This is one of a series of short (around seventy pages), illustrated, "American Girls" books which tell stories of pioneer girls, American Indian girls, Victorian girls, and so on. In this case we're with Kaya, a Nez Perce (Nimiipuu) girl living in the American West in 1764. Kaya has several stories of her own, told in different volumes. This one has illustrations by Bill Farnsworth, and vignettes by Susan McAliley.
I think Kaya (full name Kaya'aton'my, short version pronounced Ky-YAAH) is a great role model for young girls who are struggling with the same kinds of issues she has, and let's face it, coming of age stories don't vary all that much (in very general terms), no matter which century you're in. Kaya is feisty, and a bit proud and boastful, but she's still finding her way in her world - a world which has not yet been ruined by predatory easterners plowing through everything which lay before them on their destructive trail westwards.
Kaya is proud of her horse and likes to run it, but when accepting a challenge from the boys in her band, she almost ends up injured and is censured for it. However, she recovers well at a later time when a friend's life is at stake. The story is realistic and fun. I don't buy into this "noble savage" mythology, or believe that American Indians of yesteryear lived in close harmony with nature, or expertly managed the land, or had any particular affinity with it. The truth is that they exploited it just as much as we do. The only difference is that their numbers were so small that they didn't over-exploit it as we do.
That said, this story presents Kaya and her people in a realistic light and tells a harmonic tale. The fiction is supplemented at the back with about eight pages of photographs and text discussing Nez Perce history and culture, and their modern world. All in all it's a great book, and I think I'm going to keep my eye open for others in this entertaining and educational series.