Alexie, S. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. NY: Little Brown.
Junior is living on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He was born with many medical problems that make him a target for bullying by everyone on the “rez” except his best friend Rowdy. Rowdy is a brutal bully himself, but has always protected Junior. When a teacher comes to Junior to tell him he needs to get out of the rez to make something of himself, Junior decides he is right. Junior starts attending a school in Reardon, off the reservation. Even though this means losing his best friend and being treated as a traitor by the other residents of the reservation. During his time at the school, Junior is faced with several tragedies. He must deal with the death of his beloved grandmother, his father’s best friend, and his sister. Along the way, Junior discovers how strong he is and how many opportunities are out there for him if he continues to work hard. This book is an eye opening and hilarious read. This book made me laugh out loud and tear up at the same time. One characteristic of a good book is how the setting can play an important part in the story. The author had to really describe the life on the reservation carefully so readers would understand the way of life there without compromising the story events.
I suggest that this book be used with grades 9-12. It does contain some mature content, so definitely preview the book before using with students.
A great teaching guide to use with this book can be found HERE!