Celebrate Indigenous Voices

Read these outstanding titles to understand the past and present experiences of Indigenous peoples in North America.

Compiled by:
Ellen A.
Picture Books
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Kevin Noble Maillard
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mai)

As children help a Native American grandmother make fry bread, this book delves into the history, social ways, food ways, and politics of America's 573 recognized Native American tribes. Suggested for ages 3–6.

Shin-chi's Canoe

Nicola I. Campbell
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Cam)

Forced to use only their English names and not speak to their siblings at school, Shinchi holds fast to the tiny canoe given to him by his father and looks forward to the day when the salmon return to the river, hopeful that things will then improve for his family and the nation he loves. Suggested for ages 6–9.

Stolen Words

Melanie Florence
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Flo)

A little girl sets out to help her grandfather discover the Cree language that was stolen from him when he was sent away to residential school as a boy. Suggested for ages 6–9.

Thunder Boy Jr.

Sherman Alexie
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ale)

Little Thunder wants a name that separates him from his father, Big Thunder, and considers such options as "Touch the Sky" and "Drums, Drums, and More Drums" before his father helps him find the perfect alternative. Suggested for ages 3–6.

We Are Water Protectors

Carole Lindstrom
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Lin)

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, this book issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption. Suggested for ages 6–9.

When We Were Alone

David Robertson
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Rob)

Helping her grandmother tend her garden, a young girl asks her First Nations forebear why she wears bright colors and has long hair, so her grandmother tells her about her youth in a residential school where all of these things were taken away. Suggested for ages 6–9.

Wild Berries = Pikaci-Minisa

Julie Flett
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Fle)

Clarence, a young Cree Native American, and his grandmother pick blueberries together as they sing, watch the animals, and enjoy sampling fruit. Suggested for ages 3–6.

Juvenile Fiction
The Birchbark House

Louise Erdrich
(Juvenile Fiction - J Erdrich)
Series: Birchbark House; 1

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. Suggested for ages 9–12.

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom

Tim Tingle
(Juvenile Fiction - J Tingle)

In the 1800s, a Choctaw girl becomes friends with a slave boy from a plantation across the great river, and when she learns that his family is in trouble, she helps them cross to freedom. Suggested for ages 6–9.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Robbie Robertson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Roberts)

Hiawatha, a Mohawk, is plotting revenge for the murder of his family by the evil Onondaga Chief, Tadodaho, when he meets the Great Peacemaker who enlists his help in bringing the nations together to share his vision of a new way of life marked by peace, love, and unity rather than war, hate, and fear. Suggested for ages 9–12.

How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story

Tim Tingle
(Juvenile Fiction - J Tingle)
Series: How I Became a Ghost, 1

A Choctaw boy tells the story of his people's removal from the only land they had ever known, and how their journey to Oklahoma led him to become a ghost–one with the ability to help those he left behind. Suggested for ages 9–12.

I Am Not a Number

Jenny Kay Dupuis
(Juvenile Fiction - J Dupuis)

A young First Nations girl is sent away to a residential school and is determined not to forget who she is and where she came from. Suggested for ages 9–12.

I Can Make This Promise

Christine Day
(Juvenile Fiction - J Day)

In a story based on the author’s real-life experiences, a girl uncovers a secret that connects her to her Native American heritage, throwing everything she believes about her family into question. Suggested for ages 9–12.

Race to the Sun

Rebecca Roanhorse
(Juvenile Fiction - J Roanhor)

Guided by her Navajo ancestors, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay discovers she's descended from a holy woman and destined to become a monsterslayer, starting with the evil businessman who kidnapped her father. Includes a glossary of Navajo terms. Suggested for ages 9–12.

Talking Leaves

Joseph Bruchac
(Juvenile Fiction - J Bruchac)

Thirteen-year-old Uwohali is worried by his father's obsession with making markings that cause people to suspect him of witchcraft, in a reimagining of the creation of the Cherokee alphabet. Suggested for ages 9–12.

Juvenile Nonfiction
Bowwow Powwow

Brenda J. Child
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 497.333 Chi)

This playful story is accompanied by a companion retelling in Ojibwe and brought to life by vibrant dreamscapes. The result is a powwow tale for the ages. Suggested for ages 3–6.

The People Shall Continue

Simon J. Ortiz
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 970.0049 Ort)

This powerful story by a renowned Acoma Pueblo poet and storyteller traces the history of Indigenous Peoples of North America from the time of creation to the present. Suggested for ages 9–12.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Traci Sorell
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 970.3 Cherokee Sor)

"Otsaliheliga" is a Cherokee word that's used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. Suggested for ages 6–9.

What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal

Eldon Yellowhorn
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 970.0049 Yel)

What do people do when their civilization is invaded? Indigenous peoples have been faced with disease, war, broken promises, and forced assimilation. Despite crushing losses and insurmountable challenges, they formed new nations from the remnants of old ones, they adopted new ideas and built on them, they fought back, and they kept their cultures alive. Suggested for ages 9–12.