American Indian Youth Today

These novels and short stories by and about American Indians give voice to contemporary Native youth who are finding their way through a complex and often challenging world. The experiences range from accounts of life on and off of the reservation to contemporary issues for young adults, such as the question of American Indian mascots.

Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: Moana Kawelo, PhD, has a promising career as a museum curator in Los Angeles. The untimely death of her father and the gravitational pull of Hawaii when she returns home for his funeral causes Moana to question her motivations and her glamorous life in California. Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me is the story of Moana's struggle to understand her ancestral responsibilities, mend relationships, and find her identity as a Hawaiian in today s world. 2010 American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner.

Blue Raven

Illustrated by: Steve Keewatin Sanderson
Age Level: 12-14

A stolen bicycle brings together two friends. Brody shows Trevor how Aboriginal traditions and values can help him have respect and appreciation for what he has. This title is part of Pearson Canada's Well-Aware series focused on mental health.

Crazy Horse's Girlfriend

Age Level: 16-18

"There's no horror flick or disaster movie scarier than a teenager's life. Erika T. Wurth writes about a young woman's longing with such heart and soul, it made me want to cry. Here she chronicles the poor with compassion and respect, and depicts their moments of joy with the only language worthy of such heights—poetry."—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

High Elk's Treasure

Age Level: 9-12

Google Books: Caught in a raging storm, Joe High Elk and his sister, Marie, seek shelter in the cave of their ancestor, Steps High Like an Elk, where they learn their family history and discover High Elk's hundred-year-old forbidden treasure.

Activity Guide available.

If I Ever Get Out of Here

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: 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.

Lightning Rider (Lorimer SideStreets)

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: When January Fournier arrives at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, her brother Grey is barely clinging to life in intensive care after a horrible motorcycle crash. She's devastated — but things get worse when the police accuse Grey of a string of bike thefts, claims he's in no condition to dispute. Jan decides she's the only person who can uncover the truth and sets out to find the real thief.

Little Brother of War (Pathfinders)

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: Sixteen-year-old Mississippi Choctaw Randy Cheska has lived most of his young life in the shadow of his older football-hero brother, Jack. After Jack is killed while serving in Iraq, Randy's father puts even more pressure on Randy to excel in football. But Randy has no interest in sports and has never been good at them. Imagine Randy's surprise when he discovers stickball, a game he's immediately drawn to.

Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: The ten stories that make up this collection edited by Lori Carlson (Cool Salsa) are raw, original, and fresh. A supermarket checkout line, a rowboat on a freezing lake at dawn, a drunken dance in the gym, an ice hockey game on public-access TV. These are some of the backgrounds against which ten outstanding authors such as Sherman Alexie, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Linda Hogan, and Lee Francis have created their memorable characters.

No Name (PathFinders)

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: Inspired by the traditional Choctaw story "No Name," this modern adaptation features a present-day Choctaw teenager surviving tough family times — his mother left home and he is living with a mean-spirited, abusive father. The one place the teen can find peace is on the neighborhood basketball court. But after a violent confrontation with his father, the teen runs away, only to return home to find an unexpected hiding spot in his own backyard.

On The Move (On The Move Series)

Age Level: 14-16

What will Callum and his teenage Southern California skate buddies do when a major war breaks out one summer while they are away at camp? How will they find their families? Who is actually sending them messages that guide them through the maze of underground skateparks towards safe haven in the north? And will they really be safe when they get to their friend friend's reservation in Washington state? This dystopian novel for teen readers is the first in a new series.

Rain Is Not My Indian Name

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: Cassidy Rain Berghoff didn't know that the very night she decided to get a life would be the night that her best friend 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 midwestern community, Rain decides to face the outside world again — at least through the lens of her camera.

Skeleton Man

Age Level: 9-12

What will Molly do now that her parents have vanished? The answer may rest with the elderly stranger who claims to be her great-uncle. Credulous local authorities hope he is, and they're glad to send the sixth-grader to live with him. But is he who he claims to be? And why does he appear in Molly's increasingly vivid dreams as the skeleton monster she heard about in her Mohawk father's stories? — Booklist

Solar Storms

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: Searching for her birth mother, 17-year-old Angela finds her way to the remote region of the Boundary Waters between Canada and Minnesota. Here she reunites with the woman who raised her during her early years. But her happiness is short-lived, when she gets involved in a conflict with developers preparing to build a huge hydroelectric dam.

Son Who Returns (PathFinders)

Age Level: 12-14
Fifteen-year-old Mark Centeno is of Chumash, Crow, Mexican, and Filipino ancestry — he calls himself four kinds of brown. When Mark goes to live with his Chumash grandmother on the reservation in central California, he discovers a rich world of family history and culture that he knows very little about. He also finds a pathway to understanding better a part of his own identity: powwow dancing.

