I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 240 pages
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I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn (on Kobo) is a book for ages 10+ set during the French & Indian War that re-imagines the story of young Regina Leininger, who was captured by Indians and lived with them during this time.  The protagonist in Keehn’s story, 10-year-old Regina, is taken from her home after her mother leaves to mill the corn before the winter comes.  She’s traumatized by the ordeal that takes the life of her father and one of her brothers.  Her sister, Barbara, is taken as well, but they are soon parted as the tribes divvy up their spoils.

“It must be November now.  My eleventh birthday has passed and I have had no time to mark it.  The cries of geese no longer fill the sky.  Frost coats the ground and ice skims the wide and shallow stream we have been following southward through this wooded valley.” (page 59)

Until the tribes take her, from her German immigrant family, and she is forced to carry a young girl with her through treacherous terrain, Regina has little struggle in her life, except for the chores assigned to her by her parents.  Her mother always considered her a wanderer and a dreamer, but for the most part, she had a settled life in the frontier.  The trek to the village with Tiger Claw, a man who has seen battle with the White man and bears the scars to prove it, nearly exhausts her, but she is still ill-prepared for the life she will lead among the Indians.  Tribe life is hard and the women do most of the chores, and Regina is forced to struggle with her own identity, her faith, and fitting in with this new “family.”

Keehn does a great job balancing more adult themes with a middle grade audience, without sugar-coating or glossing over the dangerous possibilities Regina must face as a white squaw maturing into womanhood.  The author also is never heavy-handed with her treatment of Regina’s faith, but instead demonstrates how it is a source of strength for the protagonist as she acclimates herself and finds her place.

Unlike Indian Captive, which is about another woman captured by tribes, the prose here is more accessible, possibly because of the first-person point of view used.  While Regina does not leave the village, she is still touched by the French and Indian War, and she is subject to the loss of trade when the French are defeated.  She finds solace in the young girl she carried all those miles and in her new friendship with Nonschetto, but the strength of I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn is in the protagonist and her struggles with identity and what it is to be who we are and who are families are and become.

Check out the discussions Anna and I had at War Through the Generations.

About the Author:

Sally Keehn can remember her childhood days in Annapolis, Maryland – days spent reading, horseback riding, swimming, and exploring the woods surrounding her grandfather’s farm. Though she would bid Annapolis good-bye at the age of nineteen to embark on an English degree at Hood College, Keehn’s days of “exploring” were just beginning.

11th book (French and Indian War) for the 2014 War Challenge With a Twist.






15th book for 2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.





24th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.

April Read-a-Long for I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn

Today, I’m interrupting the flow of poets and poetry to remind everyone who was interested in the 2014 War Challenge With a Twist read-a-long of I am Regina by Sally M. Keehn this month, that today is discussion day.

I’ll be over at War Through the Generations today with Anna talking about Ch. 1-13 of this classic French and Indian War novel.

Please feel free to join us if you are reading along or if you’ve read this book before.



For today’s 2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon tour stop, click the image below:

Sign-Up for the April 2014 War Through the Generations Read-a-Long

Next month at War Through the Generations, we’ll be hosting a read-a-long of I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn for the French and Indian War.

Given the short nature of the young adult novel, we’ll be breaking it into just 2 discussions.  Here are the discussion post dates:

  • Friday, April 11: Chapters 1-13
  • Friday, April 25: Chapters 14-end (including afterword)

We hope that you’ll be able to join us!

2014 War Through the Generations Read-a-Longs

Here’s the schedule of read-a-longs for the 2014 War Through the Generations Reading Challenge With a Twist.

  • February: Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers for the Gulf Wars (this one is about Operation Iraqi Freedom).
  • April: I Am Regina by Sally M. Keehn for the French and Indian War.
  • June: War Babies by Frederick Busch for the Korean War
  • August: Stella Bain by Antia Shreve for the 100th anniversary of WWI.
  • October: The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter for WWII.
  • December: Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien for the Vietnam War.

We hope that you’ll be joining us for at least one or more of these read-a-longs in 2014.