Indigenous Reads (Firekeeper's Daughter, Elatsoe, Five Little Indians, Walking in Two Worlds)

Indigenous Reads (Firekeeper's Daughter, Elatsoe, Five Little Indians, Walking in Two Worlds)

Reading is something that I've always loved, and when the fall season rolls around I'm always that much more excited to sit down and read in the evenings. There is no doubt that I'm a mood reader, and fall is my favorite season. I wanted to jump back into blogging with a few Indigenous reads, if you're new to my blog I am Indigenous and I'm always on the lookout for new Indigenous reads. I make a conscious effort to seek out new authors or new-to-me books, and I found some great reads this year. This post includes fiction reads, but you can find some great non-fiction reads on my blog as well. Let's dive in:

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angelina Boulley
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angelina Boulley (Purchase)

I'm starting off this blog post pretty strong when I mention this book because this is one of my favorite books I read this year. It was absolutely a fantastic read. Everything about this book was so well done. We have eighteen-year-old Daunis who is half Ojibway and she has a hard time fitting in. She is an unenrolled member of her tribe. She's stuck between two identities, two communities, and she has to come to terms with who she is. She doesn't have the support of all her family members when it comes to her Ojibway heritage. She's put her future on hold to take care of her mother, and her world is suddenly rocked even further. When Daunis witnesses a murder, she is thrown into the criminal investigation, and her traditional Ojibway knowledge is desperately needed. Jamie, a new recruit on her brother's hockey team becomes a friend and potentially more. Their relationship becomes complicated when the investigation starts to unfold. This book has such a powerful community setting and all the characters really add to the story. The Elder's really enhanced the plot on many levels, we can see the wisdom and respect they hold within the community. Firekeeper's Daughter kept me on my toes until the very end. I did read that this book has been picked up by Netflix to be a mini-series, I would love to see this. Angeline Boulley is on my radar as a new author. 

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger (Purchase)

I read Elatsoe at the beginning of the year and it was another five-star read. The blurb for this book really sets the tone; "Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not." Elatsoe has a gift, passed down from her family, she can raise ghosts from dead animals. When her cousin is murdered in a town that doesn't want to investigate, Elatsoe goes to visit. This book is so unique, the world-building in this book was phenomenal and flawless. I wouldn't normally pick up a fantasy read, but I'm so happy I did. This is a world I could easily imagine, and I could easily grasp the environment. I loved the emphasis on storytelling, and its importance. Although Ellie is seventeen years old character, I feel like this book will appeal to many. This is another read that will stick with you when you close the book. I also want to mention the illustrations in this book, they're stunning. 

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good (Purchase)

While my first two reads and fiction reads, this one is too but it has a more heavy subject and more adult in nature. Five Little Indians is told from alternating perspectives from five residential school survivors. I've read about and studied residential schools over the years but this book really put me in the shoes of some of these survivors and it was heartbreaking. While this is a debut fiction novel, we can really believe the truth behind these characters as they grapple with the trauma. These former students are trying to survive in Vancouver during the 60s; one finds her way into the American Indian Movement, one holds on to her baby and does everything in her power to protect her, and one cannot seem to escape from his past. This book is inspired by Michelle Good's experiences and this book is very impactful. I am Indigenous, I have family who attended residential schools and we need more Canadians to step up and learn the truth. The last school closed in 1996, thousands of children never returned home, and those who did had significant hurdles to overcome. This is the type of book we need to be taught in schools; facts are facts but stories really cement the emotions and the trauma. 

Walking in two Worlds by Wab Kinew

Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew (Purchase)

Our main character Bugz is caught between two worlds; a real-world and a virtual one. In the real world, she's a shy girl living on the reservation but in the virtual world, she's confident, powerful, and famous. She meets Feng, a boy sent from China to live with his aunt when his online gaming becomes questioned in his country. Bugz also has to deal with her sick brother and the clashing of traditions within her family. I love to see these fictional books being published because Indigenous youth deserve to see themselves in stories; stories they can relate to, stories they can dream of writing one day. This is said to be for fans of Ready Player One, which I would agree with. 

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