Super Indian: Volume 1

Age Level: 9-12

Hubert Logan was an ordinary Reservation boy until he ate tainted commodity cheese infused with Rezium, a secret government food enrichment additive. Known as Super Indian, Hubert fights evil forces who would overtake the Reservation's resources and population. Assisted by his trusty sidekicks Mega Bear and Diogi, they fight crime the way they know how — with strength, smarts, and humor.

Ten Little Indians

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: Sherman Alexie is one of our most acclaimed and popular writers today. With Ten Little Indians, he offers nine poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heartrending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Illustrated by: Ellen Forney

Junior is a basketball-playing, cartoon-drawing teenager living on the Spokane Indian Reservation. When he decides that it's time to start working towards a better future for himself, he leaves his school on the reservation for an all-white high school where he finds that the only other Indian there is the school mascot. With a sense of humor and a strong spirit, Junior remains determined to persevere in the face of tragedy and a complicated exploration of his own identity. Cartoon drawings accompany the text.

The Heart of a Chief

Age Level: 9-12

Chris's life is complicated. At school, he's been selected to lead a project on sports teams with Indian names. At home, where his father is battling alcoholism on the Penacook reservation, the Indians are divided about building a casino. It would destroy the beautiful island Chris thinks of as his own. What can one sixth-grade boy can do in the midst of so many challenges?

The Lesser Blessed: A Novel

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: The Lesser Blessed is a powerful coming-of-age story — edgy, stark, and at times, darkly funny that centers around Larry, a Native teenager trying to cope with a painful past and find his place in a confusing and stressful modern world. Skinny as spaghetti, nervy, and self-deprecating, the 16-year-old is an appealing mixture of bravado and vulnerability.

The Round House

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

The Window

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: In this YA prequel to his adult novel A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, Michael Dorris introduces readers to 11-year-old Rayona Taylor — part black, part Indian — and shows the events that shaped this unforgettable young woman. After being placed in foster care, Rayona goes to live with her Kentucky relatives, in this novel about betrayal, forgiveness, and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Three Feathers: A Graphic Novel

Illustrated by: Krystal Mateus
Age Level: 14-16

Three young men -- Flinch, Bryce, and Rupert -- have vandalized their community. They are sent by its Elders to live nine months on the land as part of the circle sentencing process. There, the young men learn to take responsibility for their actions and acquire the humility required to return home. But will they be forgiven for what they have done? Three Feathers explores the power and grace of restorative justice in on Northern community and the cultural legacy that can empower furture generations.

Thunder on the Plains (PathFinders)

Age Level: 12-14

It's been two years and middle-school student Danny Wind is still not over his father's death. When his mom marries a white man and they move to a new "white bread" neighborhood, Danny's life changes. The school principal considers him a troublemaker and soon his mom decides to send him to a summer survival camp for Native American teens. Danny is sure he is in for a boring summer on the reservation — until he meets other Native kids, learns to ride and care for horses, develops a relationship with his grandfather, and soon finds himself rescuing bison in Yellowstone National Park.

Tribal Journey (PathFinders)

Age Level: 12-14

Jason's lucky to be alive, but life in a wheelchair was not in his plans. Even when he was protecting his mom and siblings from his drunken father or escaping from home to be with his friends, he never imagined this future. When he becomes part of the Raven Canoe Family and learns to "pull" a canoe, however, his outlook on life begins to change. After completing a two-week tribal canoe journey with his Duwamish tribal members, Jason is proud to be a Coast Salish Indian.

Urban Tribes: Native Americans in the City

Age Level: 12-14

The majority of Natives in North America live "off the rez." How do they stay rooted to their culture? How do they connect with their community? Urban Tribes offers unique insight into this growing and often misperceived group. This anthology profiles young urban Natives and how they connect with Native culture and values in their contemporary lives.

When Thunders Spoke

Illustrated by: Oren Lyons
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Norman Two Bull is a modern and savvy fifteen-year-old Sioux who lives on a Dakota reservation with his parents. He is impatient with, if not faintly contemptuous of, the "old ways." Encouraged by his grandfather, Norman makes a perilous climb to the top of a sacred butte, searching for agates where Indian boys had once gone for spirit visions. There, unexpectedly, he finds an ancient relic with the power to make strange things happen — and they do! When Thunders Spoke is a haunting story whose strength often lies in what is not said.

Who Will Tell My Brother?

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: Determined to sway high school officials to remove disparaging Indian mascots, Evan assumes a struggle that spirals him onto a soul-searching journey and exposes him to a barrage of bullying and escalating violence. Marlene Carvell's free-verse novel is a timely look at a true story of a mixed-race teen caught up in an exploration of his past, his culture, and his identity.

Wild Ride (Lorimer SideStreets)

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: In this sequel to Lightning Rider, January and her family have taken in an RCMP summer student as a boarder. When Willow Whitecloud pulls up on her Kawasaki ZX-10R, January takes an instant liking to her. Willow becomes both a friend and a spiritual guide, who helps January connect with her Native heritage. But January is shocked when a number of clues suggest that her mentor may be involved in illegal activity that threatens the natural world she has taught January to respect.