Friday, June 08, 2007
Sherman Alexie's blog
Sherman Alexie, author of a terrific YA book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, has been writing outstanding fiction for many years, for the grown-ups. Most people would not use his books with teens, but you and should decide for yourself, based on the guidelines of your particular school. (Americans are an odd bunch. Glorify violence. Fear sex.) Do get True Diary for your library. Add it to required reading lists. It is one of my favorite books for young adults.
Alexie is a very engaging speaker, too. Quite funny. Nothing sacred. I've seen him do Bush's swagger, and he did a hilarious "why do you want to use us as mascots?!!! We LOST. YOU BEAT US."
In addition to True Diary, he's got another book out that he's promoting. It's called Flight. He's keeping a blog as he's out on the book tour. Take a look. It's laugh-out-loud reading.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Conversations about those "bookshelfs" continue. Below is a post written by Professor Jean Mendoza, a colleague and friend with whom I celebrate and commiserate about life and books. Jean's post was part of conversation taking place recently on the CCBC-NET listserv. I share it here with her permission.
Oh, goodness, this mention of "We, the People" touches a nerve.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
“You might see yellow knots on a floating backwater log,” Tingle cautions. “Better not reach for it, it might have teeth. Maybe it looks like a pile of leaves lying on the ground. Better not step on it, it might have fangs. Maybe it seems like a bunch of moss hanging from a tree limb. Better not touch it, it might have claws.” It might be Naloosa Falaya.
In Spirits Dark and Light, Tingle seamlessly weaves elements from traditional stories of the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole peoples into tellings that are eerie, gruesome, frightening, poignant—and just plain satisfying. In these stories in which the world of the spirits and the natural world come together, terrible witches and conjurers stalk the careless, the dead offer advice to the living, greed is properly punished, and heroism takes many forms.
Sometimes lessons are directly stated; sometimes they are inferred; sometimes a reader will have to look pretty hard to find them. And sometimes, as Tingle tells the reader, there may not be any. “Now I am not claiming this tale to have any moral attached to it,” he says. “But if it did, it might be this: if you pull a sticker burr out of your foot, a hard sticker burr that hurts bad, once you get that sticker burr out, don’t turn right around and poke it back in.”
Tingle is a master storyteller; his flow and timing are superb. Young readers will feel like he’s talking directly to them. The stories in Spirits Dark and Light are wonderful for reading aloud at a campfire or in a darkened room.—Beverly Slapin
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Elizabeth Anne Reese
My daughter graduated from high school on Saturday. After receiving her diploma, my parents and nephews honored her with a Pendleton shawl. Beneath her graduation gown she wore her black manta and moccasins. With her tassel is an eagle feather. I am very proud of her and the work she's done as a young woman, trying to effect change at Uni High with respect to the recruitment and retention of Native, Latino/a, and African American students. She encountered a great deal of resistance from fellow students and their families. Some of that resistance was mean spirited and outright racist, but she kept her dignity throughout the year. She is an amazing Native woman.
(Note: Yun Povi is her Tewa name. Tewa is the language we speak at Nambe. Yun Povi means Willow Flower.)