Thanksgiving: YA Books by Native American Authors

Thanksgiving: YA Books by Native American
  Top Ten Tuesday  was created by  The Broke and the Bookish  in June of 2010 and was moved to  That Artsy Reader Girl  in January of 2018.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

After an embarrassingly long amount of time and more than a few half finished post, I am finally back with Top Ten Tuesday! This week theme is, of course, American Thanksgiving and I thought that I would switch things up a bit and write about books written by Native North American authors.

My first five years of teaching was in schools with a nearly 100% Native student body (I am going to say Native here because my school in Alaska was in a Yu’pik village and they do not consider themselves Native American). So while I love the food (check out this article of it’s history) and camaraderie of Friendsgiving I also think that it is important to remember that the cute myth of the first Thanksgiving is deeply problematic (here is an article where a Fifth Grade girl figures it out). In short, Thanksgiving as a American story isn’t necessarily one to celebrate. In addition Native representation in literature is has historically been and for the most part continues to be: 1) extremely limited 2) vaguely, carelessly, to barefacedly racist.

We can do better than that. First steps? Seeking out and reading literature by Native authors. Here are a few of my favorites and a couple that I don’t have my hands on yet but am looking forward to.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves
by Cherie Dimaline

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published:September 1st 2017
Rating: this is not a gentle story

So you are bored with dystopia, you say? Well, let me just suggest that maybe we need to read some new voices. And maybe give up the love triangles. This book is genuinely upsetting when you recall that enforced boarding schools, running away, and scientific experiments on Native children is something that has already happened.

From Goodreads:

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America's Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the "recruiters" who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing "factories."

Sometimes you risk everything for a life worth living, even if you’re not the one that’ll be alive to see it.

House of Purple Cedar  by Tim Tingle

House of Purple Cedar
by Tim Tingle

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 18th 2014
Rating: unique magical realism

Tim Tingle has a whole backlist of great books but this one is my favorite. I know that magical realism can be very off putting to some people but it is woven so seamlessly into this story that I think even those who aren’t fans would like this book.

From Goodreads:

The boys from Fort Coffee would wander over, those shy and mumbling boys who almost never spoke so you could hear them.

"The hour has come to speak of troubled times. It is time we spoke of Skullyville." Thus begins Rose Goode's story of her growing up in Indian Territory in pre-statehood Oklahoma. Skullyville, a once-thriving Choctaw community, was destroyed by land-grabbers, culminating in the arson on New Year's Eve, 1896, of New Hope Academy for Girls. Twenty Choctaw girls died, but Rose escaped. She is blessed by the presence of her grandmother Pokoni and her grandfather Amafo, both respected elders who understand the old ways. Soon after the fire, the white sheriff beats Amafo in front of the town's people, humiliating him. Instead of asking the Choctaw community to avenge the beating, her grandfather decides to follow the path of forgiveness. And so unwinds this tale of mystery, Indian-style magical realism, and deep wisdom. It's a world where backwoods spiritualism and Bible-thumping Christianity mix with bad guys; a one-legged woman shop-keeper, her oaf of a husband, herbal potions, and shape-shifting panthers rendering justice. Tim Tingle—a scholar of his nation's language, culture, and spirituality—tells Rose's story of good and evil with understanding and even laugh-out-loud Choctaw humor.

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

If I Ever Get Out of Here
by Eric Gansworthoe

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: July 30th 2013
Rating: Everyone needs to read this

IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY READ THIS START READING IT NOW. I mean it. Eric Gansworth is a treasure. This book is so beautifully voicey. It has a great sense of time and place. Shoe is one of those characters that stick with you long after you finish reading.

Also Buffalo. Because snow.

From Goodreads:

It all came out like word vomit — inadequacy, embarrassment, insecurity, neediness, and an attempt at a joke. But this last fell flat.

Lewis "Shoe" Blake is used to the joys and difficulties of life on the Tuscarora Indian reservation in 1975: the joking, the Fireball games, the snow blowing through his roof. What he's not used to is white people being nice to him -- people like George Haddonfield, whose family recently moved to town with the Air Force. As the boys connect through their mutual passion for music, especially the Beatles, Lewis has to lie more and more to hide the reality of his family's poverty from George. He also has to deal with the vicious Evan Reininger, who makes Lewis the special target of his wrath. But when everyone else is on Evan's side, how can he be defeated? And if George finds out the truth about Lewis's home -- will he still be his friend?

Acclaimed adult author Eric Gansworth makes his YA debut with this wry and powerful novel about friendship, memory, and the joy of rock 'n' roll.

