O’siyo. In the past we’ve posted about children’s literature. Now it’s time to review Native books in the young adult category. Here are some great reads selected for The American Indian Youth Literature Awards for 2014.
Excerpt: Sci-Fi, Mysticism and Tragedy Indian Youth Literature Awards…ICTMN
“Mysticism, science fiction and tragedy mark the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards from the American Indian Library Association, with Tomson Highway, Joseph Bruchac and Tim Tingle all winning honors this year. The American Indian Youth Literature Awards, presented every other year, seek “to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians,” the library association said in a media release. “Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.”
Caribou Song, Atihko Oonagamoon, written by Tomson Highway and illustrated by John Rombough (Fifth House, 2012) won for best picture book;
“Joe and Cody are young Cree brothers who follow the caribou all year long, tucked into their dog sled with Mama and Papa. To entice the wandering caribou, Joe plays his accordion and Cody dances. They are so involved with their dancing and music that they don’t hear the roaring of the approaching herd of caribou. Bursting upon the boys, ten thousand animals fill the meadow. Joe is surrounded and can barely see Cody a short distance away. And neither of the boys can see their parents. And yet what should be a moment of terror turns into something mystical and magical, as the boys open their arms and their hearts to embrace the caribou spirit.”
Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story (The Roadrunner Press, 2013) won in the Middle School category, and Bruchac’s graphic novel Killer of Enemies (Tu Books, 2013) received the Young Adult award.
“How I Became a Ghost is a tragic tale that gives life to Choctaw walking the Trail of Tears, and then takes it away. Its protagonist is Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the long walk.”
Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner, also by Tingle (7th Generation, 2013) was noted in the Middle School category.
“Danny Blackgoat is a teenager in Navajo country when soldiers burn down his home, kill his sheep and capture his family. During the Long Walk of 1864, Danny is labeled a troublemaker and given the name Fire Eye. Refusing to accept captivity, he is sent to Fort Davis, Texas, a Civil War prisoner outpost. There he battles bullying fellow prisoners, rattlesnakes and abusive soldiers until he meets Jim Davis. Jim teaches Danny how to hold his anger and starts him on the road to literacy. In a stunning climax, Jim–who builds coffins for the dead–aids Danny in a daring and dangerous escape. Set in troubled times, “Danny Blackgoat” is the story of one boy’s hunger to be free “and” be Navajo.” Goodreads.
If I Ever Get Out of Here, by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levin Books, 2013), was highlighted in the Young Adult category.
“Lewis “Shoe” Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he’s not used to is white people being nice to him — people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family’s poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan’s side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis’s home — will he still be his friend?” Goodreads.
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
“Killer of Enemies is a graphic sci-fi novel set in a future in which technology has stopped working, plunging the world back into a new steam age. A 17-year-old girl, Lozen, finds herself a hero.”
Kudos to the gifted writers, the American Indian Library Association, and to all of the wonderful people who support and encourage reading.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~Charles William Eliot~