Rez Dogs – book review

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Rez Dogs
by Joseph Bruchac
Novel in Verse
Realistic Fiction
for tweens (grades 4-8)
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Malian is visiting her grandparents on the Wabanaki reservation when the pandemic forces everyone to lock down. She can’t return to her family in the city, so she tries to make the best of a flaky internet connection to keep up with her classes, and phone calls and video chats with her folks. Shortly after the lock down begins, a large, mysterious dog adopts Malian and her grandparents. Although Malsum (the dog) rarely enters the house, he keeps a watchful eye on them and protects them from dangers (sick mailman, social services worker, authorities). Although Malian misses her normal life, she loves her grandparents, their stories, and her people’s culture, which is shared in this novel in verse and also with Malian’s classmates who know very little about the Wabanaki or life on the reservation. It’s a quiet and patient story that kids who have lived/are living through the pandemic will relate to – the disruptions, anxieties, changes we all experienced/are experiencing in our lives – while also sharing the stories of Malian’s people.

Reviewed by YA Librarian