The Best Recent and Upcoming Indigenous Stories to Add to Your TBR

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Mara Franzen

Staff Writer

Mara (They/Them) has accidentally on purpose made their entire life about books and stories. Mara graduated with a B.A in creative writing and theatre and is halfway through an MFA in Creative writing. In addition to writing for Book Riot, Mara also has written for The Independent Book Review, Wargamer, and The Other Half, to name a few. They also work as a fiction editor with The Minison Project. Nearly all of their published articles can be found here.

PiqueBeyond and Hunting by Stars by Cherie Dimaline

A heart-stopping story of hope from the bestselling author of The Marrow Thieves. Years ago, plagues and natural disasters killed millions and left survivors unable to dream, except for the Indigenous people of North America. Now, residential schools are set up—or re-opened—to harvest their dreams. Seventeen-year-old French is traveling with a group of other dreamers, trying to build and thrive as a community. But when French awakes alone in a pitch-black room, he knows exactly where he is—and what it will take to escape. Meanwhile, his found family searches for him, dodging new dangers. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he’ll go—and who he’s willing to betray—in order to survive.

As we look towards finishing up our 2021 reading goals and setting our goals for 2022, it’s always exciting to see what new books are coming out. But even as we look forward to finding new books to add to our list, it can be hard to locate exactly the right books for us. To make matters even more complicated, with COVID affecting publishing supply lines, there’s a huge push to preorder books as soon as possible.

Independent bookstores, publishers, and authors with books coming out are all worried about these issues, so it’s important to be planing your book purchases as far in advance as possible! That being the case, and with the holidays coming up, it’s time to be on the lookout for books to add to your want-to-read pile or gift to a loved one in your life. As you begin the hunt for the next perfect book, below is a list of eight upcoming and recently published Indigenous books for you to add to your preorder list. While some of these books are newly published, a few are still slated to be published late this year or early 2022. Coming from many genres, this list is sure to have a few books that spark your interest.

The Bear is My Father by Bear Heart and Reginah Waterspirit cover

The Bear is My Father by Bear Heart and Reginah WaterSpirit

The Bear is my Father is part memoir, part biography of Bear Heart, one of the last traditionally trained medicine men of Muscogee Creek. Written with his spouse, Reginah, Bear Heart tells the story of his life teaching others his practice and traveling around the country as a multi-tribe medicine man. There are also first-person accounts written by those who knew and learned from him.

The expected publication date is: December 7, 2021

Gichigami Hearts cover

Gichigami Hearts: Stories and Histories from Misaabekong by Linda LeGarde Grover

A collection of nonfiction essays and short stories from before Duluth, Minnesota, was called Duluth. Linda Legare Grover tells the stories of her Ojibwe ancestors as they lived and grew in Misaabekong. A blending of the well documented, and the nearly forgotten, Gichigami Hearts is for fans of history and story alike.

The expected publication date is: October 26, 2021

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich book cover

The Sentence by Louise Erdich

A ghost story that spans exactly one year, The Sentence is the newest release from renowned author Louise Erdich. Set in a bookstore in Minneapolis Minnesota, we follow an employee Tookie, and a very annoying customer turned ghost named Flora. Spanning from November 2019 to November 2020, this book is a mystery of how to move through so much turmoil and deal with ghosts both literal and figurative.

The expected publication date is: November 9, 2021

When Two Feathers Fell From the Sky book cover

When Two Feathers Fell From the Sky by Margaret Verble

Set in 1926 Nashville, When Two Feathers Fell From the Sky is about a young Cherokee woman named Two Feathers who must find her place in a deeply segregated world when she doesn’t seem to fit. Together she and her friend Hank struggle to make it in the horse showing world, and when disaster strikes one of their shows, strange occurrences seem to follow them. A blend of historical fiction and magical realism makes this is an unforgettable story.

Cover of Fevered Star

Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse

The much-anticipated sequel to Black Sun, Fevered Star is a high fantasy story steeped in pre-Columbian history, mythology, and folklore told from the perspectives of multiple people across the land of Meridian. After the events of the first book leave the city of Tova shattered, sheer chaos envelops the land. Unlikely alliances will be formed and existing alliances just might hit their breaking point.

The expected publication date is: April 9, 2022

Cover of My Heart Is A Chainsaw

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

Jade Daniels is an outcast. The only place she seems to be able to find solace is in horror movies, especially ones where the villain is out to get all who wronged them. That is until actual murders start occurring, and Jade is thrown into the center of it all. My Heart is a Chainsaw is about finding belonging, truth, and confronting the hidden corners of ourselves we’d rather keep in the dark.

Poet Warrior: A Memoir book cover

Poet Warrior: A Memoir by Joy Harjo

As the first Native American to serve as Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo writes about her time discovering her poetic voice. She tells tales from her ancestors and the voices who shaped her and details her journey to become a Poet Warrior. Part song, part poetry, part history, Poet Warrior is a story of love for writing and perseverance.

Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity by Darrel J McLeod

Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity by Darrel J. McLeod

Peyakow is a memoir about healing, finding your identity, and living through generational trauma. As a young, Native queer man, McLeod had his share of hardships and letdowns. But through it all, he continued to push and make a name for himself. This story follows him as he works as a principal, chief treaty negotiator, and a representative of the indigenous delegation to the United Nations. A blend of the past and present, this is a powerful narrative about reclamation and dignity.

Whether these must-read books are newly out or soon to be published, there is no better time for you to locate a copy to buy or preorder. This is only a small taste of the best recent and forthcoming Indigenous stories, so you can look forward to many more coming soon.