By Julie Muhlstein
For the past month, people in the Tulalip community have been reading Alexie's young-adult novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." Like the book's main character, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.
Alexie, winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and other prestigious literary prizes, will talk about the book at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Orca Ballroom of the Tulalip Resort Casino, 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd.
Brooke Waite-Kellar, site manager of the Northwest Indian College-Tulalip, said Tulalip Reads for Unity was made possible by a donation from the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund. About 260 free copies of "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" were distributed to people on the Tulalip Reservation, "from middle-schoolers to elders," Waite-Kellar said. Alexie's appearance is one of several events planned for Tulalip Reads for Unity.
Using Absolutely True Diary for such a program is a good idea. The book is culturally appropriate for Indians in general and Pacific Northwest Indians in particular. Since it's a young-adult novel, it shouldn't be intimidating to adults. One hopes it'll encourage reading while instilling a bit of Native pride.
For more on the subject, see Bestselling Native Children's Books and Classmates Thought Alexie Would Shoot Them.