This is an area of children’s literature that’s very near and dear to my ❤️. I love encountering great books on Native American history and culture.
Here are some we’ve been enjoying recently:
For the youngest crowd:
Ten Little Rabbits, by Virginia Grossman. A sweet and simple board book that I love. Beautiful illustrations.
Thanks to the Animals, by Allen Sockabasin. Award-winning book by a Passamaquoddy author.
Cradle Me, by Debby Slier. I bought this as a gift for my youngest child, but everyone in our house loves this book. How could you not??
More for Ages 5-8
The Very First Americans, by Cara Ashrose. Simple overview of various groups of indigenous peoples in North America.
I am Sacagawea, by Brad Meltzer. Maybe one of my favorite people to read about ever 🙂 I am a huge Sacagawea fan. There are probably even better books by #ownvoices authors, but I haven’t found yet (for this age group). Let me know!!
Fry Bread, by Kevin Noble Maillard. This one just came out this year. It has a simple but very powerful message. May lead to some conversations…and to baking fry bread.
Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back, by Joseph Bruchac. As the author notes in the afterward, the Potawatomi people alone had three different names/stories just for the February moon! This book is a collection of different moon stories from various Native American peoples.
For the older crowd:
Native American History for Kids, by Karen Bush Gibson an An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. These are both packed with historical information and insight, with maps and illustrations. Again, there are probably lots of historical overviews for this age group, and I’m still looking.
The Birchbark House, Louise Erdrich. Quite possibly my favorite book (for adults or children) that I have read all year. We always hear that books help us (and our kids) develop empathy, and this book is the perfect example of that. This story of the Ojibwa tribe encountering white people for the first time has changed forever the way I see and feel Native American history. There is a whole series that follows which we’ll dive into soon. It has replaced my Little House on the Prairie series at our house. We hadn’t started reading those with our kids yet, and now we choose to do Erdrich’s series.
I hope you’ll enjoy some of these, and that they’ll lead to wonderful conversations, nature walks, lots of animal watching, but most of all an even deeper appreciation of Native American history and culture. If you’re aware of more resources for young ones, please let me know!
Check out more video resources and teacher content for Native American Heritage Month here.
And, good Native reads booklists can be found here:
** Dec 2019 Post Update: We just finished a study of the Iroquois and I really liked these two books as well:
If You Lived With the Iroquois, Levine
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, Robertson (also, did not know that Robbie Robertson of the Band and author of this book is Cayuga and Mohawk)