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Recommendations and for Native Children's Books

The list of children's books below was compiled from books rated by teachers as excellent. Stories were selected on the basis of how much they might motivate Indian students to read more than on their cultural authenticity, though cultural authenticity is very important. Your feedback about new books or comments on books listed would be appreciated. Some books listed are out of print.

Selected American Indian/Alaska Native Children's Books

Picture books (Primary)

Andrews, Jan. 1986. Very Last First Time. New York: MacMillan. (Inuit)

Baylor, Byrd. [1972] 1987. When Clay Sings. New York: MacMillan. (Caldecott Medal Winner).

Benchley, Nathaniel. 1972. Small Wolf (An "I can read book). New York: Harper & Row. A story of Indian-White contact. Other books by the same author include the junior high novel Only the Earth and Sky Last Forever (Southern Cheyenne/Sioux).

Cohen, Caron Lee. 1988. The Mud Pony. New York: Scholastic. (Skidi Pawnee - Adapted traditional story illustrated by Shonto Begay)

Esbensen, Barbara. 1988. Star Maiden. Boston: Little, Brown. (Ojibway tale)

Goble, Paul. 1984. Buffalo Woman. New York: Bradbury Press. Retelling of a Plains Indian traditional story. Other stories by the same author include Inktomi and the Boulder: A Plains Indian Story, Beyond the Ridge, Her Seven Brothers, Dream Wolf, The Great Race of the Birds and Animals, Star Boy, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, Death of the Iron Horse, The Friendly Wolf, Her Seven Brothers, and The Gift of the Sacred Dog. Two other books are written with Dorothy Goble: Lone Bull's Horse Raid and Red Hawk's Account of Custer's Last Battle. All are beautifully illustrated.

Luenn, Nancy. 1990. Nessa's Fish. New York: Atheneum. (Eskimo)

Parish, Peggy. 1988. Good Hunting, Blue Sky. New York: Harper & Row. (An "I Can Read Book")

Morgan, William. 1989. Navajo Coyote Tales. Santa Fe, NM: Ancient City.

Moroney, Lynn. 1989. Baby Rattlesnake. San Francisco: Children's Book Press.

Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk (Ed.). 1989. Dancing TeePees. New York: Holiday House. (Poetry, inter-tribal)

Van Laan, Nancy. 1989. Rainbow Crow. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. (Lenape)

Intermediate/junior high books (Many of these books are suitable for reading to younger students)

Armer, Laura Adams. 1931. Waterless Mountain. New York: David McKay (Navajo). Newbery award winning story of a Navajo boy.

Hobbs, Will. 1989. Bearstone. New York. Atheneum Children's Books. (Navajo/Ute). Orphan Indian boy grows up and learns about traditional and white cultures. Also Beardance, Beardream (primary), & others.

Houston, James. 1989. The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga. Hartford, CN: Atheneum. (Innuit, has several othe books)

McDermott, Gerald. 1974. Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale. New York: Penguin.

O'Dell, Scott. 1970. Sing Down the Moon. New York: Dell. A story of the Navajo Long Walk. Also by the same author Black Star, Bright Dawn (Alaskan story of Iditarod sled race), Streams to the River, River to the Sea: A Novel of Sacagawea, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Serpent Never Sleeps: A Novel of Jamestown and Pocahontas, and Zia.

Pitts, Paul. 1988. Racing the Sun. New York: Avon Camelot. (An assimilated urban Navajo boy goes to live with his traditional grandfather on the reservation forcing him to compare the different life-ways of his parents and his grandfather.) Also Crossroads.

Roop, Peter. 1984. Little Blaze and the Buffalo Jump. Billings, MT: Council for Indian Education. Also by the same author Sik-ki-mi and Natosi: Strong Medicine. All are stories about the Blackfeet.

Rudolph, Stormy. 1984. Quest for Courage. Billings, MT: Council for Indian Education. (Blackfeet)

Speare, Elizabeth George. 1983. The Sign of the Beaver. New York: Dell.

Tall Bull, Henry, & Weist, Tom. 1973. Norther Cheyenne Fire Fighters. Billings, MT: Council for Indian Education. Also of interest is Grandfather and the Popping Machine, a humorous story about a Northern Cheyenne getting his first car.

Thomasma, Kenneth. 1983. Naya Nuki: Girl Who Ran. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. (Shoshoni) Also by the same author Soun Tatoken: Nez Perce Boy, Kunu: Escape in the Missouri, and Om-kas-toe of the Blackfeet.

High school books

Borland, Hal. 1984. When the Legends Die. New York: Bantam. (Ute). One of the best novels about Indians written by a non-Indian.

Eastman, Charles. [1902] 1971. Indian Boyhood. Greenwich, CN: Fawcett & [1916] 1977. From Deep Woods to Civilization. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska. The autobiogphies of Ohiyesa.

Hillerman, Tony. [1975] 1989. Dance Hall of the Dead. New York: Harper & Row. Also by the same author are A Thief of Time, The Blessing Way, The Ghostway, Listening Woman, Talking God, People of Darkness, and Skinwalkers. All are murder mysteries which are solved by Navajo tribal policemen. Also The Boy Who Made Dragonfly: A Zuni Myth.

LaFarge, Oliver. [1929] 1971. Laughing Boy. New York: New American Library. This pulitzer prize-winning story about the conflicts between traditional Navajo and modern life is still highly readable though it contains adult themes. LaFarge's out of print The Enemy Gods about education in boarding schools is also worth reading.

Linderman, Frank B. [1932] 1974. Pretty Shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows. Lincoln: University of Nebraska. An "as told to" biography, this book is suitable for reading to elementary students. Also of interest by the same author is Plenty-coups, Chief of the Crows.

Richter, Conrad. 1984. The Light in the Forest. New York: Bantam. (Lenape). White boy captured by Indians in Eighteenth Century begins to identify with his captors.

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