TMW Book Reviews

Twelfth Winter


J. Arthur Moore

The book Twelfth Winter by J. Arthur Moore paints an enthralling and captivating image of Michael’s world. From the first pages, the reader takes in all the exquisite maps, drawings, and photographs of the characters that make this enchanting story come alive.

The narrative follows a train arriving at the southern end of Virginia and Truckee Railroad full of passengers and baggage wagons. Amongst them is a young boy dressed in buckskin clothing whose look is unlike any other present; he stands out due to his white features, which are paired with a parfleche containing his possessions and a long package wrapped in buckskin. We slowly follow our protagonist’s journey as he finds an empty seat to observe what lies ahead.

Twelfth Winter is the captivating sequel to Summer of Two Worlds that follows the journey of Prairie Cub, an intelligent and kind-hearted 12-year-old boy born a pioneer but raised by Native Americans. After his tribe is forced from their land, Prairie Cub, now renamed Michael Freeman, ends up in West Virginia with kind foster parents. As he learns to navigate life around his new white family while wrestling with his identity and missing his Sioux family, he finds friends eager to hear his story. With its well-researched historical setting and depiction of Michael’s emotional struggles, this is an engaging tale of individual growth. This novel expertly creates an atmosphere full of emotion and wonder; its pages capture large and small moments that bring life with its thought-provoking yet lighthearted dialogue.

One of the author’s positive points is how he captures the beauty of everyday moments, like Michael spending time with his pony, and how developing a strong sense of community can bring immense happiness and joy to one’s life.

The book’s descriptive and detailed style effectively conveys the setting and atmosphere and creates well-defined characters through descriptions. And sensory language immerses the reader in the scene. In addition, the focus on action keeps the pace of the passage moving and adds urgency to the situation. Michael’s heartwarming coming-of-age story is efficient, effective, and engaging, making for a compelling read.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024