Summer Slide Reading for Kids.

Six great books for kids to read over summer, when learning is definitely not on their minds. If you can request these books at your local library, that would be great because a lot of books by Native authors don’t make it in library reviews, and librarians can only respond to what readers want. If you want these, librarians will make the magic happen.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III

Joseph Marshall III’s In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse (Harry N. Abrams, 2015) has a lot going for it. First off, it’s set in the present day. The main character, Jimmy, is Lakota. But, he has blue eyes and light brown hair because his lineage includes people who aren’t Native. That means he gets teased for his looks. In steps his grandpa, who takes him on a road trip. As they drive, Jimmy learns about Crazy Horse, but he also learns that Native people have different names for places. One example is the Oregon Trail. Jimmy’s grandpa tells him that Native people call it Shell River Road. Marshall’s storytelling is vibrant and engaging, and the perfect tone for kids in middle school.

 

 

 

 

Arigon Starr’s “Super Indian” comics poke fun at many topics.You can’t miss with Arigon Starr’s Super Indian (Wacky Productions Unlimited) stories. She’s got the inside track on telling it like it is. Or, could be, if eating commodity cheese could give you super powers. In other words, every panel of Starr’s comics is a reflection of Native life, and she brilliantly pokes at the uber popular Twilight books and movies, and testy issues like blood quantum. There’s a ka-pow to this super power series (two volumes at this point) that will have you and your kids laughing out loud.

 

 

A Blanket of Butterflies by Richard Van Camp.Richard Van Camp’s A Blanket of Butterflies (HighWater Press, 2015) is riveting. This graphic novel opens with a boy who looks to be in his early teens, standing in front of a samurai suit of armor in a display case in his tribe’s museum. That suit is going to be returned to its original owner, but the sword is missing. That launches this fast-paced story in which Van Camp provides us with an opportunity to think about museums and who owns items in them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Books: Goodbye Victoria

WoLI recently read Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, and I’ll have more to say about it in a bit (I loved it). Now, I want to mention one thing that delighted me absolutely – the book is set a wee bit in the future, in 2025. I was downright grateful for that. As to why that was so delightful, it leads to rant about the love affair too many authors have with the Victorian era, whether they can honestly say their book is steampunk or not. And even if a book is steampunk, or has steampunk elements, that doesn’t mean it must be trapped in Victorian times. I’ve now read enough books set in Victorian London that it’s time to say Goodbye, Victoria. I just can’t take any more. Not only has Victorian London become a mostly snore-worthy bore, with some authors, it’s much worse than that.

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