Reviewed by Debbie Reese
Monday, October 12 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. There will be many virtual events taking place. Top of my list is the one from Arizona State University. Eric Gansworth will open their day of events. When you click on through to register for his lecture (at noon, Central Time) you will see that Gansworth was selected to deliver the 2020 lecture in the prestigious Simon Ortiz Red Ink Indigenous Speaker Series. People in Native studies or who study the writing and scholarship of Native people will recognize names of people who have given that lecture. In the field, being selected to give that lecture has tremendous significance. Videos for most of the talks are available at the site. If you are new to your work in learning about Native writing, make time to watch and study all of them!
Gansworth will be talking about his new book, Apple (Skin to the Core). Across the hundreds of Native Nations, our life experiences differ. Census information has shown that about half of us grow up in suburban or urban areas. I’m glad to see books set in those spaces.
Some of us grew up on our homelands or on reservations. Native-authored books for children and young adults that reflect a reservation sense-of-place with the integrity that Gansworth brings to his writing, are rare. On Indigenous Peoples Day, I’ll be giving a talk, too. My audience will be Pueblo peoples. I expect a large segment of the audience to be people who are living on their Pueblo homelands. And so, I’m emphasizing books like Apple (Skin to the Core) that will speak directly to a reservation-based experience. Of course, everyone should read it and Gansworth’s other two books, If I Ever Get Out of Here and Give Me Some Truth. Continue reading.
Apple by Eric Gansworth
Published by Levine Querido on October 6, 2020
Genres: American Indians, First Nations, Metis, Inuit
Reading Level: High School
Review Source: American Indians in Children's Literature
Publisher's synopsis: How about a book that makes you barge into your boss's office to read a page of poetry from? That you dream of? That every movie, song, book, moment that follows continues to evoke in some way?
The term "Apple" is a slur in Native communities across the country. It's for someone supposedly "red on the outside, white on the inside."
Eric Gansworth is telling his story in Apple (Skin to the Core). The story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.
Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.