Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top Ten (plus one) #5

And #5 is...
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

When Junior asks his parents who has the most hope, they immediately answer, "White people."

Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, is 14 years old and has been to 42 funerals. Living on the Spokane rez with his folks in Wellpinit, WA isn't easy, especially when you were born with water on the brain, look kinda goofy, your parents aren't really around, and your best friend has some serious issues with anger management. Still, Junior's got basketball, his comics, and Rowdy (the above mentioned best friend).

When Junior transfers out of the reservation school to the rich white school in town (he walks to school from the rez- more than 20 miles one way, every day!), his only chance for getting a decent shot at life, the only other Indian there is the school mascot. Although he's already had to face down his (former) best friend's Rowdy's out-of-control rage at Junior's betrayal of the rez, Junior faces the anger of his entire community when he joins the basketball team (the Enemy) at his new school. Still, he manages to keep his quirky sense of humor, maybe fall a little bit in love, and claim a place in a world that at times really seems to be against him.

By turns laugh-out-loud, rib-cracking hilarious and heartbreakingly sad, you'll take turns crying with and cheering for Junior as he tries to grab a little hope for himself.

While you're waiting for #4 tomorrow, check out School Library Journal's Top Fiction of 2008! Start at the top for picture books to read to your little sibs, and scroll down to the fiction to find books for you.

(now reading The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli, about the girl Leonardo da Vinci painted to create the Mona Lisa)

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