I was pleased to see more about the project in "The Answer Sheet" --- a blog in the Education section of the Washington Post. Blasingame was their guest blogger. His wide ranging "An unusual introduction to Native American YA lit" touches on the writing of Joseph Bruchac and Sherman Alexie.
In his post, Jim points to one of his articles published in the Winter 2008 volume of The ALAN Review. Titled "From Wellpinit to Reardan: Sherman Alexie's Journey to the National Book Award, the article includes a lot of extensive quotes from Alexie. Here's one:
I have a vivid memory of when I was six years old and pulled The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, off the shelf in the elementary school library. On the cover was a dark boy in a red coat out in the snow. I instantly figured he was Indian, he wasn't, but I thought he was. I connected to that main character almost instantly in a lot of ways.Alexie won the National Book Award for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. There's a lot in the book that I really like because I connect with the character, the setting, the experiences... It is real and brutally honest. In one sense, I find it a bit too real, and I wonder if it didn't need to be quite that way... I'm thinking of his character's use of "faggot." I hear kids back home at Nambe toss that word around and I look at the young boys and wonder how that feels to those who may be gay?
Anyway, I am glad to learn that Alexie identified with the little boy in The Snowy Day and that he shared that memory with Jim. At the start of each semester, I ask students to bring in a book they remember. Tomorrow, I'll let them know about Alexie and his memory of The Snowy Day.