Alexie, S. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time indian. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company
Reading/Interest Level: Ages 12+
Plot: Arnold Spirit is a 14-year-old dork. Life on the Spokane Indian reservation in Wellpinit, Washington is neither interesting nor glamorous -- it is downright dangerous for Arnold, who often gets beat up. Arnold faces many trials and tribulations from moving to a school off the reservation where rich kids go, to losing his dog, grandmother and his older sister. Arnold finds escape through the cartoons that he draws, cartoons that the readers can experience firsthand as they read Arnold's journey to overcome stereotypes, poverty and tragedy of reservation life.
Personal Thoughts: Ellen Forney's drawings are the added bonus that makes the story more fun for young readers. Sherman Alexie writes a straightforward story where young readers can feel sympathy for the main character and understand his need to find a place where his brains and basketball skills will be accepted. Reservation life and the struggles with alcoholism and poverty that people face may seem harsh, but reading this book will offer readers a chance to see what perseverance and a positive attitude will get you. The pace of this book is quick and it can be read rather quickly; even unenthusiastic readers will find this book easy to get through.