This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger is a coming of age novel that takes place in the early 1930’s Minnesota. The Lincoln School is a cruel institution filled with Native American children and a few orphans, ostensibly there to be educated. Four of the “students” escape in a canoe, headed for the Mississippi. Their odyssey is punctuated by meetings with helpful, ordinary people facing the hardships of the Depression. The children’s circumstances have made them older than their years. The strong sense of place and finely drawn characterizations will keep readers riveted.