The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp

The Lesser Blessed
by Richard Van Camp

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: 1996
Rating: A Canadian story counts. PSA: Free kindle version on Amazon right now.

This book is so raw a real that it is sometimes hard to read. And then you laugh.

From Goodreads:

Every song for me was a beautiful forest to get lost in, and every forest reminded me of both Juliet and Jed.

A fresh, funny look at growing up Native in the North, by award-winning author Richard Van Camp.

Larry is a Dogrib Indian growing up in the small northern town of Fort Simmer. His tongue, his hallucinations and his fantasies are hotter than the sun. At sixteen, he loves Iron Maiden, the North and Juliet Hope, the high school "tramp." When Johnny Beck, a Metis from Hay River, moves to town, Larry is ready for almost anything.

In this powerful and often very funny first novel, Richard Van Camp gives us one of the most original teenage characters in fiction. Skinny as spaghetti, nervy and self-deprecating, Larry is an appealing mixture of bravado and vulnerability. His past holds many terrors: an abusive father, blackouts from sniffing gasoline, an accident that killed several of his cousins. But through his friendship with Johnny, he’s ready now to face his memories—and his future.

Marking the debut of an exciting new writer, The Lesser Blessed is an eye-opening depiction of what it is to be a young Native man in the age of AIDS, disillusionment with Catholicism and a growing world consciousness.
A coming-of-age story that any fan of The Catcher in the Rye will enjoy.

Killer of Enemies (Killer of Enemies #1) by Joseph Bruchac

Killer of Enemies
by Joseph Bruchac

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Killer of Enemies #1
Published: September 17th 2013
Rating: Speculative fiction that isn’t boring

Guilt can make you doubt yourself at the very moment when you need to proceed with certainty.

I don’t know if this is common knowledge but trains and barbed wires were two of the biggest variables that brought down the Native American’s of the Plain traditional way of life. The fact that this book takes place in a “second steam age” was symbolic enough to get me to read it.

From Goodreads:

A post-Apocalyptic YA novel with a steampunk twist, based on an Apache legend. 

Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones -- people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human -- and there was everyone else who served them. Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones' pets -- genetically engineered monsters -- turned on them and are now loose on the world.

Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen's powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun. As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

by Daniel H. Wilson

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Robopocalypse #1
Published: June 7th 2011 
Rating: This is a book that will cure your bordom with Dystopis. PSA: Free kindle version on Amazon right now.

Listen, I found the good dystopia and I am going to shill about it. In addition Daniel Wilson has Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon and you can feel the weight of his authority in the text.

From Goodreads:

It is not enough to live together in peace, with one race on its knees.

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. 

In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites -- at a moment known later as Zero Hour -- humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.

Apple In the Middle by Dawn Quigley

Apple In the Middle
by Dawn Quigley 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: August 2nd 2018
Rating: TBR

I am angry that I can’t get this on my kindle which means I have to order it to the US and wait until I go back for a visit before I can read it. Curse you, life choices!

From Goodreads:

Apple Starkington turned her back on her Native American heritage the moment she was called a racial slur. Not that she really even knew HOW to be an Indian in the first place. Too bad the white world doesn't accept her either. So began her quirky habits to gain acceptance. Apple's name, chosen by her Indian mother on her deathbed, has a double meaning: treasured apple of my eye, but also the negative connotation: a person who is red, or Indian, on the outside, but white on the inside. After her wealthy [white] father gives her the boot one summer, Apple reluctantly agrees to visit her Native American relatives on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in northern North Dakota for the first time, which should be easy, but it's not. Apple shatters Indian stereotypes and learns what it means to find her place in a world divided by color.

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Hearts Unbroken 
by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 9th 2018 
Rating: TBR

I bought this one last week, I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I think I will read it on Thanksgiving itself.

From Goodreads:

”Do Native people believe in Thanksgiving?”
[...] “We believe in gratitude.”

New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s? 

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American VoicesEdited  by Lisa Charleyboy 

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
Edited by Lisa Charleyboy 

My copy of this book in in the US which is too bad because it is beautiful. The art alone is worth the price.

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: July 24th 2014 
Rating: Great anthology

From Goodreads:

A powerful and visually stunning anthology from some of the most groundbreaking Native artists working in North America today. Truly universal in its themes, Dreaming In Indian will shatter commonly held stereotypes and challenge readers to rethink their own place in the world. Divided into four sections, ‘Roots,’ ‘Battles,’ ‘Medicines,’ and ‘Dreamcatchers,’ this book offers readers a unique insight into a community often misunderstood and misrepresented by the mainstream media

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III,

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

by Joseph M. Marshall III

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: November 10th 2015 
Rating: This is just such a lovely book.

