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  • A Coyote Solstice Tale

    By: Thomas King
    Recommended for grade(s): 3

    Trickster Coyote is having his friends over for a festive solstice get-together in the woods when a little girl comes by unexpectedly. She leads the party-goers through the snowy woods to a shopping mall — a place they have never seen before. Coyote gleefully shops with abandon, only to discover that filling your shopping cart with goodies is not quite the same thing as actually paying for them. The trickster is tricked and goes back to his cabin in the woods — somewhat subdued — though nothing can keep Coyote down for long. American Indian Youth Literature Award. –From Groundwood Books

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  • Hero of Hawaii (Calvin Coconut)

    By: Graham Salisbury
    Recommended for grade(s): 3, 4

    Hawaii boy Calvin Coconut has come up with the best idea ever for his sister Darci’s birthday party. But a huge tropical storm hits the islands and threatens everything. It rains and rains. And rains. The river next to Calvin’s house rises high. When Calvin’s friend Willy falls into the raging water, Calvin grabs his skiff to save him. As Willy is swept into the bay, Calvin struggles in the wild waves. What happens next shows Calvin what heroes are made of. –From the website at Penguin Random House

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  • Reservation Blues

    By: Sherman Alexie
    Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12, College Plus

    One day legendary bluesman Robert Johnson appears on the Spokane Indian reservation, in flight from the devil and presumed long dead. When he passes his enchanted instrument to Thomas-Builds-the-Fire—storyteller, misfit, and musician—a magical odyssey begins that will take them from reservation bars to small-town taverns, from the cement trails of Seattle to the concrete canyons of Manhattan. This is a fresh, luxuriantly comic tale of power, tragedy, and redemption among contemporary Native Americans. —Grove/Atlantic

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  • Ten Little Indians

    By: Sherman Alexie
    Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12, College Plus

    Nine poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heartrending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love. In Alexie’s first story, “The Search Engine,” Corliss is a rugged and resourceful student who finds in books the magic she was denied while growing up poor. When she discovers the poetry of a fellow Native who vanished thirty years earlier after winning the Pulitzer Prize, she makes it her mission to find him. Although he does not prove to be the man Corliss needs him to be, his devastating story will help her in her own struggle to belong. In “The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above,” an intellectual feminist Spokane Indian woman saves the lives of dozens of white women all around her, to the bewilderment of her only child, now a grown man who looks back at his life with equal parts fondness, amusement, and regret. In “Do You Know Where I Am?” two college sweethearts rescue a lost cat—a simple act that has profound moral consequences for the rest of their lives together. In “What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” a homeless Indian man must raise $1,000 in twenty-four hours to buy back the fancy dance outfit stolen from his grandmother fifty years earlier. Even as they often make us laugh, Sherman Alexie’s stories are driven by a haunting lyricism and naked candor that cut to the heart of the human ex...

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 8, 9

    Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. Winner of the National Book Award.  Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. —from the website at Hachette

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12

    Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian–White relations in North America since initial contact. Both timeless and timely, The Inconvenient Indian ultimately rejects the pessimism and cynicism with which Natives and Whites regard one another to chart a new and just way forward for Indians and non-Indians alike. No writer is better positioned than Thomas King to tell a richly Native history that reveals the common threads weaving North American patterns across the boundary line between Canada and the United States. The Inconvenient Indian sweeps up popular culture, law and policy, and the complexities of resistance and reinvention, framing all the tough issues through King’s powerful storytelling and penetrating eye. –From the University of Minnesota Press

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  • Recommended for grade(s): 11, 12, College Plus

    Vividly weaving memory, fantasy, and stark reality to paint a portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian reservation, this book introduces some of Alexie’s most beloved characters who inhabit his distinctive landscape. There is Thomas Builds-the-Fire, the storyteller who no one seems to listen to, and his compatriot—and sometimes not-so-great friend—Victor, the basketball hero who turned into a recovering alcoholic. Now with two new stories and an introduction from Alexie, these twenty-four interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet filled with passion and affection, myth and charm. Against a backdrop of alcohol, car accidents, laughter, and basketball, Alexie depicts the distances between Indians and whites, reservation Indians and urban Indians, men and women, and most poetically, modern Indians and the traditions of the past. —Grove/Atlantic

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  • Trouble Magnet (Calvin Coconut #1)

    By: Graham Salisbury
    Recommended for grade(s): 3, 4

    A humorous chapter book about a fourth-grade boy, full of the fun of growing up in Hawaii. Calvin Coconut lives near the beach in Kailua, Hawaii, with his mom and his little sister. All his friends live there, too. Mom says: “You’re the man of the house, Cal.” Which means: Be responsible. Calvin tries, but fun—and trouble—follows him wherever he goes, even in the classroom, also known as Mr. Purdy’s Fourth-Grade Boot Camp. And how can he be the man of the house after teenage Stella-from-Texas arrives to be the live-in babysitter and steps all over Calvin’s turf? –From the website at Penguin Random House

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  • War Dances

    By: Sherman Alexie
    Recommended for grade(s): 11, 12, College Plus

    A virtuoso collection of tender, witty, and soulful stories that expertly capture modern relationships from the most diverse angles.War Dances brims with Alexie’s poetic and revolutionary prose, and reminds us once again why he ranks as one of our country’s finest writers. With bright insight into the minds of artists, entrepreneurs, fathers, husbands, and sons, Alexie populates his stories with average men on the brink of exceptional change: In the title story, a son recalls his father’s “natural Indian death” from alcohol and diabetes, just as he learns that he himself may have a brain tumor; “The Ballad of Paul Nonetheless,” dissects a vintage clothing store owner’s failing marriage and courtship of a Puma-clad stranger in airports across the country; and “Breaking and Entering” recounts a film editor’s fateful confrontation with a thieving adolescent. Brazen and wise War Dances takes us to the heart of what it means to be human. The new beginnings, successes, mistakes, and regrets that make up our daily lives are laid bare in this wide-ranging new work that is quintessential. — From Grove Press

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