November is American Indian Heritage Month. Today we are looking at books written by, or about, Native Americans.
Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Six months after her best friend and love interest is killed in a car accident, Rain is ready to reenter the world. Funding for her aunt's Indian Camp has become a politically divisive issue, and Rain volunteers to photograph the campers for the local newspaper.
Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me by Lurline Wailana McGregor. After her father dies, Moana returns home to Hawaii and discovers her father's secret. Suddenly, she is forced to question her life in California and her identity. An adult book, mature teens will enjoy this one.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich. When Joe's mother is brutally attacked on the reservation, the family is shattered. Joe and his friends search for answers when the official investigation takes too long.
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac. The Ones were augmented with technology and everyone who wasn't a One, served them. Then the cloud came and technology stopped working. The Ones kept monsters as pets, and with the cloud, they turned on people. Apache hunter Lozen's family has been kidnapped-- she buys their safety by hunting these monsters for the Ones that survived.
My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson. Luke and his younger brother, Bunna and Isaac leave their Inupiaq village to go to Sacred Heart boarding school. Told in multiple voices of the brothers and some of the other students we see four years of life in the school.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. In this hilarious and heart-breaking story, Junior decides to leave his school on the rez and go to the school in town. He doesn't fit in at his all-white school, and leaving the rez during the day means he doesn't fit in there anymore, either.
The Real All Americans by Sally Jenkins. Jenkins gives us the story of football's early days and the development of the game at the college level by focusing on the team at the Carlisle Indian School-- the team that gave us legendary figures like Jim Thorpe and Glenn "Pop" Warner. More than football, it's also a look at the troubling history of the Indian school system and attempts at forced "Americanization." Published for adults, teens will enjoy reading this title, especially the crazy antics of early football games and stories of the beginnings of what are now basic moves-- like a tight spiral.
Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion by Samantha Seiple. On June 7, 1942, Japan invaded Alaska. On June 10, 1942, the U.S. Navy denied that it happened. This terrifying book looks at a little known story of when Japan invaded the Aleutian islands and took many local villagers as POWs. The American Army then took the remaining Native residents to an internment camp "for their protection."
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown. This history of Westward Expansion is told from the side of the people's who were already living there. Each chapter focuses on another tribe as it moves through time.
What are your must reads by or about Native Americans?
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