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FRY BREAD, by Kevin Noble Maillard, Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal--a group review

There is no doubt about it--Native children's literature and  YA literature, fiction and nonfiction, is having a moment. Every time we turn around, there's another wonderful book at the library or the publication details are announced or there's an exciting blog or interview. Of course, we feel kinship with all Native books meant to lift us up, and give others authentic representation of every nation and culture. Some Indigenous authors are distant cousins--like Cynthia Leitich Smith, who is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and recognized this by including a Seminole character in RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME. But when we first heard about FRY BREAD and Kevin Noble Maillard, that was something else. When we discovered he is a member of the Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band and African American, that was something else altogether.


Ashleigh, 13: I keep reading this book, over and over. My mom has read it--by herself and then aloud to me and Vi, showing us the illustrations …
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THANKU, POEMS OF GRATITUDE, by many authors--a review by Ashleigh, 13

I like poetry. I was attracted to this book because of the beautiful cover. The outline of a girl of Color blowing a dandelion that releases the names of the poets in rainbow colors. Yes, illustrator Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota/Mohegan/Muscokee Creek) did beautiful work.

This book contains a diversity of poems and poets, some of them Native. The first poem, "Giving Thanks," by Joseph Bruchac, is dedicated to the memory of Chief Jake Swamp, whose book GIVING THANKS, A NATIVE GOOD MORNING PRAYER, is in most of our homes and some of our schools. It's a Reading Rainbow book. Bruchac offer a shorter version that begins: "Thanksgiving is more/ that just one day, so a Mohawk elder/ said to me."
  The back of the book includes part of the Bruchac poem--love that girl's hair!
Th@nksgiving is in the background of this book. The poems, edited by Miranda Paul, say thanku to things big and small without validating the anti-Indigenous US myth.
Carole Lindstrom (Ani…

SHOW ME A SIGN, by Ann Clare Le Zotte--a group review

Alexis, 19: I have a long-term relationship with this author. I was a volunteer and then intern at the library where she works. She introduced me to AICL and Debbie Reese. She helped raise funds to create a trust for Indigo (2002- 2018), and for my care in an ED clinic. She helps edit our blogs and is still a go-to for help and advice. I read part of a previous version of this book and offered specific corrections on the galleys, which Ms. Ann included. We will try to be neutral in this review as we were with Ms. Debbie and Ms. Jean's AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNTED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. Like that book, we are reviewing SHOW ME A SIGN not as a favor but because we feel it has value.


This book will not be published till March 3, 2020. We did a group read. This discussion includes few spoilers (none of the major plot twists) because we think it's necessary to evaluate the book.

Alexis, 19: There are a lot of books by White authors for young readers set in the…

I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE, by Christine Day--a review by Ashleigh, 13

This is the kind of book you can't put down. But you don't want to read it all at once either--because then it will be over! It's a novel I related to personally, and I think many readers will enjoy it, young and old.

The more I look at this cover by Michaela Goade--all the details--the more I love it!


The Upper Skagit author, Christine Day, has a "Dear Reader" note at the beginning of the ARC that is very heartfelt. She talks about being a graduate student and going on a trip "to visit a Suquamish Elder, the Suquamish Museum, and the historic site of Old Man House." She remembers the exact date--January 21. 2017--because it was the same day as the Women's March. She talks about seeing "Instagram flooded with pictures from the protests," while she ate breakfast and listened to professors.


pink hats

This is kind of a perfect image of a Native woman being connected to a White feminist movement while also being on her own, separate journey--wh…

ZIGGY, STARDUST & ME, by James Brandon--a review by Charlie, 17

This blog is for Indigo--thanks for mentoring me like a little bro. Miss you like a million--

I've done some hard reviews/essays. This may be the hardest. I'm not coming from a place of "I'm a critic and I want to cut this author." I'm not settling a score and I don't want to be unfair or hurt anyone. I'm being true to my just turned 17-Black Seminole-African American-pansexual-2SQ/Indigiqueer self. And others like me. That's all I can do.

My librarian texted me this article about ZIGGY, STARDUST AND ME author James Brandon and put the physical copy and eBook on hold for me. She wrote: "I am spotting some issues. You will see more. Read when you're ready, if at all." That was a good warning. But I am so hungry for Two-spirit relationship content in YA, I didn't take a minute.


When I picked up the book at the library, the first thing I did was read the back matter. Those are the author's notes at the back of the book. I never …