Tag: native american

This Beautiful Middle-Grade Novel About Native American Identity Is a Game Changer

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day doesn’t come out until October 1st, but it’s already making waves. Day’s debut is inspired by her own family’s history and follows a girl named Edie Green who uncovers her family’s secrets, and discovers her true identity as Native American.

Christine Day and I Can Make This Promise | Images Via HarperCollins

 

Tackling themes of identity, coming-of-age and First Nations family separations, Christine Day, who is Upper Skagit, has written a beautiful, sensitive and hopeful debut, and in doing so has added some much needed First Nations representation to the middle-grade reading pool.

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?

While the story is inspired by Day’s own family history, the book is not autobiographical. In an interview with The Horn Book Inc., Day stated:

In earlier drafts of this book, the family’s story was almost identical to mine. When I finally departed from the full, absolute truth of my personal history, I fell in love with the revision process. It was so liberating and inspiring to blur the lines between fact and fiction. Everything in this book still feels like it could be true to me. But it no longer feels like I’ve said too much.

I Can Make This Promise has received starred reviews from both Kirkus Reviews, who calls it, “enlightening and a must-read for anyone interested in issues surrounding identity and adoption”, and Publishers Weekly who have dubbed it “an affecting novel [that] also considers historical truths about how Native Americans have been treated throughout U.S. history, particularly underlining family separations.” Cherokee Nation’s Traci Sorell, award-winning author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, says “Day’s novel brings an accessible, much-needed perspective about the very real consequences of Indigenous children being taken from their families and Native Nations. The absence of one’s tribal community, loss of culture and lack of connection to relatives have ripple effects for generations.”

Described by Hayley Chewins, author of The Turnaway Girls, as a book that “manages to be both deeply sad and brightly hopeful”, I Can Make This Promise approaches difficult subject matter with the sensitivity and skill required by any great children’s author, which is what Day undoubtedly is.

Day holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington, where she wrote her thesis on Coast Salish weaving traditions. A huge ice cream fan, (her favorite flavors are Rainbow Sherbet by Baskin-Robbins and Half Baked by Ben & Jerry’s, for those wondering), Day is also super into Harry Potter (rating Prisoner of Azkaban as her number one!) and the Marvel Comics Universe.  You can find her online at bychristineday.com, where she has writing tips, a discussion guide for educators, a blog, fun facts and more! You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with her news, as there is sure to be lots to come!

Two Hugo Finalists Trying to Turn Silver to Gold

The Hugo Awards, the annual award for science fiction, will announce their winner later in the week, but for now, there are two finalists which are the first in their series—so you can start reading right now, and be ready for the winner this weekend.

 

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning

Image Via Amazon

 

Maggie is a post-apocalyptic Navajo monster hunter, and that’s just the beginning. When a girl goes missing in a small town, she’s forced to team up with a medicine man to travel the reservation, uncovering secrets and coming closer and closer to a monster more terrible than either can imagine. An immersive flooded world, filled with gods and monsters, and characters with enough sarcasm and attitude to bear the weight of a dark plot and devastated world.

This has already swept a few awards, and is sure to be a good pick for anyone who likes any supernatural or speculative genres.

 

 

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik

Image Via Amazon

 

You may have noticed by now I’m A LITTLE OBSESSED with Naomi Novik, but hey, the experts back me up. This is sort of a fairy tale, related to Rumpelstiltskin, but you always get much more than you can possibly foresee with Novik.

Since her father is running the family business into the ground, Miryim takes matters into her own hands. For better or worse, she’s very good at debt collecting, and ends up catching the attention of the supernatural—the icy Staryk—and it only gets more dire from there. You can expect gloriously lush world building and characters who feel like real people.

 

 

 

Featured image Via Pixels

Meet Joy Harjo, One of the First Native American Poet Laureates!

According to The Guardian there is exciting news for the poetry world. Poet, musician, and author Joy Harjo has been appointed as the Poet Laureate, the first Native American to take the position in years. Harjo has been in the running for a role for a long time, having acted as an advocate and voice for Native Americans in the literary world. Harjo term will last one year, and she will succeed Tracy K. Smith, who served two terms in the position.

 

 

 

 

Harjo is known for poetry collections like The Woman Who Fell From the Sky and In Mad Love and War. Critics have praised her forceful, intimate writing style that draws upon the natural and spiritual world, always emphasizing and exploring man’s relationship to nature.

 

A Native American Woman stands on a lakeshore

Image via Public radio tusla

 

Harjo has expressed her political views through song and metaphor, using her poetry to draw attention to social issues. One of her poems, “Rabbit Is Up to Tricks,” epitomizes her style:

 

And Rabbit had no place to play.
Rabbit’s trick had backfired.
Rabbit tried to call the clay man back,
but when the clay man wouldn’t listen
Rabbit realized he’d made a clay man with no ears.

 

Harjo began writing in 1970, according to The New York Times. As a young woman, she attended Native American gatherings in the Southwest, where she heard poetry spoken aloud. Realizing poetry was a vehicle for social change, her art became a way for her to speak about the Native American rights movement. Since then, Harjo has written eight books in total, including poetry, memoir, and YA novels. As for her nomination, Harjo said she was in a “state of shock” and considers her a position a great honor, as well as a position of honor for all Native peoples.

In a statement to the Library of Congress, Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress said of Joy Harjo’s work “powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.”

In addition to being an author, Harjo is also a musician, composing four albums that speak to not only naturalistic themes but also the current political and social divides across America. She feels that poetry is a way to bridge cultures and hopes to embrace her new position.

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via The Guardian.