Children's Books for Native American Heritage Month

A selection of picture books, middle grade novels, graphic novels, and nonfiction by Native American authors.

Updated August 1, 2023
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Bowwow powwow : bagosenjige-niimi'idim
Child, Brenda J.
Windy Girl is blessed with a vivid imagination. From Uncle she gathers stories of long-ago traditions, about dances and sharing and gratitude. Windy can tell such stories herself-about her dog, Itchy Boy, and the way he dances to request a treat and how he wriggles with joy in response to, well,...
Finding my dance
Thundercloud, Ria
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. At four years old, Ria Thundercloud was brought into the powwow circle, ready to dance in the...
Fry bread : a Native American family story
Maillard, Kevin Noble
Winner of the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal A 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor Winner "A wonderful and sweet book . . . Lovely stuff." --The New York Times Book Review Told in lively and powerful...
Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi!
Coulson, Art
Celebrate diversity, math, and the power of storytelling! Bo wants to find the perfect container to show off his traditional marbles for the Cherokee national Holiday. It needs to be just the right size: big enough to fit all the marbles, but not too big to fit in his family's...
Keepunumuk : Weea?chumun's Thanksgiving story
Greendeer, Danielle
In this Wampanoag story told in a Native tradition, two kids from the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe learn the story of Wee chumun (corn) and the first Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving story that most Americans know celebrates the Pilgrims. But without members of the Wampanoag tribe who...
We are water protectors
Lindstrom, Carole
From author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Michaela Goade comes a New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Medal winning picture book that honors Indigenous-led movements across the world. Powerfully written and gorgeously illustrated, We Are Water Protectors,...
The cloud artist
Maret, Sherri
Born with the gift of painting with the clouds, Leona, a little Choctaw girl, uses the Oklahoma sky as her canvas to the delight of her people. When a traveling hawker hears about her talent and invites her to join the carnival, the Cloud Artist must make a decision about what kind of artist she...
Berry song
Goade, Michaela
A Caldecott Honor Book! An Indie Bestseller! Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade's first self-authored picture book is a gorgeous celebration of the land she knows well and the powerful wisdom of elders. On...
Grandma's tipi : a present-day Lakota story
Nelson, S. D.
A young girl spends the summer at her grandmother's home on the Standing Rock Reservation in this illustrated, heartwarming family story from acclaimed, award-winning author-artist S. D. Nelson.   Now that Clara is almost in third grade, she's finally old enough...
Johnny's pheasant
Minnema, Cheryl
An encounter with a pheasant (which may or may not be sleeping) takes a surprising turn in this sweetly serious and funny story of a Native American boy and his grandma   "Pull over, Grandma! Hurry!" Johnny says. Grandma does, and Johnny runs to show her what he...
First laugh : welcome, baby!
Tahe, Rose Ann
In Navajo families, the first person to make a new baby laugh hosts the child's First Laugh Ceremony. Who will earn the honor in this story? The First Laugh Ceremony is a celebration held to welcome a new member of the community. As everyone--from Baby's nima (mom) to...
We still belong
Day, Christine
A thoughtful and heartfelt middle grade novel by American Indian Youth Literature Honor-winning author Christine Day (Upper Skagit), about a girl whose hopeful plans for Indigenous Peoples' Day (and plans to ask her crush to the school dance) go all wrong--until she finds herself...
Powwow day
Sorell, Traci
In this uplifting, contemporary Native American story, River is recovering from illness and can't dance at the powwow this year. Will she ever dance again? River wants so badly to dance at powwow day as she does every year. In this uplifting and contemporary picture book perfect...
The birchbark house
Erdrich, Louise.
For use in schools and libraries only. Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.
The storyteller
Hobson, Brandon
From National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson, a kaleidoscopic middle-grade adventure that mixes the anxieties, friendships, and wonders of a Cherokee boy's life with Cherokee history and lore. Ziggy has ANXIETY. Partly this is because of the way his mind works, and how overwhelmed he...
Shaped by her hands : potter Maria Martinez
Freeman, Anna Harber
Chicago Public Library Best Informational Books for Younger Readers 2021 Kirkus Best Picture-Book Biographies of 2021 STARRED REVIEW! "Through masterful storytelling and graceful illustrations, this impactful title embodies Maria Povika...
Sisters of the Neversea
Smith, Cynthia Leitich
Five starred reviews! In this beautifully reimagined story by NSK Neustadt Laureate and New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek), Native American Lily and English Wendy embark on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage to a fairy-tale...
Rez dogs
Bruchac, Joseph
Renowned author Joseph Bruchac tells a powerful story of a girl who learns more about her Penacook heritage while sheltering in place with her grandparents during the coronavirus pandemic. Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation...
Stone River crossing
Tingle, Tim
From the award-winning author of How I Became a Ghost, a tale of unlikely friendship and miracles. When Martha Tom helps Lil Mo and his family escape from the plantation across the river, it's just the beginning of a Choctaw adventure of a lifetime. Martha Tom knows better...
Healer of the water monster
Young, Brian
American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner: Best Middle Grade Book! Brian Young's powerful debut novel tells of a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who must save the life of a Water Monster--and comes to realize he's a hero at heart. When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali...
The woman in the woods and other North American stories
McDonald, Kel
"Enjoyable for reading aloud or sharing around a campfire." -- KIRKUS "Be careful of what you accept from spirits." Loup Garrou, trickster rabbits, and spirits with names that can't be spoken -- the plains and forests of North America...
Rabbit chase
LaPense?e, Elizabeth
A BookRiot Don't-Miss 2022 Queer Graphic Novels & Memoirs * "Rabbit Chase is a welcome intersectional work for today's youth."--Traci Sorell, award-winning author of We Are Still Here! and At the Mountain's Base Anishinaabe culture and storytelling meet Alice in...
Harjo, Joy
Chester Nez and the unbreakable code : a Navajo code talker's story
Bruchac, Joseph
A Junior Library Guild Selection April 2018 2018 Cybils Award Finalist, Elementary Non-Fiction BRLA 2018 Southwest Book Award 2019 Southwest Books of the Year: Kid Pick 2020 Grand Canyon Award, Nonfiction Nominee 2020-2021...
Classified : the secret career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee aerospace engineer
Sorell, Traci
An American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award Honor Picture Book Mary Golda Ross designed classified airplanes and spacecraft as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation's first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her...
The star that always stays
Johnson, Anna Rose
When bright and spirited Norvia moves from the country to the city, she has to live by one new rule- Never let anyone know you're Ojibwe. Growing up on Beaver Island, Grand-p re told Norvia stories-stories about her ancestor Migizi, about Biboonke-o-nini the Wintermaker, about...
We are still here! : Native American truths everyone should know
Sorell, Traci
A 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor Book A 2022 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book Twelve Native American kids present historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native life, each with a powerful refrain- We are still here! ...
Indian no more
McManis, Charlene Willing
American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner - American Indian Library Association When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.<...
The used-to-be best friend
Quigley, Dawn
American Indian Youth Literature Award: Middle Grade Honor Book! Hello/Boozhoo--meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this first book in an all-new chapter book series by Dawn Quigley celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is. Jo Jo...
Ancestor approved : intertribal stories for kids
Smith, Cynthia Leitich
Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. Native families from Nations across the...
Sharice's big voice : a native kid becomes a congresswoman
Davids, Sharice
This acclaimed picture book autobiography tells the triumphant story of Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, and the first LGBTQ congressperson to represent Kansas. When Sharice Davids was young, she never thought she'd be in Congress. And she never...

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