Back to top

Native American and Indigenous Children's Books

Books that celebrate Native American and Indigenous heritage and stories.

Board Books

Cover of We Are Grateful: Otsalihel
Traci
Sorell
Frane Lessac

The word "otsaliheliga" (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. This picture book chronicles a full year of Cherokee celebrations and experiences.

Cover of I Can See You
Rosemarie
Meyok
Michelle Simpson

In this adorable book to be shared with babies and toddlers, mothers explore their love for their babies as experienced through the five senses. From the sound of a baby's giggles to the smell of a kunik, this book celebrates the unique bonds shared between mothers and babies.

Cover of Cradle Me
Debby
Slier

The rich Native American tradition of carrying babies safely, comfortably and close to their mothers in cradle boards endures to this day. Cradle Me celebrates Native American families and shows how they carry their babies.

Richard
Van Camp

Board books for babies and toddlers that celebrates every child and the joy babies bring into the world.

Cover of  Mi'kmaw Daily Drum: Mi'km
Alan
Syliboy

Mi'kmaq artist Alan Syliboy's daily drum artworks paired with a different day of the week in an accessible and beautiful baby board book.

Cover of Sweetest Kulu
Celina
Kalluk
Alexandria Neonakis

This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic.

Picture Books

Cover of Remember
Joy
Harjo
Michaela Goade

Picture book adaptation of US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's iconic poem, Remember.

Cover of Rock Your Mocs
Laurel
Goodluck
Madelyn Goodnight

This picture book by Laurel Goodluck (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Tsimshian) and illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight (Chickasaw) is a joyful and colorful introduction to the annual celebration of Rock Your Mocs DayNovember 15because moccasins and Native pride shouldn't be saved just for ceremonies and powwows but celebrated all year round!

Cover of Just like grandma
Kim
Rogers
Julie Flett

Becca loves spending time with Grandma. Every time Becca says, "Let me try," Grandma shows her how to make something beautiful. Whether they are beading moccasins, dancing like the most beautiful butterflies, or practicing basketball together, Becca knows that, more than anything, she wants to be just like Grandma. And as the two share their favorite activities, Becca discovers something surprising about Grandma.

Cover of My powerful hair
Carole
Lindstrom
Steph Littlebird

After generations of short hair in her family, a little girl celebrates growing her hair long to connect to her culture and honor the strength and resilience of those who came before her.

Cover of What your ribbon skirt mea
Alexis C
Bunten
Nicole Neidhardt

A picture book homage to community and contemporary Native pride-intimately set in the comfort of an urban Native community center that is celebrating the inauguration of Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior on March 18, 2021.

Cover of Berry Song
Michaela
Goade

On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries. Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry. Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry. Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade's luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.

Cover of Where Wonder Grows
Xelena
González
Adriana M Garcia

Three girls follow their grandmother into her garden, where they examine her collection of rocks, crystals, shells, and meteorites and learn about the marvels they reveal.

Cover of Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun's
Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry
and Alexis Bunten

Wampanoag children listen as their grandmother tells them the story about how Weeâchumun (the wise Corn) asked local Native Americans to show the Pilgrims how to grow food to yield a good harvest--Keepunumuk--in 1621.

Cover of Powwow Day
Traci
Sorell
Madelyn Goodnight

Because she has been very ill and weak, River cannot join in the dancing at this year's tribal powwow, she can only watch from the sidelines as her sisters and cousins dance the celebration--but as the drum beats she finds the faith to believe that she will recover and dance again.

Elementary Fiction

Cover of Hiawatha and the Peacemake
Robbie
Robertson
David Shannon

Hiawatha, a Mohawk, is plotting revenge for the murder of his wife and daughters by the evil Onondaga Chief, Tadodaho, when he meets the Great Peacemaker, who enlists his help in bringing the nations together to share his vision of a new way of life marked by peace, love, and unity rather than war, hate, and fear. 

Cover of I Am Not a Number
Jenny Kay Dupuis and
Kathy Kacer
Gillian Newland

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from. When she goes home for the summer, her parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. What will happen when they disobey the law?

Cover of Jo Jo Makoons: Fancy Pants
Dawn
Quigley
Tara Audibert

Filled with lots of glitter, raised pinkies, and humorous misunderstandings, this second book in the Jo Jo Makoons series is filled with the joy of a young Ojibwe girl discovering her very own special shine from the inside out. First grader Jo Jo Makoons knows how to do a lot of things, like how to play jump rope, how to hide her peas in her milk, and how to be helpful in her classroom. But there's one thing Jo Jo doesn't know how to do: be fancy. She has a lot to learn before her Aunt Annie's wedding! Favorite purple unicorn notebook in hand, Jo Jo starts exploring her Ojibwe community to find ways to be fancy.