I devoured this book in one sitting and then looked around for someone to talk about it with. It is happiness and pride in yourself in book form. LOVE. The Author has quite the back list and I am eager to start exploring that.

From Goodreads:

Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy—though you would not guess it by his name: his father is a white man and his mother is Lakota. When he embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, he learns more and more about his Lakota heritage—in particular, the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota history. Drawing inspiration from the oral stories of the Lakota tradition and the Lakota cultural mechanism of the “hero story,” Joseph Marshall provides readers with an insider’s perspective on the life of Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse. Through his grandfather’s tales about the famous warrior, Jimmy learns more about his Lakota heritage and, ultimately, himself.

It all meant—as his mom explained—that three parts of Jimmy were Lakota and one part was white. That part was Scottish, to be exact. “The problem is,” Anne McClean would say, “your three Lakota parts are all hidden inside. Your one white part is on the outside.”

There are some books about Native Americans by non Natives that are worthwhile but not on the list. My Name is Not Easy comes to mind. I also did not include any by Sherman Alexie because 1. I am mad at him 2. Let’s make some room for new voices.

Of course, you cannot talk about Native representation in literature and Children and YA literature in particular without talking about the powerhouse that is Dr. Debbie Reese. She is an active twitter user and runs the American Indians in Children's Literature. She does incredible work and should get more credit. I have double checked that all of the books on this list are recommended on her website.

Have you read any of these books? What do you think?


Following the News: YA Books Set During the World War One

Following the News: YA Books Set During the World War One

Sunday, November 11, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. I have been reflecting on what humanity has learned in the last century and sometimes it feels as if we are absolutely nowhere. The Washington Post had an article this week on why is is so important to learn about the First World War especially in 2019.

I also realized that there don’t seems to be a ton of YA books written about WWI. I mean, we have all had to read All Quiet On the Western Front but other than that… slim pickings. I think that it has to do with the less clear cut “right” and “wrong” of WWI as opposed to WWII. Important to remember especially in the context of the world today that the root causes and sustaining force of WWI was nationalism.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism," he said through a translator. "Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."
-French President Emmanuel Macron November 11th, 2018

I thought I would put together a list of titles in case anyone else is looking for books like this.

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath

Like Water on Stone
by Dana Walrath

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: November 11th 2014
Rating: The Armenian Genocide, Magical Realism, and a novel in verse I am getting choked up just thinking about it.

From Goodreads:

We eagles sing no soothing songs.
Our throats can only whistle.
Instead, we hunt them down,
take them from others.

Blending magical realism and lyrical free verse, this is an intense survival story of three siblings caught up in the horrific events of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

It is 1914, and the Ottoman Empire is crumbling into violence.

Beyond Anatolia, in the Armenian Highlands, Shahen Donabedian dreams of going to New York. Sosi, his twin sister, never wants to leave her home, especially now that she is in love. At first, only Papa, who counts Turks and Kurds among his closest friends, stands in Shahen's way. But when the Ottoman pashas set their plans to eliminate all Armenians in motion, neither twin has a choice.

After a horrifying attack leaves them orphaned, Shahen and Sosi flee into the mountains, carrying their little sister, Mariam. Shahen keeps their parents' fate a secret from his sisters. But the children are not alone. An eagle named Ardziv watches over them as they run at night and hide each day, making their way across mountain ridges and rivers red with blood.

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave
by John Boyne

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 26th 2013
Rating: This is a middle school favorite

From Goodreads:

‘It’s a big world, isn’t it?’ said Georgie. ‘Do you think they hate each other on other planets too?’

The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight - but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name - on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by - a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . . . 

Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics Edited by Chris Duffy

Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics
Edited by Chris Duffy

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: July 15th 2014 
Rating: Really powerful

From Goodreads:

That feeling of inadequacy in the face of warrior’s tales is hard to dismiss. Soldiers experience things civilians can only try to understand.

As the Great War dragged on and its catastrophic death toll mounted, a new artistic movement found its feet in the United Kingdom. The Trench Poets, as they came to be called, were soldier-poets dispatching their verse from the front lines. Known for its rejection of war as a romantic or noble enterprise, and its plainspoken condemnation of the senseless bloodshed of war, Trench Poetry soon became one of the most significant literary moments of its decade. 

The marriage of poetry and comics is a deeply fruitful combination, as evidenced by this collection. In stark black and white, the words of the Trench Poets find dramatic expression and reinterpretation through the minds and pens of some of the greatest cartoonists working today.

