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Nov. 6, 2023 – For Native American Heritage Month, we're highlighting children's books by and about Indigenous people in the United States. Browse the titles by scrolling through the list below, then find these books at the library, or put them on hold in our catalog now. Book descriptions come from the catalog and the publisher.

"Thunder Boy Jr." by Sherman Alexie

Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal name ... one that's all his own. Dad is known as Big Thunder, but Little Thunder doesn't want to share a name.

"A Day with Yayah" by Nicola I. Campbell

On an outing in Nicola Valley, British Columbia, an indigenous family forages for herbs and mushrooms while the grandmother passes down her language and knowledge to her young grandchildren. Includes a glossary.

"Birdsong" by Julie Flett

A tender, luminous portrait of art, nature, and connecting across generations. When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett's textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions. A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-Métis words that appear in the text is provided on the copyright page.

"We All Play: KimAetawAanaw" by Julie Flett

This wonderful book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world.

"Stolen Words" by Melanie Florence

The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits 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.

"All Around Us" by Xelena Gonzalez

Finding circles everywhere, a grandfather and his granddaughter meditate on the cycles of life and nature.

"Mama, Do You Love Me?" by Barbara M. Joosse

A child living in the Arctic learns that a mother's love is unconditional.

"Sweetest Kulu" by Celina Kalluk

A bedtime poem about animals of the arctic giving a gift to a newborn baby.

"We Are Water Protectors" by Carole Lindstrom

When a black snake threatens to destroy the earth, one young water protector takes a stand to defend the planet's water, in a tale inspired by the many indigenous-led conservation movements across North America.

"Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story" by Noble Maillard

As children help a Native American grandmother make fry bread, this book delves into the history, social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized Indian tribes.

"Hungry Johnny" by Cheryl Minnema

At the community feast, observing the bounty of festive foods and counting the numerous elders yet to be seated, Johnny learns to be patient and respectful despite his growling tummy.

"Johnny's Pheasant" by Cheryl Minnema

Johnny spies a pheasant which he believes is sleeping and his grandma fears is dead, but they learn they were both wrong when the pheasant departs, leaving behind a gift.

"Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story" by S.D. Nelson

A picture book biography that examines the life of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Native American who lived during the 1800s.

"When We Were Alone" by David Robertson

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother's garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. "When We Were Alone" is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.

"Cradle Me" by Debby Slier

This book is filled with photos of Native American babies with their different styles of cradle boards

"Jingle Dancer" by Cynthia L. Smith

Jenna, a member of the Muscogee, or Creek, Nation, borrows jingles from the dresses of several friends and relatives so that she can perform the jingle dance at the powwow. Includes a note about the jingle dance tradition and its regalia.

"We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga" by Traci Sorell

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.

"We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know" by Traci Sorell

A group of Native American kids from different tribes presents twelve historical and contemporary time periods, struggles, and victories to their classmates, each ending with a powerful refrain: we are still here.

"I Sang You Down From the Stars" by Tassha Spillett-Sumner

A Native American woman describes how she loved her child before it was born and, throughout her pregnancy, gathered a bundle of gifts to welcome the newborn.

"First Laugh: Welcome, Baby!" by Rose Tahe

A Navaho family welcomes a new baby into the family with love and ceremony, eagerly waiting for that first special laugh. Includes brief description of birth customs in different cultures.

"Little You" by Richard Van Camp

Celebrating the joy babies bring into the world.

"We Sang You Home" by Richard Van Camp

This celebration of the bond between parent and child captures the wonder new parents feel as they welcome their new baby.

"Fall in Line, Holden!" by Daniel W. Vandever

At a very strict school in Indigenous Nation, everyone but Holden stays in line until they reach the door at the end of the school day.

"SkySisters" by Jan Bourdeau Waboose

Two Ojibway sisters set off across the frozen north country to see the SkySpirits' midnight dance. It isn't easy for the younger sister to be silent, but gradually she begins to treasure the stillness and the wonderful experiences it brings. After an exhilarating walk and patient waiting, the girls are rewarded by the arrival of the SkySpirits – the northern lights – dancing and shimmering in the night sky.

"The Spirit Trackers" by Jan Bourdeau Waboose

Native telling of the Windigo, the Night Spirit of Winter, told by an uncle elder to two Aboriginal cousins, and the tracking of the feared creature into the forest. This illustrated story is populated with raven, moose and other forest animals, the Spirit Moon and a cold winter night; a heartwarming story of family, love, togetherness and respect for the environment.