Reader’s Blog is choosing to honor National American Indian Heritage Month by featuring novels written by American Indian authors. For information about this important heritage month visit the National American Indian Heritage Month website. Also check out the display of items at the front of the library!
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Winner of the National Book Award, this young adult novel will appeal to readers of all ages. Alexie bases this incredibly funny and heartbreaking story of Junior on his own upbringing on the Spokane Reservation in Washington State. “Fourteen-year-old Junior is a cartoonist and bookworm with a violent but protective best friend Rowdy. Soon after they start freshman year, Junior boldly transfers from a school on the Spokane reservation to one in a tiny white town 22 miles away. Despite his parents’ frequent lack of gas money (they’re a “poor-ass family”), racism at school and many crushing deaths at home, he manages the year. Rowdy rejects him, feeling betrayed, and their competing basketball teams take on mammoth symbolic proportions. The reservation’s poverty and desolate alcoholism offer early mortality and broken dreams, but Junior’s knowledge that he must leave is rooted in love and respect for his family and the Spokane tribe.” (From Kirkus).
Power by Linda Hogan
Hogan, who is absolutely magnificent in one radiantly dramatic scene after another, compels us to consider all the forms power takes and how foolishly we abuse it. When sixteen-year-old Omishto, a member of the Taiga Tribe, witnesses her Aunt Ama kill a panther-an animal considered to be a sacred ancestor of the Taiga people-she is suddenly torn between her loyalties to her Westernized mother, who wants her to reject the ways of the tribe, and to Ama and her traditional people, for whom the killing of the panther takes on grave importance.
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
Called a novel, Erdrich’s book of powerful stories interlocks the lives of two Chippewa families in North Dakota, the Kashpaws and the Lamartines (though some are Morrisseys too, and Nanapushes)–a tribal chronicle of defeat that ranges from 1934 to the present, Illegitimacy, alcoholism, prison, and aborted dreams of something better mark both clans. This web of stories keeps its theme vividly in focus: the magical haunting that reminds the various generations of the families of their basic identity. And, whether the haunting comes in the form of nightmares or supernatural powers, Erdrich convinces us that these people, sunk as low as imaginable, retain powers, the “love medicine” of the title. (From Novelist).
<Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle’s mother leaves home suddenly on a spiritual quest, vowing to return, but can’t keep her promise. The girl and her father leave their farm in Kentucky and move to Ohio, where Sal meets Phoebe Winterbottom, also 13. While Sal accompanies her eccentric grandparents on a six-day drive to Idaho to retrace her mother’s route, she entertains them with the tale of Phoebe, whose mother has also left home. In her own award-winning style, Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion. (From School Library Journal)