Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to Native Americans. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Native Americans.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about Native Americans, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like I Am Sacagawea to popular sellers like The Rough-Face Girl to some of our favorite hidden gems like Ten Little Rabbits.
We hope this list of kids books about Native Americans can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Learn all about the most influential explorers who searched the world far and wide in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for pioneers-in-training! Little explorers discover a great big world. The follow up to This Little President, now even the youngest adventurers can learn about the greatest explorers in history with this bright and playful board book. Highlighting ten memorable pioneers, parents and young discoverers alike will love sharing this fun historical primer full of age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.
A counting rhyme with illustrations of rabbits in Native American costume, depicting traditional customs such as rain dances, hunting, and smoke signals. On board pages.
From Algonquin Indian folklore comes one of the most haunting, powerful versions of the Cinderella tale ever told. In a village by the shores of Lake Ontario lived an invisible being. All the young women wanted to marry him because he was rich, powerful, and supposedly very handsome. But to marry the invisible being the women had to prove to his sister that they had seen him. And none had been able to get past the sister’s stern, all-knowing gaze. Then came the Rough-Face girl, scarred from working by the fire. Could she succeed where her beautiful, cruel sisters had failed?
The dual language edition, in Cree and English, of the award-winning story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in Cree, he tells her that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.
The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito - Timely, Fun, Challenging and Wise! Tomson Highway’s musical cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, couldn’t be more vividly presented unless you were sitting in the middle seat of the front row watching the Cree playwright, performer, musician and poet himself. The story of a wingless little mosquito from Manitoba has all the whimsy and wise humour any audience could ask for. The ageless theme of a misfit, who finds her voice through song and who learns to make friends by communicating directly with her audience, is a timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack. The entire script is here, complete with song lyrics, stage directions, Cree vocabulary, and challenging tongue twisters to delight all ages. A perfect book for drama students, teachers, and theatre enthusiasts, this beautiful full-colour volume serves as an interactive read-aloud for the young, or a great way to introduce students to the joys of staging a musical production.
Sacajawea of the Shoshone - One minute she was picking berries and the next her tribe was under attack. Running for her life, Sacajawea was scooped up and taken far away from her village and family—and into history. From her mountain home to the banks of the Missouri River, over the majestic Rockies to the pounding waves of the Pacific, Sacajawea would travel farther than any American woman of her time. Richly illustrated and smartly narrated, this book brings to life the story of the real and remarkable Shoshone princess who helped Captains Lewis and Clark navigate their way across the American West.
The Thunder Egg - Stands-by-Herself lives with her grandmother in a buffalo-hide tipi among their Cheyenne people on the Great Plains. Other children make fun of her because she is always by herself dreaming. One day she finds a strange egg-shaped rock and senses there is something special about it. Taking it home, she cares for it as if it were a child, even though the other children mock her. When a terrible drought threatens to wipe out her people, could Stands-by-Herself’s rock hold the key to their survival? The Thunder Egg is the story of a girl’s coming of age, when she realizes that life can require us to think of others before ourselves and to follow what our hearts tell us. Featuring an author’s note, informative notes on the illustrations, and a bibliography, the book is filled with vibrant images of Plains Indian life in the unspoiled West. Carefully crafted text and paintings bring a true authenticity to the time, place, and people of the story.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga - The Cherokee community is grateful for blessings and challenges that each season brings. This is modern Native American life as told by an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.
The story of the determined Ojibwe Nokomis (grandmother) Josephine Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect water for future generations and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men and youth, have walked the perimeter of the Great Lakes and along the banks of numerous rivers and lakes. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.
“There was a girl in the village who loved horses… She led the horses to drink at the river. She spoke softly and they followed. People noticed that she understood horses in a special way.” And so begins the story of a young Native American girl devoted to the care of her tribe’s horses. With simple text and brilliant illustrations. Paul Goble tells how she eventually becomes one of them to forever run free.
Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks wherever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom. Includes an author’s note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls.
In 1932, twelve-year-old Cal must stop being a hobo with his father and go to a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, where he begins learning about his history and heritage as a Creek Indian.
When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns in charge at the school, who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene’s parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law?
Beyond the Green - “After twelve-year-old Britta’s family fostered Chipeta, a Native American baby, for four years, Chipeta’s birth mother has the right to take her back. In 1979 Utah, Britta can’t imagine life without her beloved little sister, and so she grows determined to do whatever she can to keep her sister and to eventually understand how complicated and important family is—in all its forms”—