• Canyon Dreams

  • A Basketball Season on the Navajo Nation
  • By: Michael Powell
  • Narrated by: Darrell Dennis
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The moving story of a Navajo high school basketball team, its members struggling with the everyday challenges of high school, adolescence, and family, and the great and unique obstacles facing Native Americans living on reservations.

Deep in the heart of Northern Arizona, in a small and isolated patch of the vast 17.5 million-acre Navajo reservation, sits Chinle High School. Here, basketball is passion, passed from grandparent to parent to child. Rez Ball is a sport for winters where dark and cold descend fast and there is little else to do but roam mesa tops, work, and wonder what the future holds. The town has 4,500 residents, and the high school arena seats 7,000. Fans drive 30, 50, even 80 miles to see the fast-paced and highly competitive matchups that are more than just games to players and fans.

Celebrated Times journalist Michael Powell brings us a narrative of triumph and hardship, a moving story about a basketball team on a Navajo reservation that shows how important sports can be to youths in struggling communities, and the transcendent magic and painful realities that confront Native Americans living on reservations. This audiobook details his season-long immersion in the team, town, and culture, in which there were exhilarating wins, crushing losses, and conversations on long bus rides across the desert about dreams of leaving home and the fear of the same.

©2019 Michael Powell (P)2019 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"What a beautiful, big-hearted, illuminating book Michael Powell has written. Canyon Dreams is at once particular and universal as we follow the coming of age journey of the Navajo basketball boys of Chinle High." (David Maraniss, author of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero)

"In Canyon Dreams, Michael Powell transports us to a Navajo reservation with an old basketball coach who teaches the X and O’s of hope to a group of high-schoolers who have had little reason to believe it exists. It is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking: I couldn’t put it down." (Joe Drape, author of the New York Times best seller Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen)

"Powell knows his basketball, and his game accounts are exciting, but the real strength of Canyon Dreams is the insight it provides into the unique culture of the reservation." (Booklist)

"Delivering a deeply felt portrait of life.... As exciting as a full-court press and a thoughtful study of young athletes in a world little known to outsiders." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Canyon Dreams

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Rez Ball Fleshed Out

Having had the privilege of living on the Reservation for 25 years, this book is certainly an accurate portrayal of the hold the basketball has on the Navajo Nation. it was well done, poignant, and accurate. I appreciate the passion that the narrator put into this. Made you feel transported to the gym. Very well done and a good read for anyone interested in Navajo life.

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growing up n the rez...

Basketball has been apart of America since inception. I love that it is such a tool for great opportunity.