Book Reviews / books / YA Cafe Podcast

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

This week we discuss an indigenous #ownvoices novel, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, and how we as teachers can assist with Truth and Reconciliation. (Transcript)
54 The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

In today’s episode…

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Demaline

In a world wrecked by global warming, most people have lost the ability to dream. The state believes the answer to this loss is inside the bones of Indigenous people, and they try desperately to steal it. This is the world where French and his friends are on the run—they grow as their own family and try to stay away from the “schools” the government has created for their people. And although their government envies and despises them, they work to build a life together. They will stand with, love, and guard each other, no matter the dangers.


These Show Notes use Amazon Affiliate Links for your convenience.
If you decide to purchase this book, please consider doing so through our affiliate links.
Your support makes this podcast possible.


Episode highlights…


*1:11 We hear a recommendation from listener, Carly who suggested this book to us

*4:33 The characters’ connection to the past through their Language

*7:12 We really appreciate how Cheri Dimaline handled her characters past trauma

Things We Like A Latte

Danielle  – Disney Medley in One Take feat. Alan Menken, and the starts of Aladdin on Broadway, Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Inglehart

Amanda – The Tetris Effect for PlayStation 4





*12:09 Story, with a capital “S”

*15:58 We talk about Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, specifically one in Canada that Carly mentioned in her recommendation

*17:46 We disagree slightly about the takeaway point of this novel


Want book recommendations delivered to your inbox?
Sign up for the YA Reads Monthly Newsletter!


More ideas and resources for teachers and librarians…

According to an article from The Conscious Kid, “Only 1% of the children’s books published in the U.S. in 2016 featured Indigenous characters, and even fewer (1/4 of the 1% = 8 books total) were written by Indigenous authors.” 

We featured another example of indigenous futurism in episode 19 of the podcast, Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, book one of her Sixth World series. We highly recommend it for any classroom library.

You can also check out this listicle from BookRiot, 6 YA Novels by Indigenous Women Authors.

And this article from YA Interrobang talks about the importance of #ownvoices representation in publishing. Dr. Adrienne Keene says in that article, “I want Native peoples to be able to represent ourselves. I love the idea of Indigenous science fiction, of indigenous futurisms, of indigenous fanfiction, and indigenous characters in things comics and superhero storylines. I know it can be done, and it can be done right and done well. But it has to be done carefully … and frankly, I want Native peoples to write it. We’ve been misrepresented by outsiders every which-way, and it’s time for us to reclaim our stories and images, and push them into the future, ourselves.

If you want to read more about calls for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission here in America you can check out this article from the Carnegie Council, or this blog post from Reuters.

54 The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Get in touch with us on Instagram and Twitter at @yacafepodcast or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!



Hosts: Danielle Hall (who blogs at

          & Amanda Thrasher (a booklover extraordinaire)

Producer: Leila Hobbs

Music: Matt McCammon


  • […] will stand with, love, and guard each other, no matter the dangers. We talked about this book on episode 54 of the YA Cafe […]

  • Kelli Antonson
    January 17, 2023 at 10:56 am

    Hello — I’ve added this book to my curriculum this year, and I’m really excited, but I was wondering if you had a unit plan or any sample assignments to share as a jumping off point for when I’m planning for just this first year. There are hardly any resources online, which is awesome when it comes to kids not just reading sparknotes, but that also makes it challenging to plan without spending EONS of time 😀 Thank you so much for any tips you can share! **Note: I teach sophomores.

    • Carina Assayed
      May 14, 2023 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Kelli,

      I am sure your sophomores are going to be so engaged while reading this novel! Although Danielle nor I have any unit plan or sample assignments for this novel specifically, I personally LOVE teaching dystopian literature. One of my most recent posts includes some inclusive ideas for introducing students to what dystopias are and their potential affects on various communities–both real and fictional. I am currently reading Fahrenheit 451 with my freshmen as it’s required at my school, but I used several of these diverse short texts as anticipatory and concluding activities. I hope this is helpful, even if as a starting point!

      Carina Assayed
      – Nouvelle ELA Blog Manager


Leave a Reply