10 Award Winning Children’s Books That Celebrate Indigenous People 10 Award Winning Children’s Books That Celebrate Indigenous People skip to Main Content

10 Award Winning Children’s Books That Celebrate Indigenous People

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Indigenous Peoples’ Day is Monday, October 12th. Celebrate the lives and stories of Native Americans with one of these American Indian Youth Literature Award winning books.

 

Take story time on the road and take a hike through the Holliday Nature Preserve in Westland. The Native American foot trail is a trip through time in the middle of the city. It’s a true footpath with few markers but lots to experience, wear walking shoes and baby backpack because it’s not stroller friendly.

 

Water is a vital resource and especially valued by indigenous people. If you haven’t already, upgrade one-use water bottles for reusable ones. Check out these beautiful bottles with artwork by indigenous peoples.

 

Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child

Windy Girl is blessed with a vivid imagination. From Uncle she gathers stories of long-ago traditions, about dances and sharing and gratitude. Windy can tell such stories herself–about her dog, Itchy Boy, and the way he dances to request a treat and how he wriggles with joy in response to, well, just about everything.

 

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Novle Maillard

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

 

Birdsong by Julie Flett

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.

 

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.

 

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell

At the mountain’s base sits a cabin under an old hickory tree. And in that cabin lives a family — loving, weaving, cooking, and singing. The strength in their song sustains them through trials on the ground and in the sky, as they wait for their loved one, a pilot, to return from war.

 

Shanyaak’utlaax: Salmon Boy by Michael Goade

Shanyaak’utlaax: Salmon Boy” is a children’s story that teaches about respect for nature, animals and culture. It comes from an ancient Tlingit story that was edited by Johnny Marks, Hans Chester, David Katzeek, and Nora and Richard Dauenhauer.

 

Mission To Space by John Herrington

Astronaut John Herrington shares his passion for space travel and his Chickasaw heritage as he gives children a glimpse into his astronaut training at NASA and his mission to the International Space Station. Learn what it takes to train for space flight, see the tasks he completed in space, and join him on his spacewalk 220 miles above the earth. This unique children s book is illustrated with photos from Herrington’s training and space travel and includes an English-to-Chickasaw vocabulary list with space-related terms.

 

All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez

Grandpa says circles are all around us. He points to the rainbow that rises high in the sky after a thundercloud has come. “Can you see? That’s only half of the circle. That rest of it is down below, in the earth.” He and his granddaughter meditate on gardens and seeds, on circles seen and unseen, inside and outside us, on where our bodies come from and where they return to. They share and create family traditions in this stunning exploration of the cycles of life and nature.

 

Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People by S.D. Nelson

Sitting Bull (c. 1831–1890) was one of the greatest Lakota/Sioux warriors and chiefs who ever lived. From Sitting Bull’s childhood—killing his first buffalo at age 10—to being named war chief to leading his people against the U.S. Army, Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People brings the story of the great chief to light. Sitting Bull was instrumental in the war against the invasive wasichus (white men) and was at the forefront of the combat, including the Battles of Killdeer Mountain and the Little Bighorn. He and Crazy Horse were the last Lakota/Sioux to surrender their people to the U.S. government and resort to living on a reservation.

 

Fall In Line, Holden! by Daniel Vandever

Fall in Line, Holden! tells the story of a young Navajo student named Holden as he venture’s through boarding school while constantly being told to ‘fall in line’. While surrounded by a world that requires him to conform and follow strict rules, Holden’s imagination creates a colorful world of excitement.

 

Photo credit: Three Books A Night

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Kerry

About Kerry Doman

Kerry Doman is the founder and CEO of LittleGuide Detroit and After 5 Detroit. She has lived downtown Detroit for 10+ years and still calls the city home with her husband and son. As a relatively new mom, she’s excited to explore downtown with her family and hopes you’ll enjoy doing the same!

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