Celebrate Indigenous Voices

This booklist features titles written about and by members of the Native American community. Stories of this community’s experiences are significant because they allow children to see themselves in stories and know the person behind the words are similar to them. It means that not only is the story important, but also who tells that story.

Picture Books
Berry Song

Michaela Goade
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Goa)

A young Tlingit girl and her grandmother pick berries throughout the seasons. Her grandmother teaches her how to listen and speak to the land around her. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Biindigen! : Amik says welcome

Nancy Cooper
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Coo)

Amik’s large beaver family is coming to visit, but his little sister Nishiime feels too shy and hides away, causing Amik and his cousins to search the whole forest for her. When Nishiime finally comes out of hiding, she realizes she has a lot in common with her cousins, even if they live far away. The text includes Anishinaabe words throughout with a glossary in the back. Recommended for ages 3–6.

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. Recommended for ages 3–6.

Just Like Grandma

Kim Rogers
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Rog)

Becca wants to be just like her grandma. She loves going with her to dance at the powwow, bead moccasins, or paint in her studio. Grandma also watches and learns from Becca. In fact, she would like to be like Becca, too. Recommended for ages 3–6.

My Powerful Hair

Carole Lindstrom
(Juvenile Picture Book - Ej Lin)

A Native girl reflects on her and her family’s hair throughout their lives and celebrates the importance of growing your hair in Indigenous communities. Recommended ages 6–9.

Rock Your Mocs

Laurel Goodluck
(Juvenile Picture Book - Ej Goo)

In celebration of Rock Your Mocs Day (November 15), a diverse group of Indigenous children wear their moccasins while they play, dance, and enjoy their day. Recommended for ages 3–6. 

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. Recommended 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. Recommended for ages 6–9.

Juvenile Fiction
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal stories for kids

Cynthia Leitich Smith
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ancesto)

Explore 18 different stories and poems about families from across the United States and Canada who come together to celebrate and honor their Native traditions at an intertribal powwow. Recommended for ages 9–12. 

The Birchbark House

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

Omakayas, a 7-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. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Healer of the Water Monster

Brian Young
(Juvenile Fiction - J Young)

Nathan, a young Navajo boy, is excited to spend summer with his grandmother. What he expects to be a quiet summer turns into an epic hero's journey through a world of Navajo cosmology. Recommended 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. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Sisters of the Neversea

Cynthia Leitich Smith
(Juvenile Fiction - J Smith)

In this modern take of Peter Pan, the focus shifts from the boy who won’t grow up to Native American Lily and English Wendy—stepsisters who must face both dangers and wonders to find their way back to the family they love. Recommended for ages 9–12.

The Storyteller

Brandon Hobson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hobson)

Ziggy’s mother went missing 10 years ago, and Ziggy thinks a secret cave occupied by the Nunnehi (trickster spirits) may have answers on how to find her. Recommended for ages 9–12. 

We Still Belong

Christine Day
(Juvenile Fiction - J Day)

Indigenous People’s Day is not turning out how Wesley had hoped. When her special poem doesn't receive any attention, and her plan to ask out her crush goes all wrong, Wesley relies on the love of her Indigenous community for support. Recommended for ages 9–12.

Juvenile Nonfiction
Colonization and the Wampanoag story

Linda Coombs
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 974.0049 Coo)

Alternating chapters tell the stories of what life was like for the tribal nations of America before European settlers arrived and how European settlement impacted Indigenous peoples' lives. Recommended for ages 9–12.

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. Recommended for ages 9–12.

We Are Still Here: Native American truths everyone should know

Traci Sorell
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 973.0497 Sor)

A group of Native American children from various tribes present the journey of Native Nations to reclaim their land and rights, resist assimilation, and protect future generations. Recommended for ages 9–12. 

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. Recommended for ages 9–12.

What Your Ribbon Skirt Means to Me: Deb Haaland’s Historic Inauguration

Alexis Bunten
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 305.897 Bun)

Children gather to watch history as Deb Haaland is sworn in as the first Indigenous secretary of the Department of the Interior. She is wearing a ribbon skirt, a ceremonial garment that celebrates Indigenous womanhood. That night, while celebrating Secretary Haaland, children make their own ribbon skirts, honoring their ancestors and all who came before them. Recommended for ages 9–12.