The Absolutely True Diary

of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

It's not easy living on the rez. And it's even harder attending school off of it.

Junior as he is known on the Spokane Indian Reservation, is a misfit among his own people. Born with excess fluid around his brain, he wasn't expected to live beyond six months. He's now 14, skinny, has a lisp, ugly glasses, giant hands, giant feet and a giant head. He gets beat up regularly. But he's smart and when a teacher suggests he leave the reservation to attend public school in nearby Reardan, he knows it's his only shot at a future. Is he brave enough to endure the hatred and discrimination he faces at his new school? Is he strong enough to deal with the hatred his own people now feel for him? Where do you belong when you're a part-time Indian? Sherman Alexie explores these issues in the National Book Award winner, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. (Image courtesy of
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Junior turns to his artwork to help sort through his feelings. The image above, taken from page 43 of the book, sums up what Junior knows to be true.
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Other books to check out

If you liked The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, then you might like these titles as well:
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Peña
  • Does my Head Look big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Websites to Visit

Do you want to know more about the author, the Spokane Tribe or find other good books for high schoolers? Visit these sites:

Sherman Alexie:
Spokane Tribe of Indians:
Indian Heritage Foundation:
Native American Literature (Encyclopaedia Britannica):
Tayshas High School Reading List: