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Our Stories: Native Americans in Books for Children

The books listed are a sampling of the titles available. Ask your Children's Librarian for further suggestions and tell us which are your favorites.

Picture Stories

image of book covers

Doesn’t Fall Off His Horse
by Virginia A. Stroud. (Cherokee).

An old Kiowa warrior tells his great-granddaughter a story of daring from his youth on the Oklahoma plains.

(jPS STRO) Ages 5-9
Dreamcatcher
by Audrey Osofsky. Illustrated by Ed Young.

A quiet story about how the Ojibwa people weave dream catchers to keep away bad dreams.

(jPS OSOF) Ages 6-10
Jingle Dancer
by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek). Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu.

A Muscogee girl is determined to dance like her grandmother at the next powwow.

(jPS SMIT) Ages 4-8
Morning on the Lake
by Jan Bourdeau Waboose (Ojibway). Illustrated by Karen Reczuch.

An Anishinabe boy learns respect for the ways of nature during a day spent with his grandfather.

(jPS WABO) Ages 4-9
Muskrat Will Be Swimming
by Cheryl Savageau (Abenaki). Illustrated by Robert Hynes.

Grandpa uses a Seneca creation story to help a contemporary Native American girl overcome her classmates’ taunting.

(jPS SAVA) Ages 6-10
The Range Eternal
by Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibway). Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.

A young mother fondly remembers the old woodstove that warmed her family in South Dakota where she grew up.

(jPS ERDR) Ages 5-8
Red Bird
by Barbara Mitchell. Illustrated by Todd L.W. Doney.

A city girl dances at the Nanticoke Indian powwow held annually at a farm in Delaware.

(jPS MITC) Ages 5-9
The Seasons and Someone
by Virginia L. Kroll. Illustrated by Tatsuro Kiuchi.

A poetic account of a year in the life of a young Eskimo (Inuit) girl and her love of summer berries.

(jPS KROL) Ages 5-9
The Star People: A Lakota Story
by S.D. Nelson (Standing Rock Sioux).

Sister Girl and her younger brother are lost after a prairie fire, but led back home by the spirit of their deceased grandmother.

(jPS NELS) Ages 6-9
Also:
Gift Horse: A Lakota Story
What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses?
by Richard Van Camp (Dogrib). Illustrated by George Littlechild (Plains Cree).

A Dogrib boy wonders about an animal he has never seen in his Northwest Territories Canadian home.

(jPS VANC) Ages 5-10
Also:
A Man Called Raven
Where Did You Get Your Moccasins?
by Bernelda Wheeler (Cree/Salteaux). Illustrated by Herman Bekkering.

At school, an urban boy explains how his grandmother hand made his beaded moccasins following traditional methods.

(jPS WHEE) Ages 3-7

Legends & Folklore

Baby Rattlesnake
by Te Ata (Chickasaw). Adapted by Lynn Moroney. Illustrated by Mira Reisberg.

An elder tells the tale of how a little rattlesnake learns to use its rattle wisely.

(j398.2452 ATA) Ages 3-7
Coyote Fights the Sun: A Shasta Indian Tale
by Mary J. Carpelan (Shasta/Cahuilla).

A distraught father blames the sun for his own mistake in thinking that spring had arrived.

(j398.2089 CARP) Ages 5-8
Fire Race: A Karuk Coyote Tale
by Johathan London, with Larry Pinola (Pomo/Miwok). Illustrated by Sylvia Long.

Coyote steals fire from the Yellow Jacket sisters in this action-packed legend from the northwest of California.

(j398.2 LOND) Ages 4-9
The Girl Who Married the Moon: Tales from Native North America
by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) & Gayle Ross (Cherokee). Illustrated by S. S. Burrus (Cherokee).

A collection of 16 lesser known tales that give fresh focus to girls and young women in traditional cultures.

(j398.2089 BRUC) Ages 9-13

Also:

Between Earth and Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places; The Story of the Milky Way
and other titles.
The People With Five Fingers: A Native Californian Creation Tale
by John Bierhorst. Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker.

Helped by all the other animals, Coyote plants the seeds that become the many peoples of the land.

(j398.2089 BIER) Ages 6-10

Also:

The Deetkatoo: Native American Stories About Little People; Doctor Coyote: A Native American Aesop’s Fables; and other titles.
Storm Maker’s Tipi

 

by Paul Goble.

A Great Plains survival story that explains the origin of the Blackfoot tipi. Included are directions for making a model.

(j398.2089 GOBL) Ages 6-11

Also: Buffalo Woman; Crow Chief; The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses; Her Seven Brothers; and other titles.

