Recommended American Indian Children's Books
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RECOMMENDED AMERICAN INDIAN CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Adapted from a List Compiled by Rose Marie Johnson & Rose M. McGuire, Denver Public Schools, July 2006

Book Title

Author

Grade Level

Tribe

Genre

Possible Teaching Points

Question/Discussion Points

Overview

Where Did You Get Your Moccasins?

Wheeler

PK-K

Cree

Contemporary Fiction

Retell, sequencing

Compare/contrast moccasins, sneakers. Feelings when someone does something special for you

Boy tells, in detail, how his Kookum made his moccasins

Two Pairs of Shoes

Sanderson

PK-1

Cree

Contemporary Fiction

Comp/cont with WDYGY Moccasins

Bicultural/Living In Two Worlds

Today is a special day for Maggie, for she has been given two pairs of shoes—moccasins and patent leather. As a child of two worlds, she must now "remember when and how to wear each pair."

The Goodluck Cat

Lee

K-3

American Indian

Contemporary Fiction

Good use of descriptive vocabulary

Losing something precious, hope

Excellent for integrating AI culture into a contemporary setting. Emphasis on universal story, not culture

Lacrosse

Hoyt-Goldsmith

4-7

Iroquois

Non-fiction

Organization

 

Three generations of lacrosse players are featured. Discusses lacrosse as a game, a sport, and a part of Iroquois culture

Great Ball Game

Bruchac

K-3

Muskogee

Fiction

Character development

 

An athletic game is used to settle a dispute—and thereby avoiding fighting

Red is Beautiful

Nizhoni

K-3

Navajo

Non-Fiction/Bio

Problem/Solution

Solutions to teasing, discrimination arenšt always immediate

Nashasha is teased unmercifully by her classmates. Called Chiizhii, ŗthe girl with the rough skin

Alice Yazziešs Year

Maher

4-6

Navajo

Poetry

Word choice

Good for Writeršs Workshop—personal reflections

Picture book for older readers told in verse. Follows 11-year-old Alice through a reservation year

Ledger Book of Thomas Blue Eagle

Grutman

3-5

Sioux

Historical fiction

Diary, personal narrative

Racism, forced assimilation, cultural conflict

9-year-old boy forced to attend government boarding school

Boy Called Slow

Bruchac

K-4

Sioux

Biography

Organization

Nicknames might reflect outward behavior but not actual strength. Slow as reflective, which made him a great leader

Biography of Sitting Bull

Dog People

Bruchac

3-6

Abenaki

Fiction

Problem/solution

Using wit to survive the dangers of the natural world

Five highly readable tales of Abenaki Indian children and their dogs.

Range Eternal

Erdich

K-4

 

Contemporary Fiction

Word choice

Family traditions

The wood stove was the true heart of the home—one the young girl never knew how much she would miss until it was gone.

Tall Chief

Tall Chief

2-4

Cherokee

Biography

Metaphor

Career

Childhood of Marie Tallchief, ballerina

Jingle Dancer

Smith

K-3

American Indian

Contemporary Fiction

Problem/solution

What is important in your life

Therešs not enough time to mail-order tins to make the cone-shaped jingles so that Jenna can dance at the next powwow.

Death of the Iron Horse

Goble

K-6

Cheyenne

Historical fiction

Word choice

Alternate perspectives

Cheyennešs sole victory over the encroaching whites whose railroads ŗtear open our Mother, the earth

People Shall Continue

Ortiz

3-6

American Indian

Poetry

Rhythm

Greed and misunderstanding

Compact & sobering overview of American Indian history

Circle of Thanks

Bruchac

1-5

American Indian

Poetry

Poetry

 

Traditional Native American poems of appreciation & respect for naturešs gifts

Seasons of the Circle

Bruchac

2-5

American Indian

Poetry

Poetry

 

Traditional Native American poems of appreciation & respect for Naturešs gifts

Crazy Horsešs Vision

Bruchac

K-5

Lakota

Biography

Character development & Inference

Battle of Little Big Horn

Crazy Horsešs boyhood, zeroing in on a pivotal event in his life and highlighting an important rite of passage

Songs of the Shiprock Fair

Tapahonso

2-4

Navajo

Poetry

Sequencing, organization

Celebrations, fairs

Seen through the eyes of Nezbah, a young Navajo girl, the Shiprock Fair is a magical time with family and friends

Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails

Kusugak

K-3

Canadian Indian

Fiction

Word choice

Losing a parent, death

Kataujakšs grandmother tells her that the thousands of thin strands of light moving about in the northern lights above them are really the souls of those that have passed on, playing soccer with a huge, frozen walrus head

Pushing Up the Sky

Bruchac

4-6

American Indian

Fiction/Readers Theatre

Fluency

Legends

Traditional tales from several Tribes

Cheyenne Again

Bunting

1-4

Cheyenne

Fiction

Rhythm

Coping skills, government boarding schools, compare & contrast schools

In late 1880šs a Cheyenne boy is taken to a boarding school to learn the white manšs ways

