Friday, March 21, 2014

Rain Is Not My Indian Name

Since there are no Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews today, I thought I'd share a Middle Grade book instead.

Excellent audio edition
of Rain Is Not My Indian Name
available from
Listening Library/Random House Audio
narrated by Jenna Lamia
Rain Is Not My Indian Name
Written by Cynthia Leitich Smith
HarperCollins, 2001
Fiction, ages 10 and up
144 pages

This book was very well written in an authentic voice. Generally teenage angst is not a subject I would rate highly, but Cynthia Leitich Smith has created a compelling glimpse into her character's life. The main character and her world may not be in the realm of many readers' experience, but the writing draws you in, and makes you believe in this girl, sympathize with her, want to know where her journey ends. Thought-provoking and fresh, Rain is Not My Indian Name is high on my list of choices for reluctant readers from middle grade up. One should note there are topics discussed in this book which may be mature for younger readers, but they are handled thoughtfully and with appropriate language.

1. Take a group of teens on a photo scavenger hunt. Make a list of places and objects to photograph or compose a list of crazy stunts like posing your group making faces with a stranger, jumping in the air simultaneously, or all blowing bubbles at the same time (bonus points for taking the shot through a window or in a mirror).
2. Improve your teen's digital photography skills with tips from the Digital Photography School.
3. Subscribe to a photography newsletter for teens.
4. TeenInk publishes articles, photographs, and videos exclusively by young people.
5. Learn more about bridge-building competitions. University of Minnesota Duluth
6. Discover your heritage at the National Archives.
7.  Learn how to research your American Indian* roots step-by-step.
8. If you enjoyed this book, here are a few more you might enjoy.

Indian Shoes,
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Walk Two Moons,
by Sharon Creech
by Pat MacLachlan
Disappearing Act,
by Sid Fleischman

Stay tuned next Friday for another review of books for older readers. Perfect Picture Book Friday will return on April 4, 2014. Please hop to Susanna Leonard Hill's blog to read the entries for the March Madness Fractured fairy tale contest or check Thursday's post for my entry, Goldie and the Three Squirrels. Voting begins next week.

*I use the term American Indian, because one of the elders of the tribe I stayed with several summers ago took offense to the term Native American. He asked me to say Indian or American Indian when referring to his people.

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