Young Adult Lit/Crit

February 3, 2008

Junior/Arnold’s Picks

Filed under: "True Diary of a Part Time Indian", Favorite YA Titles — sostrom @ 4:20 pm

I realize they may not all fit into the YA Lit category, but Junior/Arnold/Alexie recommend them (from pg. 177):

1. The Grapes of Wrath

2. Catcher in the Rye 

3. Fat Kid Rules the World

4. Tangerine

5. Feed

6. Catalyst

7. Invisible Man

8. Fools Crow

9. Jar of Fools 


  1. Thanks for posting this list Sarah. The unfamiliar and most telling it turns out title here for me is JAR OF FOOLS, which tells the tale of an alcoholic stage magician. I did a bit of browsing to determine why this title is significant for Alexie. Take a look at this Wikipedia entry on what I learned is first a comic strip, then an anthology and then, surprise but no surprise, a graphic novel. And guess who wrote the introduction to the novel? Check it out.

    Another title that might be unfamliar to some of you (but by an author you will want to know more about) is Jim Welch’s FOOLS CROW, a novel I used years ago in my h.s. classroom. Here is the Publisher’s Weekly summary worth sharing for the connection between the novel’s emphasis on the loss of the culture and INDIAN. Welch, who died too young (62) 5 years ago, is of the Blackfeet tribe. I would assume that Welch has been an important writing mentor for the younger Alexie.

    “Suspenseful and moving, written with an authenticity and integrity that give it sweeping power, Welch’s third novel is a masterful evocation of a Native American culture and its passing. From their lodges on the endless Montana plains, the members of the Lone Eaters band of the Pikuni (Blackfeet) Indians live in harmony with nature, hunting the “blackhorns” (buffalo), observing a complex system of political administration based on mutual respect and handing down legends that explain the natural world and govern daily conduct. The young protagonist is first called White Man’s Dog, but earns the respected name Fools Crow for meritorious conduct in battle. Through his eyes we watch the escalating tensions between the Pikunis and the white men (“the Napikwans”), who deliberately violate treaties and initiate hostilities with the hard-pressed red men. At the same time, the feared “white scabs plague” (smallpox) decimates the Lone Eaters communities, and they realize that their days are numbered. There is much to savor in this remarkable book: the ease with which Fools Crow and his brethren converse with animals and spirits, the importance of dreams in their daily lives, the customs and ceremonies that measure the natural seasons and a person’s lifespan. Without violating the patterns of Native American speech, Welsh writes in prose that surges and sings. This bittersweet story is an outstanding work.”

    Comment by sunyprof — February 3, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  2. Which INVISIBLE MAN? Pro’ly Ellison’s, right? Do you think this list would mirror Alexie’s own?
    I put up my own list of authors on one of the other, um whaddaya call’em, blog-track-discussion-board-link-pages.

    Comment by jwill7 — February 4, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  3. Yea, I think so, Ellison would resonate with Alexie and yea I think this is his list…but it could be HG Wells’ novel, “The Invisible Man.” I don’t think so though. Yes, I saw your list and wrote you a note back (email). KES

    Comment by sunyprof — February 5, 2008 @ 12:42 am

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