Two Bear Cubs: A Miwok Legend from California’s Yosemite Valley
by Robert D. San Souci. Illustrated by Daniel San Souci.

The lowly Measuring Worm rescues two bear cubs from a Yosemite mountain top.

(j398.2097 SANS) Ages 5-9

Fiction

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Alice Yazzie’s Year
by Ramona Maher. Illustrated by Shonto Begay (Navajo).

A poetic month by month account of the events and feelings of an 11-year-old Navajo girl who lives on a reservation.

(jF MAHE) Ages 8-10
Bears Make Rock Soup And Other Stories
by Lise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Plains Ojibway). Illustrated by Lisa Fifield (Oneida).

Fourteen short stories inspired by the paintings show Native Americans and animals living in harmony and helping each other.

(jF ERDR) Ages 7-10
The Birchbark House
by Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibway).

The tender story of a seven-year-old Ojibwa girl, the sole survivor of a smallpox epidemic in 1847, on an island in Lake Superior.

(jF ERDR) Ages 9+
Sequel: The Game of Silence
Crazy Horse’s Vision
by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki). Illustrated by S.D. Nelson (Standing Rock Sioux).

A story from the childhood of Crazy Horse, a visionary and a warrior.

(jF BRUC) Ages 8-12
Also: The Heart of a Chief; The Journal of Jesse Smoke; Skeleton Man; and other titles.
The Good Rainbow Road
by Simon J. Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo). Illustrated by Michael Lacapa (Apache/Hopi/Tewa).

Two brothers undertake a perilous journey to save their village from drought. Told in Keres and English with a Spanish translation.

(jF ORTI) Ages 8+
Home to Medicine Mountain
by Chiori Santiago. Illustrated by Judith Lowry (Mountain Maidu/Hamawi Pit-River).

Two brothers hop trains to travel hundreds of miles across California on their own, leaving their boarding school to spend the summer at home.

(jF SANT) Ages 8-10
Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O’Dell.

Based on historical fact, this classic novel tells how an Indian girl of the Ghalas-at community survives for 18 years alone on an island off the Southern California coast.

(jF ODEL) Ages 10+
Sequel: Zia
Minuk: Ashes in the Pathway
by Kirkpatrick Hill.

In 1890, a girl encounters American missionaries who question her Yup’ik way of life. In the Girls of Many Lands series.

(jF HILL) Ages 10-13
Morning Girl
by Michael Dorris (Modoc).

The story of a Taino brother and sister living on a Bahamian island right before the arrival of Columbus.

(jF DORR) Ages 10+
Also: Guests; Sees Behind Trees; The Window
Rain Is Not My Indian Name
by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek).

A teenager of mixed heritage becomes a photographer and explores her own Native American roots.

(jF SMIT) Ages 10+
Also: Indian Shoes.
The Talking Earth
by Jean Craighead George.

A Seminole girl ventures into the Everglades alone to explore her people’s legends and beliefs.

(jF GEOR) Ages 10-13
Also: Julie of the Wolves and its sequels.
Truth is a Bright Star: A Hopi Adventure
by Joan Price.

A Hopi boy is sold to a fur trapper by Spanish soldiers in 1832, and a friendship grows between the two with time and travel.

(jF PRIC) Ages 10-12

Poetry & Songs

Dancing Teepees: Poems of American Indian Youth
edited by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Lakota). Illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

Poems from the oral tradition selected from throughout North America.

(j897 DANC) Ages 9+
Also:
First Americans series.
Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa
by Shonto Begay (Navajo).

Poems, short prose pieces, and beautiful paintings about his people by a noted author and artist.

(j811.54 BEGA) Ages 9+
Rising Voices: Writings of Young Native Americans
by Arlene Hirschfelder & Beverly R. Singer (Tewa/Navajo).

More than 60 inspiring poems and essays from across the North American continent.

(j810.8 RISI) Ages 11+
Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons
by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) & Jonathan London. Illustrated by Thomas Locker.

Seasons of the year are described through poems and legends of many tribes.

(j897 BRUC) Ages 9+

(See also: j811.54 BRUC).
Also: Pushing up the Sky: Seven Native American Plays for Children.

Touching the Distance: Native American Riddle Poems
by Brian Swann. Illustrated by Maria Rendon.

A thought-provoking collection of riddles with answers provided in the illustrations.

(j811.54 SWAN) Ages 7-10

 

Nonfiction

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving
by Catherine O’Neill Grace & Margaret M. Bruchac (Abenaki). Illustrated by Sisse Brimberg & Cotton Coulson.

