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The Education of Little Tree

Narrated by: Johnny Heller
Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression.

”Little Tree" as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leaving the rest for nature to run its course.

Little Tree also learns the often-callous ways of white businessmen and tax collectors, and how Granpa, in hilarious vignettes, scares them away from his illegal attempts to enter the cash economy. Granma teaches Little Tree the joys of reading and education. But when Little Tree is taken away by whites for schooling, we learn of the cruelty meted out to Indian children in an attempt to assimilate them and of Little Tree's perception of the Anglo world and how it differs from the Cherokee Way.

A classic of its era, and an enduring book for all ages.

©2008 India Carter, LLC © 1976 by Forrest Carter; Copyright renewed 2004 (P)2014 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about The Education of Little Tree

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Feel Good Story

I loved the way the Author described the affinity of a person to nature. Although some tough sections present, it was a pleasure to listen to.

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easy-to-listen. picturesque and soulful

Narrator is perfect, except for when he mightve had a cold! Don't google the author

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Most beautiful story ever told

Truly inspiring story told with humour grace and insight! A must read for anybody with a love of nature.

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Profile Image for L. Pegher
  • L. Pegher
  • 02-07-2015

Grabs Your Heartstrings

What made the experience of listening to The Education of Little Tree the most enjoyable?

Narrator was perfect. Made me feel that the story was narrated by a naïve young boy. Really personalized the story.

What did you like best about this story?

Drew me into this poignant story. Could not stop listening.

What about Johnny Heller’s performance did you like?

Accent was done extremely well. Made me believe that he identified with this very young orphaned Native American.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I cried for at least 15 minutes. Was a very good story that drew me right in, and because I felt connected to each of the major character, I personally felt their pain.

Any additional comments?

This story reminded me of the way I felt after watching "Ol' Yeller". I enjoyed the entire story, laughing out loud at times, but crying at the end when reality intrudes.

8 people found this helpful

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  • StevenJayCohen
  • 24-06-2014

Johnny Heller impresses!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Even if you have read this classic piece of Americana (whether or not you know its checkered past) you need to hear Johnny Heller read it to you. It is like discovering a lost treasure all over again.

What did you like best about this story?

Having read and taught this book numerous times, it was a rare treat to have Johnny Heller read it to me. His fresh, in the moment, subtle style does not disappoint.

What does Johnny Heller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Johnny Heller has a knack for getting inside the soul of young characters when he narrates a book. It's amazing really. A voice that on first blush seems better suited for Noir brings vivid detail to YA and Classic Children's Literature.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Talking with Grandma about her special place... I was there with them... just beautiful.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sharon Nordlinger
  • 24-06-2014

Gorgeous!

What did you love best about The Education of Little Tree?

This is a book for all ages and all time. It is a beautifully lyrical sensitive rendering of the native American experience and a young mans powerful and resilient journey. Johnny Heller gave a knock out narration/performance that is honest, jugular and nuanced.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Larry DuBoise
  • 21-01-2020

Tugs at the heart strings.

I have watched the movie and liked it. As always the book is so much better. The story always reminds me of my youngest son and his relationship with my mom and dad. My mom has past so now it’s just a boy and his grandpa. The story has always reminded of stories that my folks have told me of their growing up. I enjoyed the performance I felt it was spot on. It just a great story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cora
  • 17-12-2019

Little tree

This was such a beautiful book I hate it for it to end. The story of this little boy’s love for his grandparents we’re gone from him to early night. I would recommend this book to one and all young and old it was beautiful read it thank you to the author and the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • KKomments
  • 22-06-2014

A Beautiful Culture Through the Eyes of a Child

If you could sum up The Education of Little Tree in three words, what would they be?

Charming, Heartbreaking, Uplifting..

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Education of Little Tree?

The vivid descriptions of a simple life in the mountains and the daily life that Little Tree and his grandparents shared was genuinely touching and thought provoking. I loved the humorous episodes about the politicians and the whiskey runnin' business.. I loved the hound dogs.I especially loved Grandma's explanation of the "mind spirit" and "body spirit". I loved all of the moments with Willow John and Little Tree's grandparents. This book is not tragic or angry. It expresses with dignity and grace a culture "torn apart and scattered" that should never be forgotten.

What about Johnny Heller’s performance did you like?

I cannot imagine anyone better to portray this little boy than Johnny Heller. He told the story in a simple straight forward manner which meshed perfectly with the writing. I really felt as though I was living every moment through the eyes of a 5 year old child who was struggling to make sense of a world he was thrust into. I felt the discovery and genuine love and adoration that Little Tree had for his grandparents, the mountains and a way of life that because of it's simplicity and truth gave him a rich and satisfying life.

Any additional comments?

I listened a second time to several of these chapters because I was so moved by this story.I wish that this were on the reading/listening list in every school in America. There are lessons for ALL to take to heart here!