With New York Times bestselling editor Chris Duffy (Nursery Rhyme ComicsFairy Tale Comics) at the helm, Above the Dreamless Dead is a moving and illuminating tribute to those who fought and died in World War I. Twenty poems are interpreted in comics form by twenty of today's leading cartoonists, including Eddie Campbell, Kevin Huizenga, George Pratt, and many others.

The Lie by Helen Dunmore

The Lie
by Helen Dunmore

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: May 8th 2014

From Goodreads:

A man stuck in the mud can’t free himself.

Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers.

Cornwall, 1920, early spring.
A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family. Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him. He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?

Stories of World War One by Tony Bradman

Stories of World War One
by Tony Bradman

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: April 3rd 2014
Rating: short stories

From Goodreads:

In this collection of short stories, 12 award-winning authors take you to the heart of the trenches and beyond - with powerful accounts of Zeppelin raids and front-line fighting, along with stories of everyday life lived under extraordinary circumstances. With tales of inspiring bravery, heartbreaking loss and overwhelming hope, this remarkable anthology brings to life the major events of World War One at home and around the globe.

The noise was so terrible, I thought our brains would burst, or the sky would crack, and all the time it was the screams and moans of wounded and dying soldiers which never seemed to go away.

The Year It All Ended by Kirsty Murray

The Year It All Ended
by Kirsty Murray

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: August 2014
Rating: surprisingly fluffy

From Goodreads:

All those bells tolling, the shouts and engine whistles, the beating of drums and saucepans on a warm spring evening could mean only one thing. Peace.

On Armistice Day 1918 Tiney Flynn turns seventeen and it feels as though her life is just beginning. Her brother and his friends are coming home from the Great War and her sisters are falling in love. But Tiney and her family find that building peace is far more complicated than they could ever have imagined.

Tiney's year will hold a world of new experience, from tragedy to undreamt-of joy, from seances to masked balls and riots in the streets. At the end of a war and the dawn of the jazz age, Tiney Flynn will face her greatest fears and begin a journey that will change her destiny.

'The story of [the sisters'] struggles to come to terms with grief, anxiety, and unbearable loss at the same time as trying to forge some kind of realistic future is tough and believable and ultimately heartwarming.

War Girls by Adèle Geras, Theresa Breslin, Matt Whyman, Mary Hooper, Rowena House, Melvin Burgess, Berlie Doherty, Anne Fine, Sally Nicholls

War Girls
by Adèle Geras, Theresa Breslin, Matt Whyman, Mary Hooper, Rowena House, Melvin Burgess, Berlie Doherty, Anne FineSally Nicholls

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: June 5th 2014 
Rating: Chances are you don’t know these women and that is a shame for all of us.

From Goodreads:

It’s ironic that some plants thrive in soil that has been displaced. Due to the devastation around us, these flowers bloom profusely, yet I find their tenacity and beauty uplifting.

1914: War has broken out across Europe and beyond. Nothing will ever be the same again for those caught up in the conflict.

This collection of short stories explores how the First World War changed and shaped the lives of women forever. A courageous nurse risks her life at the Front Line; a young woman discovers independence and intrigue in wartime London; and a grief-stricken widow defends her homeland amidst the destruction of war.

Through these and other tales, War Girls presents a moving portrait of loss and grief, and of hope overcoming terrible odds.

Without Warning: Ellen's Story, 1914-1918by Dennis Hamley

Without Warning: Ellen's Story, 1914-1918
by Dennis Hamley

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 9th 2007
Rating: TBR

From Goodreads:

"I don’t know much about wars except soldiers and sailors get killed and Jack might get killed with them. But grown-up people say . . . they’re a chance for young men to go off to foreign parts and be brave and come home heroes."

England, 1914. The piercing tone of the bugle changes a sleepy British village and Ellen Wilkins forever. It is the call to enlist — a chance Ellen’s brother, Jack, won’t miss. The call also spurs Ellen to leave the safety of home and begin a journey of self-discovery, one that takes her close to the front lines to pursue her calling as a nurse. In this gritty and insightful novel, Dennis Hamley deftly portrays the everyday realities of life in wartime, along with harrowing accounts of war’s lifelong effects on the young people caught in its path.

There’s a war starting. I don’t know much about wars except soldiers and sailors get killed and Jack might get killed with them. But grown-up people say different — that wars are nothing really; they’re a chance for young men to go off to foreign parts and be brave and come home heroes and, besides, the Hun needs a taste of his own medicine, going through Belgium and killing all the babies and the nuns.

