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Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month has been recognized each November since the turn of the century. You can read more about it at the Native American Heritage Month government homepage. Celebrate this year with a great read from this family book list!

Forever Our Home by Tonya Simpson

Youth Picture Books SIM
This gentle picture-book lullaby, in both Plains Cree and English, is a celebration of the plants and animals of the Prairies and a meditation on the sacred, ancestral connections between Indigenous children and their Traditional Territories.

Grandma’s Tipi by S. D. Nelson

Youth Picture Books NEL
Now that Clara is almost in third grade, she’s finally old enough to spend her first summer away from home visiting her grandma, Unci, and her cousin at their home in Standing Rock Reservation. To welcome her visit, Uncle Louie brings an extra-special surprise in his pickup truck: the tipi that’s been passed down through their family for generations.

We Belong to the Drum by Sandra Lamouche

Youth Picture Books LAM
In this dual-language illustrated picture book, a child who’s away from his family for the first time at daycare finds belonging through the music of the powwow drum. In English and Cree.

Seasons of the Circle by Joseph Bruchac

Youth Picture Books BRU
The image of the circle is sacred to many Native American tribal nations. Every year, the seasons flow into one another in a never-ending circle, signaling the proper time to plant, to gather, to celebrate, and to give thanks. This book is a celebration of a Native American year. From Maliseet hunters following moose tracks in the snow to Cherokee people gathering berries in May, this is a hauntingly lyrical tribute to the circle of the seasons.

Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child

Youth Picture Books CHI
When Uncle and Windy Girl attend a powwow, Windy watches the dancers and listens to the singers. She eats tasty food and joins family and friends around the campfire. Later, Windy falls asleep under the stars. Uncle’s stories inspire visions in her head: a bowwow powwow, where all the dancers are dogs. All celebrating in song and dance. All attesting to the wonder of the powwow.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

Youth Picture Books LIN
Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all… When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource. Inspired by the many indigenous-led movements across North America, this bold and lyrical picture book issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.

When We Were Alone by David Robertson

Youth Picture Books ROB
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.

First Laugh: Welcome, Baby! by Rose Ann Tahe

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

Jo Jo Makoons series by Dawn Quigley

Youth Early Chapter Books JOJO
American Indian Youth Literature Award: Middle Grade Honor Book! Hello/Boozhoo—meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this all-new chapter book series by Dawn Quigley celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is.

Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth LaPensée

Youth Graphic Novels LAP
Anishinaabe culture and storytelling meet Alice in Wonderland in this coming-of-age graphic novel that explores Indigenous and gender issues through a fresh yet familiar looking glass.

Two Tribes by Emily Bowen Cohen

Youth Graphic Novels COH
Mia is still getting used to living with her mom and stepfather, and to the new role their Jewish identity plays in their home. Feeling out of place at home and at her Jewish day school, Mia finds herself thinking more and more about her Muscogee father, who lives with his new family in Oklahoma.

Trickster: Native American Tales by Matt Dembicki

Youth Graphic Novels COH
All cultures have tales of the trickster—a crafty creature or being who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief. He disrupts the order of things, often humiliating others and sometimes himself. In Native American traditions, the trickster takes many forms, from coyote or rabbit to raccoon or raven. This graphic anthology of Native American trickster tales brings together Native American folklore and the world of comics.

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids Ed. by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Youth Fiction SMITH
This collection of intersecting stories with Michigan ties by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Youth Fiction ERDRICH
This National Book Award finalist by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Louise Erdrich is the first installment in an essential nine-book series chronicling one hundred years in the life of one Ojibwe family and includes beautiful interior black-and-white artwork done by the author.


Youth Fiction DAY
A thoughtful and heartfelt middle grade novel about a girl whose hopeful plans for Indigenous Peoples’ Day (and plans to ask her crush to the school dance) go all wrong—until she finds herself surrounded by the love of her Indigenous family and community at an intertribal powwow.

Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac

Youth Fiction BRUCHAC
Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation—she’s there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There’s a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall

Youth Fiction MARSHALL
Teased for his fair coloring, eleven-year-old Jimmy McClean travels with his maternal grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, to learn about his Lakota heritage while visiting places significant in the life of Crazy Horse, the nineteenth-century Lakota leader and warrior, in a tale that weaves the past with the present.

Sky Wolf’s Call: The Gift of Indigenous Knowledge by Eldon Yellowhorn

Youth Nonfiction J 500.89 Y
From healing to astronomy to our connection to the natural world, the lessons from Indigenous knowledge inform our learning and practices today. How do knowledge systems get passed down over generations? This book reveals how Indigenous knowledge comes from centuries of practices, experiences, and ideas gathered by people who have a long history with the natural world. Indigenous knowledge is explored through the use of fire and water, the acquisition of food, the study of astronomy, and healing practices.

Indigenous Ingenuity by Deidre Havrelock

Youth Nonfiction J 500.89 H
A middle grade survey nonfiction work celebrating North American Indigenous knowledge and Native contributions to contemporary STEM.

Treaty Words: For as Long as the Rivers Flow by Aimée Craft

Youth Nonfiction J 342.71 C
On the banks of the river that have been Mishomis’s home his whole life, he teaches his granddaughter to listen—to hear both the sounds and the silences, and so to learn her place in Creation. Most importantly, he teaches her about treaties—the bonds of reciprocity and renewal that endure for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow.