Posted in book reviews, comic books/graphic novels, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Surviving the City

Surviving the City by Tasha Spillett, illustrated by Natasha Donovan

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*Published March 1, 2019*

This was another book that I had chosen to read and do a book talk for Native American Heritage Month for my library. It’s definitely a book that talks about something that directly impacts Native American women more than nearly any other and it does so in a way that isn’t trashy or all about objectifying Native American women more.

Surviving the City by Tasha Spillet

Tasha Spillett’s graphic novel debut,Surviving the City, is a story about womanhood, friendship, colonialism, and the anguish of a missing loved one. Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape – they’re so close, they even completed their Berry Fast together. However, when Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can’t stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can’t bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez’s community find her before it’s too late? Will Miikwan be able to cope if they don’t?

What would you do if your friend, whose homelife isn’t that great to begin with, decided not to go home after school one day? And what would you do if this felt similar to how your mother disappeared? Would you call the police? Would you think “oh, she’s fine.” Or would you do all that you could to find your friend?

For Miikwan, this is exactly what happens and as Tasha Spillett shows the world what is going on in the heads of girls and women alike when a friend, a sister, a loved one goes missing and you know the probability of her not coming back is high. Miikwan and Dez are two best friends and you can feel it in the way Tasha talks about their ceremonies, not only with each other but with the mother figure at their school. You can also tell that Miikwan is nervous and desperate for Dez to respond to her when Miikwan hears that Dez hasn’t come home but she’s still reading her texts.

As Miikwan learns how she can lead change and trust in herself and her culture, we also see that Dez is learning as well. We can see that Dez, while desperate not to be taken away from her grandmother who is her guardian, does what most teenagers would do and runs away. She finds help and is able to return to her school, her friend, and her home. She comes home safely, which is more than a lot of Indigenous women can say.

This story shows that there are always ghosts hanging around us, and sometimes those ghosts can help us. But we want to stop the creation of these ghosts and let every girl and woman who goes missing the ability to come back. To come back to their homes and families and loved ones. The ghosts of our pasts can help influence our future, a future where we will hopefully not have as many ghosts of Indigenous women around us.

Posted in books, ebook, goodreads, reading, writing

Tiny Navajo Reads: Thursday Three Native American Novels

Hi guys! Today is Thursday and we are so close to the weekend! So excited for the weekend! Anyway, today’s Thursday Threes is all about Native American novels as it is Native American History Month. They are going to be either ones that I’ve read or ones that I want to read. I’ll be sure to let you know which one it is.

trail of lightning

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

code talker

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila


#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy

These are three books written by Native Americans about Native Americans. I have read two of these, Trail of Lightning and #Notyourprincess, and I want to read Code Talker at some point.

What books about Native Americans have you read? Do you want to read more books that focus on Native Americans? Comment below and let me know!