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Publisher's Summary

Four starred reviews!

From the US' foremost Indigenous children's author comes 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.

Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She’s there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There’s a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration.

Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family and community safe: She protects her grandparents, and they protect her. She doesn’t go outside to play with friends, she helps her grandparents use video chat, and she listens to and learns from their stories. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian’s family knows that he’ll protect them, too.

Told in verse inspired by oral storytelling, this novel about the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the ways Malian’s community has cared for one another through plagues of the past and how they keep caring for one another today.

©2021 Joseph Bruchac (P)2021 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

Kirkus Reviews Best Books
School Library Journal Best Books 
NPR Books We Love
NCTE/CLA Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts Award
Nerdy Book Club Award—Best Poetry and Novels in Verse
Chicago Public Library Best Fiction for Younger Readers 
Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Finalist
NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books
North Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee
Wisconsin's Just One More Page Reading List

“Hidden throughout this moving novel in verse, old stories are discovered like buried treasures.”—Kirkus, starred review

“Bruchac intricately interweaves past and present stories . . . in this rewarding intergenerational narrative.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Story telling is an important part of culture, and Bruchac is a masterful storyteller who weaves culture with narrative."—School Library Connection, starred review

What listeners say about Rez Dogs

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Librarian’s opinion

Rez Dogs is a beautiful ‘oral history’ on Native Americans in their own language and stories. Beautifully written on a young person’s voice. I love the sentiment…you should not be sorry for the past unless you are doing nothing for the future!