Cover of Elvis, Me, and the Lemonad
Leslie
Gentile

An eleven-year-old girl sets out to prove that the deceased Elvis Presley is in fact alive and her neighbor, while finding sanctuary with a Salish woman over her neglectful mother.

Cover of Sisters of the Neversea
Cynthia Leitich
Smith

In this magical, modern twist on Peter Pan, stepsisters Lily and Wendy are spirited away to Neverland by a mysterious boy and must find a way back to the family they love.

Cover of The Woman in the Woods and
Kate Ashwin, Kel McDonald, and
Alina Pete (Editors)

Loup Garrou, trickster rabbits, and spirits with names that can't be spoken--the plains and forests of North America are alive with characters like these, all waiting to meet you in this collection of folklore retold in comics!

 

Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction

Cover of Classified: The Secret Car
Traci
Sorell
Natasha Donovan

Mary Golda Ross designed classified projects for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as the company's first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work.

Cover of The Sea-Ringed World: Sacr
Maria Garcia Esperson and
translated by David Bowles
Amanda Mijangos

Fifteen thousand years before Europeans stepped foot in the Americas, people had already spread from tip to tip and coast to coast. Like all humans, these Native Americans sought to understand their place in the universe, the nature of their relationship with the divine, and the origin of the world into which their ancestors had emerged. The answers lay in their sacred stories.

Cover of Young Water Protectors: A
Kelly Tudor, Jason Eaglespeaker and
Aslan Tudor

At the age of eight, Aslan arrived in North Dakota to help stop a pipeline. A few months later he returned - and saw the whole world watching. Read about his inspiring experiences in the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. Learn about what exactly happened there, and why.

Cover of We Are Still Here!: Native
Traci
Sorell

A group of Native American kids from different tribes presents twelve historical and contemporary time periods, struggles, and victories to their classmates, each ending with a powerful refrain: We are still here!

Cover of Finding My Dance
Ria
Thundercloud
Kalila J.
Fuller

In her debut picture book, professional Indigenous dancer Ria Thundercloud tells the true story of her path to dance and how it helped her take pride in her Native American heritage.

Cover of She Persisted: Wilma Manki
Traci
Sorell

The descendant of Cherokee ancestors who had been forced to walk the Trail of Tears, Wilma Mankiller experienced her own forced removal from the land she grew up on as a child. As she got older and learned more about the injustices her people had faced, she dedicated her life to instilling pride in Native heritage and reclaiming Native rights. She went on to become the first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
 

Cover of Notable Native People: 50
Adrienne
Keene

An accessible and educational illustrated book profiling 50 notable American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people, from NBA star Kyrie Irving of the Standing Rock Lakota to Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. Celebrate the lives, stories, and contributions of Indigenous artists, activists, scientists, athletes, and other changemakers in this illustrated collection. Also offers accessible primers on important Indigenous issues, from the legacy of colonialism and cultural appropriation to food sovereignty, land and water rights, and more. An indispensable read for people of all backgrounds seeking to learn about Native American heritage, histories, and cultures, Notable Native People will educate and inspire readers of all ages.

Cover of Indigenous Peoples' Day
Katrina M
Phillips

Indigenous Peoples' Day is about celebrating! The second Monday in October is a day to honor Native American people, their histories, and cultures. People mark the day with food, dancing, and songs. Readers will discover how a shared holiday can have multiple traditions and be celebrated in all sorts of ways.

Cover of She Persisted: Deb Haaland
Laurel
Goodluck

Biography of the first Native American to become a cabinet secretary.

Cover of Indigenous ingenuity
Deirdre Havrelock and
Edward Kay

Corn. Chocolate. Fishing hooks. Boats that float. Insulated double-walled construction. Recorded history and folklore. Life-saving disinfectant. Forest fire management. Our lives would be unrecognizable without these, and countless other, scientific discoveries and technological inventions from Indigenous North Americans. Spanning topics from transportation to civil engineering, hunting technologies, astronomy, brain surgery, architecture, and agriculture, Indigenous Ingenuity is a wide-ranging STEM offering that answers the call for Indigenous nonfiction by reappropriating hidden history. The book includes fun, simple activities and experiments that kids can do to better understand and enjoy the principles used by Indigenous inventors. Readers of all ages are invited to celebrate traditional North American Indigenous innovation, and to embrace the mindset of reciprocity, environmental responsibility, and the interconnectedness of all life