Sees Behind Trees
By Michael Dorris
Published by Hyperion Books for Children
Copyright © 1996
Walnut is twelve years old. It is time for him to become a man in his tribe and to receive his adult name, but in order to do that he must be able to shoot an arrow at a piece of moss thrown through the air. The problem is that Walnut cannot see very well and no matter how hard he tries he cannot hit his target.
His mother tries to train him day after day how to shoot, but when she learns that he cannot see so well she simply teaches him to use his other senses, especially his ears, in order to see his surroundings in another way. When it comes time for the manhood tests the Weroancer institutes another test and Walnut receives his adult name – Sees Behind Trees.
With his new found abilities the Weroancer’s brother, Gray Fire, requests that he accompany him on a journey to find a place that has been hidden to him for years. Sees Behind Trees learns much on the way to this hidden place, but has he learned enough to make his disability his advantage. He will need all that he has learned to find his way home again.
Sees Behind Trees teaches readers that we are all good at something. Even those of us with disabilities, however minor or major, have other skills that are special. We can use our disadvantage to our advantage by learning to compensate for our inabilities, just like the main character does. Who knows we might even save ourselves and someone else.