Updated: Nov 5
These must-read Indigenous children's books by Indigenous creators, offer a unique window into the traditions, stories, and wisdom of Native peoples from around the world. Each book is a celebration of the vibrant cultures that have existed for generations, passed down through the art of storytelling.
From tales of resilience and connection to nature, to stories of Indigenous heroes and heroines, these books are both entertaining and educational. They provide an opportunity for young readers to expand their horizons, foster empathy, and gain a deeper understanding of the indigenous communities and their rich histories.
So, whether you're a parent, teacher, or simply someone who loves a good story, dive into the world of Indigenous children's literature, and embark on a journey of cultural exploration that will leave you inspired and enlightened. These books are not only for Indigenous children but for all young minds eager to learn and appreciate the diverse cultures that make our world so beautiful.
For your convenience, we've included publisher's descriptions along with each book.
From New York Times bestselling picture book author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Bridget George comes Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior, an inspiring picture book biography about two Indigenous Rights Activists, Josephine Mandamin and Autumn Peltier.
The seventh generation is creating
A sea of change.
It was a soft voice, at first.
Like a ripple.
But with practice it grew louder.
Indigenous women have always worked tirelessly to protect our water--keeping it pure and clean for the generations to come. Yet there was a time when their voices and teachings were nearly drowned out, leaving entire communities and environments in danger and without clean water.
But then came Grandma Josephine and her great-niece, Autumn Peltier.
Featuring a foreword from water advocate and Indigenous Rights Activist Autumn Peltier herself, this stunning picture book from New York Times-bestselling author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Bridget George gives voice to the water and asks young readers to join the tidal wave of change.
US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's iconic poem "Remember," illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade, invites young readers to pause and reflect on the wonder of the world around them, and to remember the importance of their place in it.
Remember the sky you were born under,
Know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn,
That is the strongest point of time.
So begins the picture book adaptation of the renowned poem that encourages young readers to reflect on family, nature, and their heritage. In simple and direct language, Harjo, a member of the Mvskoke Nation, urges readers to pay close attention to who they are, the world they were born into, and how all inhabitants on earth are connected. Michaela Goade, drawing from her Tlingit culture, has created vivid illustrations that make the words come alive in an engaging and accessible way.
This timeless poem paired with magnificent paintings makes for a picture book that is a true celebration of life and our human role within it.
"Who am I?" a young girl asks her mom as she snuggles close. "You are the fire that burns and the eagle that soars. You are the oak tree and the wild rose," says momma.
Written from an Indigenous perspective, Who Am I? tells the story of how we are all connected to our ancestors, our past and future, and the Earth--and how it is everyone's duty to fend off darkness, connect to the past, offer safety and shelter, and color the world with beauty. An Own Voices, Own Stories Grand Prize winner.
From the award-winning and bestselling author of We Are Water Protectors comes an empowering picture book about family history, self-expression, and reclaiming your identity
Our ancestors say our hair is our memories,
our source of strength and power,
a celebration of our lives.
Mom never had long hair--she was told it was too wild. Grandma couldn't have long hair--hers was taken from her. But one young girl can't wait to grow her hair long: for herself, for her family, for her connection to her culture and the Earth, and to honor the strength and resilience of those who came before her.
From Carole Lindstrom, author of the New York Times bestseller and Caldecott Medal winner We Are Water Protectors, and debut illustrator Steph Littlebird comes an empowering and healing celebration of hair and its significance across Indigenous cultures.
With humor and heart, and brought to life by Jonathan Nelson's warm, distinctive artwork, Kim Rogers's A Letter for Bob celebrates the treasured cars that carry us through our most meaningful childhood moments.
Ever since the day Mom and Dad brought Bob home from the car dealership, Bob has been a part of Katie's family. Bob has taken them all over, from powwows to vacations to time spent with faraway family. Bob has been there in sad and scary times and for some of the family's most treasured memories.
But after many miles, it's time for the family to say goodbye to Bob...
This humorous and tender story about a beloved family car--and all the stories and love carried along for the ride--will appeal to every kid whose family has owned a special car!
Kim Rogers is the author of Just Like Grandma, illustrated by Julie Flett, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, which called it "a joyous, uplifting celebration of culture and family."
The true story of John Meyers and Charles Bender, who in 1911 became the first two Native pro baseball players to face off in a World Series. This picture book teaches important lessons about resilience, doing what you love in the face of injustice, and the fight for Native American representation in sports.
Charles Bender grew up on the White Earth Reservation in Northwestern Minnesota. John Meyers was raised on the Cahuilla reservation in Southern California. Despite their mutual respect for each other's talents and their shared dedication to Native representation in baseball, the media was determined to pit them against each other.
However, they never gave up on their dreams of being pro baseball players and didn't let the supposed rivalry created by the media or the racism they faced within the stadium stop them. They continued to break barriers and went on to play a combined total of nine championships.
With text by Traci Sorell and illustrations by Arigon Starr that brings these two players to life, the stories of John Meyers and Charles Bender remain an inspiration for achieving and maintaining one's dreams in the face of prejudice.
In this happy, vibrant tribute to Rock Your Mocs Day, observed yearly on November 15, author Laurel Goodluck (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Tsimshian) and artist Madelyn Goodnight (Chickasaw) celebrate the joy and power of wearing moccasins--and the Native pride that comes with them. A perfect book for Native American Heritage Month, and all year round!
We're stepping out
and kicking it up.
Wearing beauty on their feet--
as art, as tradition,
with style, with pride--
kids from different Native Nations know
every day is a day to ROCK YOUR MOCS!
This book contains an author's note with additional information about moccasins and Rock Your Mocs day, for readers curious to learn more about intertribal pride and the joy found in different Native identities! Rock Your Mocs Day has now been extended to a week in November, and during that week, kids from all over the United States join together to show pride in their heritage.
Two sisters have waited all spring and summer to pick berries with their ningiuq, their grandmother. They've gone fishing, dug for clams, and by the time late summer arrives, it's finally time for berries!
Ninguiq and the girls head out to pick berries, rain or shine--nothing will stop Ningiuq! Through driving rain and early autumn snow the girls and Ningiuq pick as many sweet berries as their buckets can hold. The hard work is all worth it to enjoy the delicious treats Ninguiq creates with her berries.
A heartwarming book from creators of Indigenous and Métis descent about the power of story and tradition to help navigate change
How does a strange new place become home? When Ojiig moves to the city with his family, he misses everything they left behind. Most of all, he misses the sparkling night sky. Without the stars watching over him, he feels lost.
His parents try to help, but nothing seems to work. Not glow-in-the-dark sticker stars, not a star-shaped nightlight. But then they have a new idea for how to make Ojiig feel better -- a special quilt stitched through with family stories that will wrap Ojiig in the warmth of knowing who he is and where he came from. Join this irresistible family as they discover the power of story and tradition to make a new place feel like home.
On a visit to her granny, Maggie is excited to begin her first-ever beading project: a pair of strawberry earrings. However, beading is much harder than she expected! As they work side by side, Granny shares how beading helped her persevere and stay connected to her Anishinaabe culture when she lost her Indian status, forcing her out of her home community--all because she married someone without status, something the men of her community could do freely.
As she learns about patience and perseverance from her granny's teachings, Maggie discovers that beading is a journey, and like every journey, it's easier with a loved one at her side.
In this beautifully illustrated book, children learn about the tradition of Anishinaabe beadwork, strawberry teachings, and gender discrimination in the Indian Act.
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