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A GIRL CALLED ECHO, by Katherena Vermette, review by Alexis, 18

A GIRL CALLED ECHO is the first graphic novel in the series A Girl Called Echo. Echo Desjardins is a thirteen-year-old Metis girl in Manitoba adjusting to a new home and school. The lessons in her history class about the Pemmican Wars literally transport Echo back to those times. She visits a Metis hunting camp where she befriends a girl named Marie, follows fur-trade routes and witnesses he conflicts and resilience of her ancestors.



I love this book. The words and images are perfectly matched. Echo is, like all Native/First Nations teens, a contemporary girl and also an echo of all the generations that have come before. Here are some special moments. When Echo first meets Marie, there is a great two-page spread of Marie showing her around, the two of them bonding, until they are lying under the stars side by side. I love seeing Echo in the library, browsing the graphic novels. I like seeing her playlists (Red Hot Chili Peppers!) There is one page that goes through her school day, e…
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For Your Consideration, Part 2, by Alexis, 18

Now that I am working in a library as Page and talking to librarians and following Native and kidlit Twitter, I am also looking at "mock" award blogs for ALA 2019.

A little while back, SLJ's HEAVY MEDAL: A Mock Newbery Blog had what I thought was a very ugly review of Jewell Parker Rhodes' GHOST BOYS. I did meet Ms. Rhodes when she visited our library and schools. She was nice. I have read books by her, like SUGAR, which I liked. I have not read the one being discussed. I haven't looked for other criticisms of the book. Even the blog title made me grit my teeth. "Powerful, Gripping, Important, Timely--but is it distinguished?"
To me, "distinguished' is a word like 'articulate." It's coded White people talk for something IPOC don't have and have to work harder to achieve. Something we're not expected to innately have or be. So I pricked up my ears. Reading the comments was even worse. 
I don't want to discuss it all here…

HALL OF FAME # 6-- WHEN TURTLE GREW FEATHERS, by Tim Tingle, Review by Alexis, 18

After writing the last blog, Michael is reflecting, healing and taking a step back. He asked me to do the next Hall of Fame pick. As we've stated before, individual reviews are the opinion of one reviewer, but we unanimously vote for HOF titles.

Eduardo, almost 19!, is taking forever finishing his review of WHEN A GHOST TALKS, LISTEN: A CHOCTAW TRAIL OF TEARS STORY. I know how hard it is when you want to get a review just right and are also worrying about how it will be received.

To Eduardo, Tim Tingle is the GOAT, plain and simple. And, come on, we all love and respect him and his work. We almost feel we know him. The storyteller who gathers the kids round when the parents are trying to shoo them off to bed. And he always captures their imaginations and sets their dreams spinning. He also has a spark of genius.

WHEN TURTLES GREW FEATHERS: A FOLKTALE FROM THE CHOCTAW NATION is sitting in the woven basket next to my bed where I keep all my library books. My mom read it to me, I'…

Arnold Spirit, Jr., Mason Buttle, Shane Burcaw and Me, by Michael, Age 17

This is going to be a controversial post for some people, because I'm going to explain why I can't let go of Sherman Alexie's THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN.


I'm not defending Alexie for the horrible charges against him by Native women, who have my total support. I know that members of @ofglades and Indigo's Bookshelf cannot separate Alexie from his work. I respect that. Most of his books I can leave behind.

But as a Native crip, Arnold Spirit, Jr. became the most important character I ever read (actually, I listened to the audiobook). There is no other like him.

Sherman Alexie was born with hydrocephalus. That's one of those disabilities where people talk "quality of life." He had brain surgery at six months old and still has some side effects, like reduced vision and stuttering. As a kid, Alexie had seizures and bedwetting. He was bullied with ableist slurs because of his large head. He couldn't participate in a lot of "no…

Remembering Indigo: Are we honoring our promises?

But where are the Indigenous Q2S?


There ought to be Indigenous Q2S


Well, maybe next year


Those are revised lines from a song my cousin Maddie sang for a concert. "The writer was gay," she told me. "IS gay," I said. "And, so what?" She sneered, which is not unusual.
The vow we made when Indie died was to fight queerphobia is every form, and to promote Q2S voices. In this, we have failed.
Looking at AICL's great "Best of 2018" list, I am struck by the cishet-ness of it all. Except for Joshua Whitehead's JONNY APPLESEED. No shade on AICL. That's what was published. And I am especially struck by the cishet-ness of this blog and our @ofglades Twitter.
Though Twitter has been the best teacher. We are ALWAYS learning from Daniel Heath Justice and Laura Jimenez. We are learning from Alex Gino and Kyle Lukoff. We are learning from Kheryn Callender.
It is actually Kheryn's YA novel THIS IS KIND OF AN EPIC LOVE STORY that made me step back and t…

THE List--AICL's "Best Books of 2018"

This is the BEST "Best of..." list.



It's the one everyone should follow and make sure they have these books in their collections. (Check the lists from other years too!) These books are honestly vetted. We appreciate that this list is still not complete. We are still catching up on our 2018 reading and reviewing too!

We greatly honor each book and author listed. Thank you for your work on behalf of Native youth. Your work means we are not invisible and our lives have value. Our stories deserve to be told, and enrich all readers, in different formats and genres.

SHONABISH!

HALL OF FAME # 5-- JINGLE DANCER and INDIAN SHOES, by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Ashleigh, 13: After Alexis' review of HEARTS UNBROKEN, we decided there were so many books by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee (Creek) Nation) that we want to honor. This is my favorite! After she watches a video of her Grandma Wolfe jingle dancing, a girl Jenna wants to dance at an upcoming powwow. But she needs jingles for her dress. Jenna visits her neighbors and family who loan her jingles for the dress. She is careful not to take too many, so that another person's dress won't "lose its voice." This book looks and sounds like our real lives, the way we keep traditions in today's world. I wrap my arms around it and squeeze it to my heart.

Charlie, 16: INDIAN SHOES is a great book about a boy named Ray and his Grampa Halfmoon. I like to see a book about a loving relationship between generations of Native men. In this book, there are different stories about them. I have two favorites. "Night Fishing." where the boy and his grandfather spend quality…