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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…
Recent posts

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.


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…

HEARTS UNBROKEN, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Review by Alexis, 18

Yeah, there are spoilers. I read the book, and I want to talk about it!

I don't think there is anything wrong with older teens and 'new adults' reading books for babies, kids and younger teens. Many middle aged people read YA. I do think if you rarely saw yourself in books, TV, movies when you were growing up, you don't stop looking. At least, that's true for me. I want to promote #ownvoices Indigenous books to help younger kids, but I am still trying to help me too!

This book floored me. It. Knocked. Me. Out.

There are Native #ownvoices books that I love fiercely (like FATTY LEGS, A True Story, by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and THE MARROW THIEVES, by Cherie Dimaline.) Those aren't exactly my stories. But they are part of my heritage as an Indigenous young woman, a Seminole and American citizen. I find puzzle pieces or torn up parts of road maps in these books that help me find my way.

My life is not exactly like that of Louise Wolf, the…

HALL OF FAME # 4-- BLACK BEAR, RED FOX, Colors in Cree, by Julie Flett

Ashleigh, 13: This must be Julie Flett celebration day! I said in my part of the review for Traci Sorell's WE ARE GRATEFUL, Otsaliheliga, that I love bears. I especially love Black Bears. I respect their dark beauty and fierce power. There are 4.000 Black Bears in Florida today.

I also love Julie Flett's book, BLACK BEAR, RED FOX, Counting in Cree. I share it with my four year old sister, Violet. I show her the book, and she points out the colors and animals. Together, we say the words in Cree. If she gets excited and throws or bites it, it doesn't even hurt the book!

It is simple and beautiful. Just right to share with the young ones.
Shonabish, Julie Flett <3

PS My mother Roberta wants to add:

Vi has sensory processing issues. The fact that this book is not 'too busy' is comforting to her and she can easily absorb the information.

HALL OF FAME # 3-- WHEN WE WERE ALONE, By David Alexander Robertson, Illustrations by Julie Flett

We decided as a team that every time one of us (or a group of us) posts a review, that person is going to pick a Hall of Fame book, author or series. Although the reviews are one member's (or individuals in a group's) opinion/s, the Hall of Fame books have been unanimously voted as essential Native #ownvoices and kidlit & YALit classics.

Because three of us created the last review, we all had different ideas about which book should be chosen next. Eduardo decided to keep his choice for when he completes his review of Tim Tingle's WHEN A GHOST TALKS, LISTEN, A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story.

Alexis, 18: I am choosing WHEN WE WERE ALONE, by David Alexander Robertson, with illustrations by Julie Flett. I'm not sure why it immediately came to mind to pair with WE ARE GRATEFUL, Otsaliheliga, by Traci Sorell. Maybe it had something to do with the two girls in the fall leaves on the cover. Maybe because at this time of year, we honor our legacy of pain and destruction (even…