8 Kids Books About Native americans

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Stolen Words / Kimotinaniwiw Pikiskwewina book
#1
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.

The Talkative Tortoise book
#2
The Talkative Tortoise
Written by Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by Charlotte Cooke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A talkative tortoise lets his vanity win out over common sense in this tale of why the tortoise has a cracked shell. This traditional Himalayan 'Tale with a Twist' is retold by poet, author and storyteller, Andrew Fusek Peters. Tales from around the world provide an insight into cultures other than our own.

The Water Walker / Nibi Emosaawdang book
#3
The Water Walker / Nibi Emosaawdang
Written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

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.

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."

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga book
#5
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
Written by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Frané Lessac
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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 Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito book
#6
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.

Sacajawea of the Shoshone book
#7
Sacajawea of the Shoshone
Written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Albert Nguyen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

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 book
#8
The Thunder Egg
Written by Tim J Myers and illustrated by Winfield Coleman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!