Contemporary
Native American Indian
Children's & YA Novels

EAGLE SONG by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) with pictures by Dan Andreasen (Dial, 1997). Danny Bigtree encounters racism when he moves from the Mohawk reservation to the city. However, Danny is inspired by the Iroquois hero Aionwahta and by his own father to choose peace. Ages 8-up.

THE HEART OF A CHIEF by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki)(Dial, 1998). Chris is an eleven year old Penacook (Abenaki) boy, living on a fictional reservation in New Hampshire. He is facing a new school, a possible new casino on a tribal island as well as his father's alcoholism and the issue of Indian sports mascots. Touches on mixed-race themes. Ages 8-up.

Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich SmithRAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek)(HarperCollins, 2001).

From the flap copy by Marisa Miller of HarperCollins: Cassidy Rain Berghoff didn't know that the very night she decided to get a life would be the night that Galen would lose his. It's been six months since her best friend died, and up until now, Rain has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around her aunt Georgia's Indian Camp in their mostly white Kansas community, Rain decides to face the world again—at least through the lens of a camera. Ages 10-up.

SKELETON MAN by Joseph Bruchac (HarperCollins, 2001). Molly's parents are gone, vanished. She needs to find answers and a way to go on. But Molly has been taught well of her Mohawk traditions. She understands the importance of dreams. She knows to take them seriously. This very scary contemporary Native American novel is a must read and a scary one at that. Ages 10-up. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

THE WINDOW by Michael Dorris (Modoc)(Hyperion, 1997). This story features an eleven-year-old Rayona Taylor, a character featured in two of Dorris's novels for adults, A YELLOW RAFT IN BLUE WATER, and CLOUD CHAMBER. The novel is probably best appreciated by readers of all three works; however, THE WINDOW is a step toward growing into the other two. Ages 8-up.

THE WORLD IN GRANDFATHER'S HANDS by Craig Kee Strete (Cherokee)(Clarion, 1995). Jimmy struggles to adjust after the death of his father and moving from the pueblo to his Grandfather Whitefeather's house. Strete's characters are complex and his themes are multi-layered. Most notably, the story incorporates the U.S. government policies that recently led to the unauthorized sterilization of so many Native women. Without romanticizing, he touches on much of the sadness tied to the Indian way of life and explores the strength, humor, and community ties that weigh in the balance. Ages 8-up.