The first Thanksgiving through a Native American lens, as reenacted at Plimoth Plantation.

(j394.2649 GRAC) Ages 8-11
Atlas of the North American Indian
by Carl Waldman. Revised edition. Illustrated by Molly Braun.

A useful resource with maps, illustrations, multiple appendices, and a detailed index.

(j970.0049 WALD 2000) Ages 10+
See also: adult call number 790.0049 W146a. Reference in many libraries.
California Native American Tribes
by Mary Null Boulé. Illustrated by Daniel Liddell.

An extensive resource of 27 volumes, each providing in-depth information on a different California tribe.

(j979.4004 BOUL) Ages 9+
Children of Native America Today
by Yvonne Wakim Dennis (Cherokee) & Arlene Hirschfelder.

Young people from 25 different tribes are photographed in everyday pursuits from grooming an Appaloosa horse (Nez Perce) to playing stickball (Choctaw).

(j306.0899 DENN) Ages 8-12
Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition
by Russell M. Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag). Photos by John Madama.

Peters writes of a time-honored tribal custom. In the We Are Still Here series.

(j970.3 PETE) Ages 9+
North American Indian
by David Hamilton Murdoch. Photos by Lynton Gardiner.

A visual introduction revised to include a glossary, places to visit, websites and so on. In the Eyewitness Books series.

(j970.0049 MURD) Ages 8-12
The People Shall Continue
by Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo). Illustrated by Sharol Graves (Shawnee).

A sobering pictorial history of genocide and survival.

(j970.1 ORTI 1988) Ages 9+
Pueblo Storyteller
by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith. Photos by Lawrence Migdale.

Colorful photographs of Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico and the making of storyteller figures, pottery, and drums.

(j970.3 HOYT) Ages 8+
Also: Apache Rodeo; Buffalo Days; Cherokee Summer; Lacrosse; Potlatch; Totem Pole
Traditional Native American Arts and Activities
by Arlette N. Braman. Illustrated by Bill Helin (Tsimshian/Tlingit).

Do-able projects from across North America, including how to make Lenape grape dumplings and Tlingit button blankets.

(j745.0879 BRAM) Ages 9+
We Rode the Wind: Recollections of Native American Life
edited by Jane B. Katz.

An overview of Plains Indian life from the biographical writings of major 19th century tribal figures.

(j978.0049 WE 1995) Ages 10+
Weaving a California Tradition: A Native American Basketmaker
by Linda Yamane (Rumsien Ohlone). Photos by Dugan Aguilar (Maidu/Pit River/Walker River Paiute).

A Western Mono girl learns a traditional craft from her elders in this colorful photo essay. In the We Are Still Here series.

(j746.412 YAMA) Ages 9+
Also:
The Snake That Lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Biography

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As Long As the Rivers Flow
by Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna Pueblo/Sioux) & Patricia Clark Smith (Micmac).

Brief biographies of nine Native Americans from Weetamoo (Pocasset) to Michael Maranjo (Santa Clara Pueblo).

(j970.0049 ALLE) Ages 9+
Extraordinary American Indians
by Susan Avery & Linda Skinner.

Biographical sketches of individual Native Americans covering the last 200 years.

(j970.2 AVER) Ages 9+
The Life and Death of Crazy Horse
by Russell Freedman. Drawings by Amos Bad Heart Bull (Oglala Sioux).

A biography of the great 19th century Teton Lakota warrior and leader.

(jB CRAZ) Ages 10+
Also: Indian Chiefs; An Indian Winter
Native American Doctor: The Story of Susan LaFlesche Picotte
by Jeri Ferris.

The story of an Omaha girl who grew up to study medicine and serve her people.

(jB PICO) Ages 9+
Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories From a Native American Childhood
by EdNah New Rider Weber (Pawnee). Photos by Richela Renkun.

An elder tells of her childhood years on the Crown Point Navajo Reservation and the realities of life at the Phoenix Indian (boarding) School.

(jB WEBE) Ages 10+
Sacagawea
by Lise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Plains Ojibway). Illustrated by Julie Buffalohead (Ponca).

The life of the young Shoshone woman who served as a guide and interpreter to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806.

(jB SACA) Ages 7-11
Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing
by James Rumford. Translated by Anna Sixkiller Huckaby (Cherokee).

Written in both English and Cherokee, this biography tells about the remarkable man who crafted the Cherokee alphabet.

(jB SEQU) Ages 5-9
Wilma Mankiller
by Linda Lowery Keep. Illustrated by Janice Lee Porter.

The life of the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation, also an active spokesperson for Native Americans.

(jB MANK) Ages 7-10
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