October 25, 2023

14 Kids Books for Native American Heritage Month

By Angela Dubinger, Youth Collection Development Librarian

Did you know that November is Native American Heritage Month (also referred to as Native American Indian Heritage Month and National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month)? What began at the turn of the century as a day of acknowledgement of the cultures and traditions of Native Americans and Alaska Natives has grown into a designated month of celebration.

Check out these great online sites for more fantastic resources and activities.

You can also search the online collections of tools, art, and more at the National Museum of the American Indian.

To celebrate this heritage month, join us for the Myaamiaki: A People With A Past, Not A People Of The Past program (November 6 | 6 PM – 7:30 PM | Fishers Library & Virtual)! The Great Lakes region was once home to many indigenous tribes, including the myaamia – the downstream people. HEPL welcomes Logan York, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. Logan will teach us about the history of the myaamia people, 1700s to present, with an emphasis on how the Miami Tribe is thriving today. The 45-minute presentation will be followed by Q&A, as well as time to explore physical artifacts. All ages welcome.

Below is a compilation of 14 fabulous kids’ books recommended to honor and commemorate Native American art, life, and history. Check them out!


Picture Books

We are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know

By Traci Sorell (Cherokee), illustrated by Frane Lessac

Bowwow Powwow

By Brenda J. Child (Red Lake Ojibwe), illustrated by Jonathan Thunder (Red Lake Ojibwe), translated by Gordon Jourdain (Lac La Croix First Nation)

Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer

By Traci Sorrell (Cherokee), illustrated by Natasha Donovan

If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving

By Chris Newell (Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township), illustrated by Winona Nelson (Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa)

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

By Kevin Noble Maillard (Seminole), illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal (Peruvian-American)

Josie Dances

By Denise Lajimodiere (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), illustrated by Angela Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Band)

Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi!

By Art Coulson (Cherokee), illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight (Chickasaw)

Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman

By Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) and Nancy K. Mays, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckly (Ojibwe Woodland)

We All Play

By Julie Flett (Cree-Metis)

EARLY CHAPTER BOOKS

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend

By Dawn Quigley (Ojibwe), illustrated by Tara Audibert (Wolastoqey)

The first chapter book in this series is about a confident Ojibwe girl who loves who she is. Ages 6 and up.

OLDER CHAPTER BOOKS

The Birchbark House

By Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa)

Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

Healer of the Water Monster

By Brian Young (Navajo)

Inspired by Navajo beliefs, an ordinary boy must save the life of a Water Monster and help his uncle suffering from addiction by discovering his own bravery and happiness. Ages 8 and up.

The Sea in Winter

By Christine Day (Upper Skagit)

Ballerina Maisie Cannon works to rebuild her strength after a knee injury as she struggles to find joy and where she fits into her blended family. Ages 8 and up.

Sisters of the Neversea

By Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee)

Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters, but what will become of them when their feuding parents plan to spend the summer apart. Yet, a mysterious boy, who calls himself Peter Pan, intends to take them away from home for good—to the land of wild animals, Merfolk, fairies, and kidnapped children. Ages 8 and up.