Please welcome Traci Sorell r today for our #ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2020 with the Children’s Book Council. Please welcome her list of Contemporary Native Books for Children and Teens published in 2019 that you may not have heard about yet.
We are also giving away a copy of each of her books, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, At the Mountain’s Base and Indian No More. To enter to win these 3 books, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
Contemporary Native Books for Children and Teens
The Powwow Thief (First in the Powwow Mysteries series from Reycraft Books) by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), illus. by Dale DeForest (Diné)
I like the hybrid structure of this mystery series that is part picture book, graphic novel, and chapter book. In this first 32 page book, we meet twins, Marie and Jamie Longbow, and their grandparents who sell items they make at powwows. The twins join them for the summer, traveling on the powwow circuit. When their grandmother’s prize necklace goes missing from the display case, the twins team up to figure out who took it. DeForest’s brightly colored illustrations and expressive characters keep young readers engaged with the story. [hybrid picture book/graphic novel/chapter book, ages 8 and up]
Johnny’s Pheasant (University of Minnesota Press) by Cheryl Minnema (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), illus. by Julie Flett (Cree/Métis)
This is another intergenerational story, featuring Johnny and his grandmother. As they return home from the market, Johnny spies a pheasant lying near the side of the road. He urges his grandmother to stop. After inspecting the pheasant, Johnny declares it is sleeping after they inspect its still-warm body but his grandmother thinks it’s ready to be part of her craftwork. She agrees to let Johnny bring it home and then hilarity ensues. Flett’s artwork adds warmth and connection between all three characters. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Case of Windy Lake (first in the Mighty Muskrats Mystery Series from Second Story Press) by Michael Hutchinson (Cree)
Having loved mysteries as a child and teen, I’m thrilled to see a contemporary one featuring four Native tween cousins dubbed the “Mighty Muskrats” living on a fictional First Nations reserve in Canada. The action starts right away when a visiting archaeologist hired by a mining company in the area goes missing. The cousins are on the case which gives them a firsthand look at conflicts in their community, between families, and concerns about the environment. I especially love the Native humor and the centrality of family relations in the story. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
Native American Leaders (Scholastic Book Club) by Dawn Quigley (Turtle Mountain Chippewa)
This nonfiction, middlegrade book introduces readers to eighteen Native American heroes with all but three of them born in the 20th century. This may not seem remarkable, but given most literature about Native people focuses on life pre-1900, believe me, it is. NASA astronaut John Herrington (Chickasaw), Olympic ice dancer Naomi Lang (Karuk), Indigenous chef Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota), and activist Charlene Teters (Spokane) are just a sample of the incredible people featured along with veteran authors Joseph Bruchac and Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee (Creek)).
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People (Beacon Press) Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza & Debbie Reese (Nambé Owingeh).
This nonfiction book takes the adult version and adapts it for teens, providing a general historical overview missing from today’s textbooks. It centers the experience of Native Nations through the colonization experience. Seventy pages of the book focus on Native history post-1900 which isn’t covered in most classrooms. It’s a useful resource for teachers and librarians as much as for students. [young adult, ages 12 and up]
Traci Sorell Three Book Giveaway!
We are giving away a copy of each of Traci’s books – We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, At the Mountain’s Base, and Indian No More. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.
Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction books as well as poems for children. Her debut nonfiction picture book We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, illustrated by Frané Lessac, won an Orbis Pictus Honor, a Sibert Honor, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor and received four starred reviews.
Last fall, Traci’s two most recent books came out and both have received multiple starred reviews. Kokila Books published Traci’s lyrical story in verse, At the Mountain’s Base, illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre, and Tu Books released Indian No More, a historical fiction middle grade novel that she co-authored with the late Charlene Willing McManis.
A former federal Indian law attorney and policy advocate, Traci is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma where her tribe is located.