Coverart for item
The Resource The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie ; art by Ellen Forney

The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie ; art by Ellen Forney

Label
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian
Title
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian
Statement of responsibility
by Sherman Alexie ; art by Ellen Forney
Creator
Contributor
Illustrator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry, 2008.
  • California Young Reader Medal, Young Adult, 2010.
  • Delaware Diamonds (book award), High School, 2009.
  • Great Lakes Great Books Award (Michigan), Grades 9-12, 2009.
  • National Book Award for Young People's Literature, 2007.
  • New York Times Notable Children's Book, 2007
  • School Library Journal Best Books, 2007.
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2008
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2010
  • YALSA Outstanding Book for the College Bound, 2009.
Review
  • Gr. 7-10 Arnold Spirit, a goofy-looking dork with a decent jumpshot, spends his time lamenting life on the "poor-ass" Spokane Indian reservation, drawing cartoons (which accompany, and often provide more insight than, the narrative),à and, along with his aptly named pal Rowdy, laughing those laughs over anything and nothing that affix best friends so intricately together. When a teacher pleads with Arnold to want more, to escape the hopelessness of the rez, Arnold switches to a rich white school and immediately becomes as much an outcast in his own community as he is a curiosity in his new one. He weathers the typical teenage indignations and triumphs like a champ but soon faces far more trying ordeals as his home life begins to crumble and decay amidst the suffocating mire of alcoholism on the reservation. Alexie's humor and prose are easygoing and well suited to his young audience, and he doesn't pull many punches as he levels his eye at stereotypes both warranted and inapt. A few of the plotlines fade to gray by the end, but this ultimately affirms the incredible power of best friends to hurt and heal in equal measure. Younger teens looking for the strength to lift themselves out of rough situations would do well to start here. -- Chipman, Ian (Reviewed 08-01-2007) (Booklist, vol 103, number 22, p61)
  • /* Starred Review */ Gr 7–10— Exploring Indian identity, both self and tribal, Alexie's first young adult novel is a semiautobiographical chronicle of Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian from Wellpinit, WA. The bright 14-year-old was born with water on the brain, is regularly the target of bullies, and loves to draw. He says, "I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats." He expects disaster when he transfers from the reservation school to the rich, white school in Reardan, but soon finds himself making friends with both geeky and popular students and starting on the basketball team. Meeting his old classmates on the court, Junior grapples with questions about what constitutes one's community, identity, and tribe. The daily struggles of reservation life and the tragic deaths of the protagonist's grandmother, dog, and older sister would be all but unbearable without the humor and resilience of spirit with which Junior faces the world. The many characters, on and off the rez, with whom he has dealings are portrayed with compassion and verve, particularly the adults in his extended family. Forney's simple pencil cartoons fit perfectly within the story and reflect the burgeoning artist within Junior. Reluctant readers can even skim the pictures and construct their own story based exclusively on Forney's illustrations. The teen's determination to both improve himself and overcome poverty, despite the handicaps of birth, circumstances, and race, delivers a positive message in a low-key manner. Alexie's tale of self-discovery is a first purchase for all libraries.—Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library --Chris Shoemaker (Reviewed September 1, 2007) (School Library Journal, vol 53, issue 9, p190)
  • /* Starred Review */ Screenwriter, novelist and poet, Alexie bounds into YA with what might be a Native American equivalent of Angela’s Ashes, a coming-of-age story so well observed that its very rootedness in one specific culture is also what lends it universality, and so emotionally honest that the humor almost always proves painful. Presented as the diary of hydrocephalic 14-year-old cartoonist and Spokane Indian Arnold Spirit Jr., the novel revolves around Junior’s desperate hope of escaping the reservation. As he says of his drawings, “I think the world is a series of broken dams and floods, and my cartoons are tiny little lifeboats.” He transfers to a public school 22 miles away in a rich farm town where the only other Indian is the team mascot. Although his parents support his decision, everyone else on the rez sees him as a traitor, an apple (“red on the outside and white on the inside”), while at school most teachers and students project stereotypes onto him: “I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other.” Readers begin to understand Junior’s determination as, over the course of the school year, alcoholism and self-destructive behaviors lead to the deaths of close relatives. Unlike protagonists in many YA novels who reclaim or retain ethnic ties in order to find their true selves, Junior must separate from his tribe in order to preserve his identity. Jazzy syntax and Forney’s witty cartoons examining Indian versus White attire and behavior transmute despair into dark humor; Alexie’s no-holds-barred jokes have the effect of throwing the seriousness of his themes into high relief. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed August 20, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 33, p70)
  • /* Starred Review */ Alexie nimbly blends sharp wit with unapologetic emotion in his first foray into young-adult literature. Fourteen-year-old Junior is a cartoonist and bookworm with a violent but protective best friend Rowdy. Soon after they start freshman year, Junior boldly transfers from a school on the Spokane reservation to one in a tiny white town 22 miles away. Despite his parents' frequent lack of gas money (they're a "poor-ass family"), racism at school and many crushing deaths at home, he manages the year. Rowdy rejects him, feeling betrayed, and their competing basketball teams take on mammoth symbolic proportions. The reservation's poverty and desolate alcoholism offer early mortality and broken dreams, but Junior's knowledge that he must leave is rooted in love and respect for his family and the Spokane tribe. He also realizes how many other tribes he has, from "the tribe of boys who really miss . . . their best friends" to "the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa lovers." Junior's keen cartoons sprinkle the pages as his fluid narration deftly mingles raw feeling with funny, sardonic insight. (Fiction. YA) (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007)
Awards note
A Junior Library Guild selection
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
185963
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1966-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Alexie, Sherman
Dewey number
[Fic]
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
no index present
Intended audience
  • 600L
  • Decoding demand: 95 (very high)
  • Semantic demand: 100 (very high)
  • Syntactic demand: 85 (very high)
  • Structure demand: 84 (very high)
Intended audience source
  • Lexile
  • Lexile
Interest level
UG
LC call number
PZ7.A382
LC item number
Ab 2007
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 7
  • 10
Reading level
4
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Forney, Ellen
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Spokane Indians
  • Indians of North America
  • Indian reservations
  • Race relations
  • Spokane Indians
  • Indians of North America
  • Indian reservations
  • Race relations
  • Diaries
Target audience
adolescent
Label
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie ; art by Ellen Forney
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
647022
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
229 pages
Isbn
9780316013680
Isbn Type
(hc.)
Lccn
2007022799
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780316013680
  • (OCoLC)154698238
Label
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie ; art by Ellen Forney
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
647022
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
229 pages
Isbn
9780316013680
Isbn Type
(hc.)
Lccn
2007022799
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780316013680
  • (OCoLC)154698238

Library Locations

    • Carver BranchBorrow it
      1161 Angelina St., Austin, TX, 78702, US
      30.2695584 -97.7240278
    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
    • North Village BranchBorrow it
      2505 Steck Ave, Austin, TX, 78757, US
      30.362144 -97.7305032
    • Old Quarry BranchBorrow it
      7051 Village Center Dr., Austin, TX, 78731, US
      30.3529975 -97.7551561
    • Willie Mae Kirk BranchBorrow it
      3101 Oak Springs Dr., Austin, TX, 78723, US
      30.2729762 -97.699748
    • Windsor Park BranchBorrow it
      5833 Westminster Dr., Austin, TX, 78723, US
      30.3116523 -97.6902298
Processing Feedback ...