Meet Kaya (An American Girl Collection) was written by Janet Shaw, edited by Jodi Goldberg and illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. The publisher was American Girl, 2002.

Kaya is a young Native American girl who travels with her family to a fishing village for the season. She has a new horse, Steps High, who is very spirited like she is. Kaya boasts about herself and her horse which gets her into trouble. She enters a race with a troublesome friend, leaving her twin brothers with a blind family friend named Speaking Rain. Her brothers leave Speaking Rain’s side and wander into the woods. The children are feared to have been lured into the woods by “the little people.” (This is part of the tribe’s religion.) Kaya and the others find the brothers unharmed, but all the children must face punishment.  Kaya learns how wrong she was to boast about her horse.

Because of what Kaya did, the children of the fishing village call her names. She must learn to overcome their teasing. She enjoys working in the fishing village and learns from the elders of the tribe by listening to their stories and lessons. She has other adventures. She learns how to better train her horse. At the climax, Kaya and her horse Steps High have the opportunity to rescue Speaking Rain, but will Kaya be able to use the training and help her friend?

Meet Kaya is the first of six books in the Kaya series. The setting of this book is 1764, the Pacific Northwest. The story is 59 pages long. The book has additional pages of information. Meet Kaya is a great book for girls ages 10 to 13. The publisher recommends it for ages 8 and up, but I think that it may be too advanced for an 8 year old.

The book poses questions for parents to ask their child. For example: What is boasting? What are the consequences? What are the results of teasing? In addition to telling a great story about a young Native American girl, the book gives a brief history of the Nez Perce tribe and has a language section so that the reader can learn a little more about the Nez Perce language. The history includes a brief section on the current location and changes in the Nez Perce tribe.

Kristina O’Brien is a mother of twin girls, an avid reader, and credentialed teacher. She has taught both middle school and high school history. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoys raising her two girls.