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AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese--a group review

We sat together and read this as a group. Alexis, 19 and Charlie, 16 took turns reading it out loud. Ashleigh, 13 and Michael, 17 listened and we all stopped to go over things. We rarely agree on everything, but all voices were heard and respected.


Ashleigh: When I first picked up the book, I didn't know what I was looking at. Then I realized that the words "An Indigenous Peoples'" are over the sky and "History of the United States" are over the land that has the American flag spray painted on it or creeping on it like a shadow.
Alexis: It's striking! Of course, it's the same cover as the previous adult version by Roxanne Dunbar Ortz, which it should be said none of us have read.

Charlie: This version is much more friendly for us--I mean, it was written for our ages.

Alexis: Yes! Where do you think the book would start in history? I had an interesting reaction to that.

Ashleigh: Yeah, we talked about that. How many of us just assumed it would sta…
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HALL OF FAME # 8-- THE CREATOR'S GAME: A STORY OF BAAGA'ADOWE/LACROSSE, by Art Coulson, Review by Michael, 17

Usually, when a teacher or librarian knows you like sports and they are trying to encourage you to read, they'll suggest books by Matt Christopher. Not until I looked him up did I realize the man had been dead for years and "the family continues to oversee productions of books by Matt Christopher created by various writers and illustrators, treating the name as a trademark." To be honest (no shade) that's how the books read.

That's why it was amazing when I came across Art Coulson's (Cherokee) great book, THE CREATOR'S GAME: A STORY OF BAAGA'ADOWE/LACROSSE!


Another subject I like to read is relationships between generations of Indigenous men. There aren't too many books like that. (I picked a very different one, HIDDEN ROOTS, by Joseph Bruchac for the HALL OF FAME before.) Of course, I'm glad to see a mom and grandma in this story too. Sixth grader Travis plays lacrosse, but he's not very good at it and he hates to practice and look like…

HALL OF FAME # 7-- THE GOOD LUCK CAT, by Joy Harjo, Review by Alexis, 19

I have a cat, a stripedy cat with tickling whiskers and green electric eyes. She has the softest fur in the world. When I pet her she purrs as if she has a drum near her heart. Recently, my mom bought me a big stack of library books while I was in a treatment center. Current U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's only picture book, THE GOOD LUCK CAT, was among them. It is a first edition from 2000, the year I was born. Mom said, "I don't know why I never knew about this book before. I wish we had it when you were young." There is only one copy in our Library system--I am glad they don't just weed OOP books. But this book should be available to everyone. So I'm joining Dr. Debbie Reese in calling for #BringBackTheGoodLuckCatByJoyHarjo


Now about the book and the cat. The cat's name is Woogie (a good name) and she gets in all kinds of scraps. She accidentally gets tumbled in the clothes dryer, a big, mean dog chases her and she has to have stitches. Boys shoot her …

INDIAN NO MORE, by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell: a Review by Ashleigh, 13

INDIAN NO MORE, by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell is one of the best books I've ever read. Thank you to Tu Books and Stacy L. Whitman for sending @ofglades the uncorrected proof to review. At first, I was sorry it wasn't an audio book, because it is sometimes easier for me to listen to books. But just after reading the first chapter, "The Walking Dead"--SNAP!, the voice of ten year-old Regina Petit was in my head. It stayed there till the last page, and it's still talking to me now.



Regina says, "My family was Umpqua. I was Umpqua. That's just how it was." But it gets messy fast. She has always lived on the Grand Ronde reservation, thirty miles from Salem, Oregon, but Congress passes a bill that says that the Umpqua (and other tribes in Oregon) have been terminated. Regina's grandmother Chich tells her, "The President has just signed the bill from Congress saying that we're no longer Indian."

But before that we are trea…

Native, Black & Rock & Roll: Histories by Jonah Winter & Robbie Robertson, by Charlie, Age 16

In March 2017, Dr. Debbie Reese first wrote about THE SECRET PROJECT, a nonfiction book for kids written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. This is how she found out about the book and her personal interest:

I was going into my "Debbie--Have you seen series" but when I looked it up, I got a copy right away. Why? Because it has several starred reviews, and because its setting is so close to Nambe Pueblo (my tribal nation and where I grew up is about 30 miles away.)
In her long, excellent thread, Dr. Reese critiques the book for erasing Native people: a "desert mountain landscape" where "nobody knows they are there." They are the scientists of the Manhattan Project. Winter writes about "the faraway nearby," which doesn't sound like nonfiction to me. Using this, he can pull into his story people at a great distance. Like this one:


Dr. Reese writes: "Hopi? That's over three hundred miles away in Arizona."  Where ar…

Children of the First People: a discussion between Michael, 17 and Eduardo, 20

Eduardo: You saw this book in the library last week.



Michael: Yah, I was excited because it was on the new kid's books cart near the front desk. The library has been buying a bunch of Native books for all ages with the *Friends of Indigo* donations. I think they're trying to get good books and it's so much better in the past year or two.

Eduardo: Were you excited about the book?

Michael: I was! Because it said Fresh Voices of Alaska's Native Kids. I flipped through it and saw photos of diverse Alaska Native kids who enjoy all kinds of things.

Eduardo: Did you look to see who edited the book?

Michael: Nah, not right away. I know we're like the Debbie Reese Clue Crew, but I was kind of pulled in by the shiny photos of Indigenous kids.

Eduardo: The "profiles" are by Tricia Brown. The back matter states "her writing is inspired by Alaska, reflected in nearly thirty titles on Native cultures, dog mushing, Last Frontier living, reference and travel."…

Echoes and Wolves: The Imagination of Katherena Vermette, by Alexis, 19

I have been going through a bad time, and looking for (any)things I can connect with. I have piles of library books next to my bed, and I picked up two this afternoon that I had looked at when I first checked them out, but didn't really get into. Something told me to hold on to them rather than quickly returning them. I'm glad I did.

I became aware of Katherena Vermette, a Metis writer from Treaty One territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, when Debbie Reese first wrote about her graphic novel series, A Girl Called Echo. I totally related to the first volume, Pemmican Wars, which my library purchased with *Friends of Indigo* funds. I am a Florida Seminole citizen, so this isn't my Indigenous history. Unlike Echo, I have a really close relationship with my mom, Gail. But Echo's story drew me in. Vermette's imagination sparked my imagination. Here's my review of Volume 1. I couldn't wait for Volume 2 to be released.



A Girl Called Echo, Volume 2: Red River Resi…