From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–The young people's experiences in these 10 short stories will resonate with Native readers and inform and affect non-Natives as well. Joy Harjo writes about a boarding-school experience. Sherman Alexie talks about the slow painful separation and divorce of parents, and the needs of a boy to be seen/heard/taught by his father. Cynthia Leitich Smith shows an example of the everyday struggles Native people have with stereotypes, and the pain it causes on all sides. Richard Van Camp offers a glimpse into a life of addiction, loss, and the struggle to overcome poverty. Linda Hogan demonstrates the pride, generosity, and determination of an elder living on the reservation selling eggs and grain to make ends meet. Lee Francis shares a story of self-realization, oral tradition, and ways things are passed from one generation to the next. This distinguished anthology offers powerful, beautifully written stories that are thoughtful and important for teens to hear.–Marlette Grant-Jackson, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
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Gr. 8-11. Ten stirring contemporary short stories by Indian writers, including Linda Hogan, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Susan Power, show teens--lost, loving, funny, uncertain--coming of age on the reservation and in the city. Joseph Bruchac's Abenaki youth mocks the "noble" tourist stereotypes of beads and feathers; he is bitter because he is "a homegrown immigrant in his own land." Richard Van Camp tells of a high-school dope dealer who wants to be a teacher but messes up. In Joy Harjo's story, two girls at boarding school go wrong, but the principal helps them. Often tempering the harsh realism of poverty, drink, drugs, racism, and, sometimes, sexual abuse in the stories is often a grandmother, a source of hope--not perfectly wise, but a caring link with rich tradition. Resentful of patronizing charity as well as prejudice, these strong older women help move the characters toward a deep spiritual connection. Readers will welcome the change from generic reverential images of primitives stuck in the past. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved