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  • Writer's pictureRachel Red-Horse

Indigenous Written Books for Children

We're sharing 15 of our favorite children's books written by Native authors to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

Growing up my mom always said being read to was one of the best ways to read books, I'd have to say I wholeheartedly agree. Now that I'm a mom myself I love to read to my children and it makes me unbelievably happy when my toddler grabs a book and crawls into my lap. Before my children was born I started collecting books to reflect their heritage and the list I've compiled continues to grow. I'd like to share some of these books with you. I hope you find something you can snuggle up and read with your little one or you find a book to pass to someone you love.

1. We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

This was the first book I fell in love with while starting my search and the first book we bought for our son. It's a beautiful story of praying and loving a baby into a family.

2. Sharing Our World Animals of the Native Northwest

This book shares the animals which are important to the Indigenous Peoples of the Northwest coast. The art is in the style of these people with an abundance of color.

3. My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

A book that celebrates all the small things that can fill your heart with happiness.

4. Zoe and the Fawn by Catherine Jameson

Zoe and her dad encounter a fawn in the forest without its mother. As they venture further they come across more animals and learn their names.

5. Little You by Richard Van Camp

Little You is a beautiful book that celebrates every child for who they are and what they will be.

6. Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard

A fun depiction of family life told through a native staple, fry bread.

7. We Are Water Protectors by Carol Lindstrom

A book filled with the most beautiful illustrations tells a story of resistance and love all in the name of sacred water.

8. When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson

The story of a young girl and her grandma and the experience of Residential schools.

9. Raven and the Tide Lady by Pauline Duncan

Based on the tales of Raven from Northwest Coast Peoples, Raven battles the Tide Lady to help his people.

10. Stolen Words by Melanie Florence

The story of a girl and her grandfather and reconnecting with things stolen by a residential school

11. Tallchief America's Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief with Rosemary Wells

The story of Maria Tallchief and her journey from her Osage reservation to becoming a prima ballerina with her parents support.

12. Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back by Joseph Bruchac & Jonathan London

A celebration of the thirteen moon seasons through poems and pictures.

13. When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

The story of Margaret who goes to a residential school to learn despite her father warning her against it.

14. The First Blade of Sweetgrass by Suzanne Greenlaw

A grandmother and her granddaughter go to collect sweetgrass for baskets and the little girl learns a valuable lesson from this medicine plant.

15. Native American Night Before Christmas by Gary Robinson

A Native spin on the Christmas classic

Indigenous Owned Bookstores

We love to support Indigenous owned businesses whenever we can so we've compiled a list of bookstores where you can shop for many of these titles and so much more. Click on the links below to start your shopping!

  1. Birchbark Books -Minnesota based bookstore open daily, also available for online purchases

  2. Massy Books - Located in Vancouver's Chinatown they are open in person and online for orders

  3. Na Mea Hawai'i - Based in Honolulu this store sells so much more than books! Definetley a place to stop in and see if you get the chance

  4. Red Planet comics -This Santa Fe store is the only Indigenous owned comic book store, they also sell regular books.

  5. Red Salmon Arts/Casa de Resistencia Books - this bookstore in Texas is not just a bookstore but a cultural arts organization as well.

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