4 people found this helpful

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  • USMC 8152
  • 23-09-2019

Disappointing remake for likely political reasons

I've owned the original read of this book since 2012. After having complications listening to the original book, I contacted support to be told that, that version was no longer available so they deleted the original from my library and added this "new" version. Simply put... I HATE IT! The reader gets an Irish accent whenever reading the parts of Grandpa and Grandma who are supposed to be Cherokee. He sounds like he's 100 years old and doesn't come remotely close to the original reading!!! I will be looking to get a refund of this book now that for, most likely political correctness, they have removed the original and far better reading,.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jon David Schein
  • 24-11-2015

Excellent story for every American to read!

The narrator of the story colors the story with American Indian accents, which brings life to the characters. Powerfully moving passages about the coming of age of a young person in a rapidly changing world, complete with a removed and misdirected political force which threatens extinction of the very way of life for an entire people, whose culture lives as one with nature and whose religion can be described as spiritually tuned to the frequency of nature. Replete with social, religious, political ideals and challenges of the United States since its inception and even further since white man's first, drastic contrasting contact with the American Native peoples.
A beautiful eloquent story, it's as if Grandpa is re-educating the reader to know The Way.

3 people found this helpful

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  • 20eagle16
  • 27-04-2020

A Short But Sweet Story of a Boy and His Grandparents

The narration by Johnny Heller had a good combination of basic story telling without too much emotion for the sad parts, which I feel tends to make the listener take on the job of feeling the emotion of which is required of each listener in their own way. The story line is about a little boy whose parents have passed. It is decided that his grandfather (part Cherokee) and grandmother (full Cherokee) would raise him. They raised him to appreciate the ways of the mountain Cherokee. There is a brief period of time where the white man and the so-called good people of the church mandated that the boy, Little Tree, would have to go to an orphanage. Without going into details, that did not last for long. The main thing about this short book is that it tells of the love between a little boy and his grandparents and the education that he would receive from them as to how to survive in the world...and not the make believe world of Wall Street but the world in which you needed to know what to take and what to let go for another time or for another human being. I highly endorse this short but important book.

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  • Cheryl Zeyher
  • 23-02-2020

Lessons to Learn

Wonderful Book. So many observations and knowledge we have never learned or have forgotten. Such gentle ways and such good thinking. Especially with the political thinking as it is, and the" entitled mindset" many in our culture and the world possess, it is very good to be reminded of such natural and respectful ways and customs.

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  • Mr. L. Morris
  • 04-10-2018

One of the best books you'll ever read.

l love this book. I've read it numerous times in physical form and wanted to listen to it in the car. At first I wasn't sure I liked the narrator but he grew on me and I think he really added to the feel of the story. The story is about a young American Indian boy who's parents die so he is taken in by his grandparents. They live in the mountains and have a pagan understanding of nature which they pass on to Little Tree. It's a simple story told from the boys perspective and I can only describe it as magical. The writing is wonderful and simple but with a brilliant intelligence and emotion behind it. My barometer for all media is, how invested am I in the characters? In this book, totally. If you never read this book, you have left something out of your life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • danny english
  • 07-06-2016

Wisdom of the wilds!

A beautiful story with great threads of wisdom from a sadly forgotten people running throughout the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • michael
  • 02-06-2015

Not for children!

There are a lot of interesting lessons and points in this book. But there is a lot of cussing and the language used is old English-keep the young ones away.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. CULLEN
  • 11-09-2020

A “life” story.

I read this back in 1980. I’ve just finished listening to it. It’s funny how 40 years later the story remains the same. It’s touched me as deeply now as it did back then. I’ve laughed and cried. I’m a grandfather now, I’m sitting in a camper van, on my own, in the woods listening to the trees and waiting for my grandson. I’ve bought him the book. I’ll start reading it to him tonight.

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  • Stacey Loraine
  • 18-08-2020

Heart wrenching, heartwarming, expansive.

I was living abroad and I couldn’t get into this book when I tried to listen the first time. I’d first heard about Little Tree from my Norwegian friend. She was shocked I’d not read it, being American and from the south. Years later I came across it again as happens with a book you’re going to love. My sixty-something year old aunt passed me her old copy to read. It still took me some time to get past the first chapter, but I knew I would warm up to it. I normally only enjoy reading a book one time. When I read the last pages of this book I cried and immediately turned back to the start to read it again. I hoped I would find something I’d missed. I couldn’t believe it was over. It was too short, like the time Little Tree had with his parents, his friends Mr Wine and Willow John, and finally Granpa and Granma. I guess Little Tree made the most and the best of his rich experiences. Now I want to know more and I imagine I will research Forest Carter, and probably read his other books. I would love to read more books like this one, by Native Americans or other indigenous people. It’s so special to learn something about the natural world, that I missed due to my modern upbringing. This will definitely remain a favorite. I can listen to it again and again, and that says a lot.

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  • Mr. K. N. Dawson
  • 16-06-2020

Probably My Favourite Book.

I have read and listened to this book quite a few times over the years. It’s just a winner on all sorts of levels. You could pick holes in it I guess, but if you don’t you’ll be transported into a different time and be part of a different family. Just read it :-)