Teen All Iowa Reads Program Resources
The 2023 All Iowa Reads selection for teens is Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley.
About the Book
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the cute, charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions―and deaths―keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Book Discussion Questions
- Daunis exists in many different worlds, and must learn how to navigate them and their various demands on her. How does she balance it all? What does she learn in trying to keep boundaries between her worlds? How does she succeed, or not?
- Daunis often seeks wisdom and guidance from the Elders. Can you describe the role of the Elders in the Ojibwe community? How does this compare to the role of senior citizens in your community?
- Not every Elder is a cultural teacher, and not all cultural teachers are Elders..Trust yourself to know the difference.” What does Aunt Teddie mean by this? Is it advice or is it a warning?
- Why is it so hard for Daunis to acknowledge fault in Levi, unlike how she assumed fault toward Uncle David?
- What did you think of Jamie? Did you like the way Jamie and Daunis’ relationship unfolded and how it ended?
- What did you think of the outcome of the FBI investigation and Daunis’ hard work being unusable in court?
- With Lily’s relationship with Travis - what warning signs indicate that this might not be a healthy relationship? Why do you think Lily kept going back to him?
- If you could create a playlist for this book, what songs would you include?
- Was there something you learned from this novel about Native American culture that surprised/intrigued you or made you want to read more about this topic?
- Are you looking forward to reading other books by this author?
About Author Angelline Boulley
Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is a former Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Angeline lives in southwest Michigan, but her home will always be on Sugar Island. Firekeeper’s Daughter is her debut novel, and was an instant #1 NYT Bestseller. The book has been named the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, the Printz Award, the William C. Morris award for YA debut literature, and was an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor Book. You can find out more about the author at angelineboulley.com.
Image credit: Amber Boulley
Reviews and Interviews
Reviews and interviews with Angeline Boulley and other information about Firekeeper's Daughter:
"This suspenseful upper-YA novel will keep readers wondering who Daunis can trust." ― Horn Book, Starred Review
"A character-driven crime thriller packed with Ojibwe culture and high-stakes tension with themes of identity, trust, and resilience." ― School Library Journal
"Boulley, herself an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, writes from a place of love for her community and shares some key teachings from her culture, even mixing languages within the context of the story. She doesn't shy away from or sugar-coat the very real circumstances that plague reservations across the country, and she tackles these through her biracial hero who gets involved in the criminal investigation into the corruption that led to this pain. An incredible thriller, not to be missed." ―Booklist, Starred Review
Publisher’s Weekly’s Books on Tap Live interview with Angeline Boulley: January 27, 2021
Other Readalikes For Further Reading:
- A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
- Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
- Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth
Find Copies of Firekeeper's Daughter to Borrow
Find out which Iowa libraries have copies of Firekeeper's Daughter to borrow, or find out how to request sets for discussion groups.
Find in Iowa Libraries:
Find on Bridges: Iowa's eLibrary:
Multiple Copies for Discussion Groups:
- For libraries: Each of the six District Offices for the State Library offers copies for libraries to borrow. Contact your local district office to reserve a set.