Poppy by Mary Hooper

by Mary Hooper

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Poppy #1
Published: May 8th 2014 
Rating: TBR

From Goodreads:

England, 1914. Poppy is fifteen, beautiful and clever, but society has already carved out her destiny. There's no question of her attending the grammar school - it's too expensive and unsuitable for a girl. Instead, Poppy will become a servant at the big house. And she'll 'keep out of trouble'. But Poppy's life is about to be thrown dramatically off course. The first reason is love - with someone forbidden, who could never, ever marry a girl like her. The second reason is war. Nothing could have prepared her for that. As she experiences what people are capable of - the best of humanity and the very worst - Poppy will find an unexpected freedom and discover how to be truly her own person.

Mrs Trevin-Jones actually had a son fighting at the front, so her views on the war were treated with the utmost respect. Young Peter Trevin-Jones had not won any medals yet but the stories of his exploits suggested that it could only be a matter of time.

Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks

Harlem Hellfighters 
by Max Brooks

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: April 1st 2014 
Rating: It is a graphic novel about WWI by the author of World War Z. we all need and deserve this in our lives.

From Goodreads:

That woulda been a helluva nice story.
But the truth’s got an ugly way of killin’ nice stories.

In 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on--and off--the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy.

In THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS, bestselling author Max Brooks and acclaimed illustrator Caanan White bring this history to life. From the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France, they tell the heroic story of the 369th in an action-packed and powerful tale of honor and heart.

Do you have any suggestions for this list? I am always looking for more!


Book Review: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

 This cover is everything

This cover is everything

Darius the Great Is Not Okay
by Adib Khorram
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: stand alone
Published: August 28th 2018
Rating: I loved this more than words and Darius needs to let me know how he is doing from time to time. I am sorry I don’t make the rules.
Times read: 1
Recommended by: I think I kept seeing it on twitter and as a recommended book on Goodreads.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram is an #ownvoices book about Darius Kellner a half white half Persian sixteen-year-old boy living in Portland whose parents decide that it is time for them to visit Iran for the first time in his life.

One of the main themes of the book is figuring out how to be "enough" for the people around you. Darius feels as if he isn't American enough in America, Persian enough in Iran, "sane" enough, or just right enough for his father. It was so touching to read about him figuring out what expectations he should meet and what he can let go to be himself. I think that this book would be a great addition to international schools because of that. One of the greatest things about reading is the ability to connect with characters who on the surface are completely different than yourself. I am not Persian (True or Fractional), male, or a teenager. It doesn't matter. Darius was such a real character that the reader knows, understands, and hopefully is able to see the world through his eyes for a little while. Darius is one of the best characters that I have read in a long time. He feels like a person that I know and someone that I would want to spend time with and check on. I want him to be okay and happy.

The thing is, I never had a friend like Sohrab before. One who understood me without even trying. Who knew what it was like to be stuck on the outside because of one little thing that set you apart.

The other main theme of this book was friendship. How do you make friends with people when it just doesn't seem natural to you. I was an adult before I found "my people" and I related so much to the relief and joy of finding others who get you. Darius's friendship with Sohrab was so beautiful and moving. I am glad to read about an emotional and healthy friendship between boys. Representation matters in all ways.

Bonus points for have some of this most accurate and relatable section on crazy long international flights. How gross you feel, the weirdness of international airport Subway, and the terrible feeling that you both need to sleep for days and the way you can't sleep for more than ten-minute snatches. I felt all of that.

The depiction of depression is sensitive and realistic. I know that depression can look different for different people, but this felt as if it was the way that Darius experiences depression. He takes medication for it, and the book touches on the difficulty in getting the dosage right. Not enough books tackle this and it makes Darius that much more real.

And have I mentioned the food? My appreciation for food in literature is well documented, and this book was delicious edition. There is such a love and a reverence for Iranian food that I cannot even. I was writing down and googling food words all the way through this book because I am not going to go any more time without these in my life. Crispy rice for-evah!

Darius the Great is Not Okay is also a great addition to my Iran book list. It is funny and touching and I read almost all of it in one sitting. I regret nothing expect not ordering food earlier and the fact that I took this long to get to the book even though I had it preordered. Don't be like me, read it now.

From Goodreads:

Darius doesn't think he'll ever be enough, in America or in Iran. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this unforgettable debut introduces a brilliant new voice in contemporary YA.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He's about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it's pretty overwhelming--especially when he's also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom's family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what's going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don't have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he's spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush--the original Persian version of his name--and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he's Darioush to Sohrab. When it's time to go home to America, he'll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.