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Native Americans: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about Native Americans is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From This Little Explorer to Beyond the Green there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about Native Americans? Let us know!

This Little Explorer book
#1
This Little Explorer
Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Ten Little Rabbits book
#2
Ten Little Rabbits
Written by Virginia Grossman and illustrated by Sylvia Long
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

Stolen Words / Kimotinaniwiw Pikiskwewina book
#3
Stolen Words / Kimotinaniwiw Pikiskwewina
Written by Melanie Florence and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

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.

I Am Sacagawea book
#4
I Am Sacagawea
Written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

"A biography of Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who served as a translator for the Lewis and Clark Expedition."

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito book
#5
The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
Written by Tomson Highway and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The Water Walker / Nibi Emosaawdang - 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.

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses book
#10
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
Written and illustrated by Paul Goble
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

"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 and the Hollyhocks book
#11
Priscilla and the Hollyhocks
Written by Ann Broyles and illustrated by Anna Alter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

Two Roads book
#12
Two Roads
Written by Joseph Bruchac
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

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.

I Am Not a Number / Gaawin Ndoo-Gindaaswisii book
#13
I Am Not a Number / Gaawin Ndoo-Gindaaswisii
Written by Kathy Kacer, Jenny Kay Dupuis and illustrated by Gillian Newland
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

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 book
#14
Beyond the Green
Written and illustrated by Sharlee Glenn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

"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"--

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!