November is Native American Heritage Month, and we’re queuing up can’t-miss audiobooks written by Indigenous authors in the United States. From full-cast productions to author-reads, for fans of literary fiction, memoir, poetry, and stories for little listeners—here are our picks for seven audiobooks to hear now.
A New York Times bestseller. A full audio cast brings Tommy Orange’s critically acclaimed novel There There to life. This is the â€śbrilliant, propulsiveâ€ť (People Magazine) story of twelve unforgettable characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day.
“The ensemble cast of narrators does an impressive job of creating distinctive, emotionally resonant characterizations of all 12 protagonists…Of particular note are the voices of Cuervo as Jacquie Redfeather and Kyla Garcia as Jacquieâ€™s sister, Opal. A beautiful performance of a stunning new voice in fiction.”—Booklist
A New York Times Editors’ Choice. Carry is a powerful, poetic memoir about what it means to exist as an Indigenous woman in America, told in snapshots of the authorâ€™s encounters with gun violence.
â€śIn Carry, Jensen scours language to find a new way of writing about how historical injustices seep into the present…With a controlled voice like a Philip Glass composition, smooth, meandering yet repetitive, Jensen considers her troubled past and begins the work of stitching herself back together…An unsettling account that creeps into your bones.â€ť—The New York Times Book Review
Renowned poet Heid E. Erdrichâ€™s Little Big Bully begins with a question: how did we come to this? In answer, this audiobook offers personal myth, American and Native American contexts, and allegories driven by women’s resistance. In a collection that is “a force of nature” (Amy Gerstler), Heid E. Erdrich applies her rich inventive voice and fierce wit to the effects of harassment and oppression.
“Heid E. Erdrich is of German and Ojibwe heritage. Both parts of her background get voices—along with the connections and conflicts between them—in this audio collection of her poetry.”—AudioFile
In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir to create a sweeping history—and counter-narrative—of Native American life from the Wounded Knee massacre to the present.
“Listeners, especially those familiar with the massacre at Wounded Knee, should make time for this history. Treuer’s work is deeply researched, positioning the listener within the histories and first-person accounts of indigenous people of North America and making their experiences and views central to the listening experience…The result is an audiobook that seeks to greatly expand the public’s general knowledge of Native American history. From the history of fraudulent government treaties to the brutality of the Gold Rush, listeners are provided uncompromising accounts of the oppression and violence tribes have experienced.”—AudioFile
What does it mean if a hawk appears in a dream? Spirits of the Earth is an extraordinary compilation of legends and rituals about nature’s ever-present signs. From the birds that soar above us to the insects beneath our feet, Native American healer Bobby Lake-Thom shows how the creatures of the earth can aid us in healing and self-knowledge in this audiobook thatâ€™s the first of its kind.
Uplifting Stories for Kids
She Persisted: Maria Tallchief is a chapter book biography by award-winning author Christine Day, young listeners learn about the amazing life of Maria Tallchief. Maria Tallchief loved to dance, but was told that she might need to change her Osage name to one that sounded “more Russian” to make it as a professional ballerina. She refused, and became America’s first prima ballerina.
From Joseph Bruchac, the U.S.’s foremost Indigenous children’s author, comes Rez Dogs a middle grade verse novel set during the COVID-19 pandemic, about a Wabanaki girl’s quarantine on her grandparents’ reservation and the local dog that becomes her best friend.
“Deftly handles weighty issues and provides readers a story they can connect with…[A] dose of hope for the future.”—School Library Journal, starred review
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