We Are the Many

Rappaport

4-7

American Indian

Biographies

Organization

Contributions of Indians

Biographies of 13 famous Indians

As Long as the River Flows

Loyle

4-8

Cree

Biography

Sequence/organization

Government policy to remove Indian children from their homes. Compare/contrast to foster care

A quiet but powerful first-person account of his last summer before he & his siblings were taken away from their family

Story of Jumping Mouse

Steptoe

2-6

American Indian

Fiction

Moral

Character building

The words of Magic Frog give courage to the young mouse on his long & perilous journey to reach the wonderful land of legend

Morning on the Lake

Waboose

2-4

Anishinabe

Contemporary Fiction

Prose, word choice

Grandparents, cyle of the day

Boy relates his encounters with wild creatures in 3 episodes: morning, noon and night

Meet Mindy

Secakuku

2-8

Hopi

Contemporary life & culture

Character development

 

Full-color photo-essay leaves generic stereotypes behind and focuses on a contemporary Hopi teen

Meet Naiche

Tayac

4-8

Piscataway & Apache

Contemporary life & culture

Character development

 

Tayac shows how his life is similar to that of other Americans & at the same time incorporates his unique Native heritage

Two Old Women

Wallis

5 up

Athabascan

Historical fiction

Organization, character development

Elders, women

Abandoned during a brutal winter famine, 2 old women are left to perish

Warriors

Bruchac

5-8

Iroquois

Contemporary fiction

Character development & Problem solving

Teen experience, bigotry

A young teenager leaves the reservation to live with his mother, a lawyer & attend a private school

Hidden Roots

Bruchac

5-9

Abenaki

Contemporary fiction

Problem/solution, climactic ending

Cultural identity, extermination polices, compare/contrast to holocaust

11 year old lives under fear of fatheršs violent outbursts & mysteries appearance of his uncle in 1954

Eagle Song

Bruchac

2-5

Mohawk

Contemporary fiction

Problem solution

Cultural identity, extermination policies, compare/contrast to holocaust

After moving from reservation to Brooklyn, 8-year-old encounters stereotypes about his heritage

Grandmother  Five Baskets

Larrabee

3-6

Creek

Contemporary fiction

Organization, sequence

How to basketry traditions

Young girl must persist to carry out task of making 5 baskets

Sacred Harvest

Regguinti

4-6

Ojibwa

Contemporary life & culture

Organization, sequence, note taking

Traditions, agriculture.

11-year-old boy goes with father to harvest wild rice

Ininatigs Gift of Sugar

Wittstock

4-6

Anishinabe

Contemporary life & culture

Sequence/organization

Traditions, agriculture

Traditional maple sure production

Kinaalda

Roessel

5-8

Navajo

Contemporary life & culture

Compare/contrast with ŗGift of Changing Woman˛

Puberty ceremonies

13-year old goes through puberty ceremony

Clambake

Peters

4-7

Wampanoag

Contemporary life & culture

Organization, notetaking

Keeping traditions

Honoring an elder

Four Seasons of Corn

Allen

4-7

Winnebago

Contemporary life & culture

Organization, sequence

Agriculture, keeping traditions

Mixed heritage middle-schooler living in large city participates in traditional activities

Songs from the Loom

Roessel

4-7

Navajo

Contemporary life & culture

Organization, sequence

Art as an expression o culture

Teaching grandchild Navajo weaving

Iktomi Loses His Eyes

Goble

K-3

Plains Indian

Traditional Story

Character development, prediction

Symbolism

Symbolic story about limited perception & understanding

Red Parka Mary

Eyvindson

2-4

Canadian Indian

Contemporary fiction

Problem solution

Intergenerational friendship, acceptance & how appearances can deceive

What is it about the little old lady down the road that frightens the little boy?

Less Than Half, More Than Whole

Lacapa

K-3

American Indian

Contemporary fiction

Problem solution

Bicultural, biracial issues

A gentle celebration of mixed heritage

Muskrat Will Be Swimming

Savageau

2-6

American Indian

Contemporary fiction

Character development * problem solution

Cultural diversity, empathy, the environment

Gentle guidance from grandfather brings girl from shame to appreciation

Dancing with the Cranes

Armstrong

K-4

American Indian

Contemporary fiction

Word choice

Cycle of life, death

Girl awaits arrival of cranes & birth of a new baby

Dragonfly Kites

Highway

K-4

American Indian

Contemporary fiction

Word choice

Imagination

Children playing with manufactured toys & using what environment has to offer

Iktomi & the Boulder

Goble

K-3

Plains Indian

Traditional story

Character development, prediction, response practice

Symbolism, values

Trickster tries to get the better of others but winds up looking foolish

Thirteen Moons on a Turtles Back

Bruchac

K-3

American Indian

Legend, poetry

Seasons, calendar, rhythm

Basis of legends

13 poems taking the reader through the year

Trail of Tears

Bruchac

2-5

Cherokee

Non-fiction

Organization, sequence

Government polices of forced removal. compare/contrast with slavery

Cherokee removal to Indian Territory