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Children’s Books by Native Americans

by | Nov 22, 2019 | Chapter Books, Children, Picture Books

The last quarter of each year brings a renewed focus on gratefulness. Thanksgiving and the holiday season entreat people to really think about what is important in life. I would hazard a guess that for most, family and friends are high on the list. It is also a good time to reflect on our collective history and the stories we share with people about that history.

People and stories make a difference in our lives. This Thanksgiving let’s share stories that we may not hear as often as others, those from Indigenous authors and illustrators.  And, good news, it looks like there will be even more voices to hear from soon. Harper Collins announced that they will be starting an imprint, Heartdrum, in 2021 dedicated to “publishing books by Native creators that introduce young Native protagonists.” Yay!

Below is a list of books written and/or illustrated by Native Americans.  Check out or order them at any Heights Libraries branch!

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

Birdsong by Julie Flett

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith


Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard

Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (coming 2020)

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson


We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

First Laugh Welcome Baby by Rose Ann Tahe

Little You by Richard Van Camp


More book lists and resources:

American Indians in Children’s Literature – blog dedicated to analyzing books with indigenous people as characters run by Dr. Debbie Reese and Dr. Jean Mendoza

American Indian Youth Literature Award – lists of award winning books chosen by the American Indian Library Association dating back to 2006

Native Knowledge 360 – Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian offers a framework for teaching Native American history and cultures

Cynsations – Author Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blog features author/illustrator interviews and book reviews