Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Title: Indian Shoes

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Illustrator: Jim Madsen

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published Date: 2002

 

 

Indian Shoes is not just one story about Ray and his Grampa, but 6 short stories that make up this awesome book! In the first story,Indian Shoes which the book is named after, we meet Ray and his Grampa. Ray is a young Indian boy transplated from Oklahoma to Chicago, IL. Ray’s parents have been killed by a tornado and he is now living with his Grampa in the Windy City. All other stories chronicle Ray and Grampa’s life together. It shows the love between a grandfather and his grandson.

I really enjoyed reading this! The short stories really broke up the novel and made it much easier to read. It was fun seeing little glimpses of Ray’s world and how much his Grampa meant to him. I also liked the hints of Native American culture that is added into the stories. Of course both characters are Native American, but that doesn’t always mean that it gets translated into the text. I also enjoyed how universal the stories were covered. Just because these two characters are Native American doesn’t mean that any person of any ethnic group can’t have the same situations or feelings in their lives. It is good to have children read this and realize that all people have the same troubles and lives, just in different packages.

 

Happy Reading!

R

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I have to say that I truly enjoyed this book. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading it and it surprised me that it was so good.

Junior is one of those kids that doesn’t see his own potential and only sees himself through other people’s eyes. Through this coming of age story, he learns to see himself and the possibilities that are out there for him.

Junior defies his reservation by going outside the reservation for schooling. He sees what it is like on the reservation and has big plans for his future. He doesn’t want to end up stuck like everyone else that he knows. His sister is a loner that never leaves her room, his parents are drunks (along with all the other parents on the res), and his best friend scares the crap out of him. By leaving, he learns that just because it seems like you are stuck in a situation, you control your destiny. Junior makes one major change in his life and it turns his life upside down. He leaves the res to go to a better school and changes the life of everyone on the res. His sister leaves her room and finds herself married and moved to another res, his parents become more aware of him and start paying attention to him, the people on the res are jealous of his courage to leave and end up hating him and the only one that truly stands behind him in his decision is his grandmother.

The writing in this book is so well done, that it keeps you wanting to know more and more about Junior’s life and what is going to happen to him. I hate to compare this with the Georgia Nicholson books, but it really does remind me of them. Junior is witty and humorous throughout. Alexie doesn’t leave anything out. I believed that a young male was writing this “diary” and thinking all the thoughts that were Junior’s. I definitely recommend this to all readers young and old.