthy man. The audiobook concludes with an afterword by the author and a revealing Cast of Characters that clearly informs listeners which characters are fictitious and which are historially accurate.
VERDICT Libraries lacking in biographical historical fiction audiobooks will be interested in this recording.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing