Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2010: Best Books Recommended for High School

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If I was starting a library in a high school, these are the first ten books I'd buy.  In reading these books, students would be reading stories Native writers create about Native people and places.  The books I list here include fiction, historical fiction, poetry, short stories, and, prose.

Update on Feb 24, 2018: I am doing a strike-thru on Alexie's book. Given the news reports about harassment, I no longer recommend his book. When news stories break, I will be back to post the links here.

  • Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • Broker, Ignatia. Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway Narrative
  • Carlson, Lori Marie (ed.). Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today
  • Deloria, Ella C. Waterlily
  • Kenny, Maurice (ed.). Stories for a Winter's Night: Fiction by Native American Writers
  • King, Thomas. One Good Story, That One
  • Ortiz, Simon J. Men on the Moon: Collected Short Stories
  • Tapahonso, Luci. Blue Horses Rush In: Poems and Stories
  • Taylor, Drew Hayden. The Night Wanderer
  • Van Camp, Richard. The Lesser Blessed

For annotations, see my Native Voices article in School Library Journal.

See also:
Top Ten Books for Middle School
Top Ten Books for Elementary School

Download a pdf with all three lists:
Selecting Children's and Young Adult Literature about American Indians


Jen said...

Thanks so much for this list!

I will be collecting these for my classroom library before the new school year starts (and reading them myself, of course!) I will try to get the librarians in my school & local public library to order them as well.

Mel said...

It looks like

# Taylor, Drew Hayden. The Night Wanderer

is missing from the SLJ article. I'm curious what you have to say about it.

Debbie Reese said...

Hi Mel,

I bought NIGHT WANDERER when I was at a Native writers conference in 2007 or thereabouts. I started reading it that evening and found myself pulled into the story very quickly. It was one of those where you're a bit hesitant to turn the light off and close your eyes. What's in the dark?

That said, it isn't a thriller, or a horror story.... It's a beautifully told story about an Ojibway man who, as Taylor says:

"350 years ago, made his way to Europe and was bitten by a vampire. He spent all those years wandering Europe, feeling homesick but unwilling to return as the monster he'd become. But finally, unable to stop himself, he makes his way back to where his village once was in Canada, and it's now a First Nations community. He takes up residency at a bed-and-breakfast, in the basement apartment. In that same house is a sixteen-year-old girl, Tiffany, who is having problems with her white boyfriend, father, and herself. Eventually, both their lives intertwine, and things happen!"

The quote is from an interview I posted here:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this list.

What would be the next ten or fifteen books you would recommend for the high school library?

Martha Dailey said...

Nice selections, Debbie! I'd have to put, "Fools Crow" by James Welch on my list somewhere. Along with Sherman Alexie, he's always been a favorite of mine.

Debbie Reese said...

Hi Martha,

Both of them are on my long list.

I hear Sherman will have a sequel to DIARY...

His tweet on being banned in Tucson is on my "Authors respond" page. Things seem more out of control there with each passing day. The TUSD admin and political machinery is scary.