We hope these selections serve to educate, celebrate, and encourage dialogue on the diverse nations, cultures, and experiences of Native peoples throughout North America. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month—and continue reading all year long—with nonfiction and fiction, from remembered histories to imagined futures, by Native authors.

May We Have Enough to Share by Richard Van Camp

Author Richard Van Camp is a member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Forth Smith, and has collaborated with  Indigenous photographers that are part of the collective blog Tea & Bannock, to create this heartwarming look at family and gratitude.  Filled with pictures of Indigenous families, this is a beautiful board book that can be enjoyed at any age.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

This board book celebrates the simple joys found in friends, family, and every day events: like the sun on your face or the smell of warm bannock baking in the oven.  Events that fill your heart with joy and happiness. Enjoy illustrator Julie Flett’s simple illustrations and bright color palette that complement the lyrical text.  Author Monique Gray Smith is Cree, Lakota and Scottish, and illustrator Julie Flett is Cree-Metis.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla), Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

Author Richard Van Camp and Illustrator Julie Flett honor the bond between parent in child with beautiful text and a pictures in a rich, warm color palette. This board book captures the wonder of parents welcoming a new child into the world. Both author and illustrator are members of Native Nations. Author Richard Van Camp is a member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Forth Smith, while illustrator Julie Flett is Cree-Metis.

Available formats:  Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

Hello Humpback! By Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd

This board book explores the natural world of the Pacific Northwest and encourages readers to greet the animals that call it home.  Ballad style stanzas use a repeating pattern that creates a peacefulness which is reflected in Vickers’ unique illustrations. Author and Illustrator Roy Henry Vickers is a member of the First Nation in Canada. Vicker’s father was Tsimshian, Haida and Heiltsuk and his mother was adopted by the Eagle clan in Kitkatla, B.C.

Available formats:  Book

Welcome Song for Baby by Richard Van Camp

This board book is filled with photographs of Native families welcoming a new baby home. Lyrical text creates a special lullaby for little ones. A  magical look at the joy and wonder sparked by new arrivals. Richard Van Camp is a prolific children’s author and a member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Forth Smith

Available formats: Ebook (Hoopla)

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

In this picture book, Thunder Boy Jr. wants a name that’s all his own. Dad is known as Big Thunder, but Little Thunder doesn’t want to share a name.  Enjoy this heartwarming story about family and growing up.  Author Sherman Alexie is Spokane/Coeur d’ Alene.

Available formats: Book, Audiobook (Hoopla), Audiobook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Zoe and the Fawn by Catherine Jameson

Zoe and her father are delighted to come across a fawn in the forest. But the fawn is alone―where is its mother? Join Zoe on her quest for the deer, as she encounters animals and learns their Okanagan (syilx) names along the way. Rhyming text and repetition along with simple, textured illustrations make this a wonderful bilingual picture book to share together.  Native author Catherine Jameson is a recognized Shuswap Okanagan.

Available formats: Book

Birdsong by Julie Flett

Celebrate the heartwarming beauty of intergenerational relationships in this picture book by Native author 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. Follow our protagonist as she navigates the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend. Julie Flett is Cree Metis. 

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

SkySisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose

Experience the natural phenomena of the northern lights in this picture book. Two Ojibway sisters trek across the frozen north country to see the SkySpirits, the Northern Lights. Native author Jan Bourdeau Waboose is Nishnawbe Ojibway from Northern Ontario.

Available formats: Book

The Star People: A Lakota Story by S.D. Nelson

Enjoy this picture book about siblings embarking on an adventure to learn more about their culture. When Young Wolf and his older sister wander from their village and face the danger of a prairie fire, Elk Tooth Woman, their deceased grandmother who is now one of the Star People, appears to guide them.  Author S.D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia L. Smith

This heartwarming picture book shares the story of a family and community coming together to help a young girl reach her dream. Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared over generations in her family and intertribal community. She hopes to dance at the next powwow. But with the day quickly approaching, she has a problem—how will her dress sing if it has no jingles? Native author Cynthia L. Smith is a member of  the Muscogee Creek Nation.

Available formats: Book

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell

This picture book is a beautiful dedication to the Native American service members of WWII.  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. Native author Traci Sorell is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Fall in line, Holden by Daniel W. Vandever

This picture book looks a the effects of the residential schools on the children of the Native Nations. A young Navajo student named Holden at a boarding school is repeatedly 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. Author Daniel W. Vandever is Navajo.

Available formats: Book

We are Water Protectors By Carole Lindstrom

This picture books follows a young girl who stands up to to defend her peoples what source when a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water. Using the indigenous-led environmental movements as inspiration, author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Michaela Goade collaborate to create this beautiful book. Carole Lindstrom is of Anishinaabe/Métis descent and is tribally enrolled with the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe. Michaela Goade is of Tlingit descent and is tribally enrolled with the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.

Available formats: Book

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

This story looks at the history and lives of the Cherokee people, specifically the “Trail of Tears, naming of children, and the importance of listening to elders at the Cherokee National Holiday.” Author Traci Sorell is a registered citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

Available formats: Book, Ebook (Hoopla)

A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell

Featuring Julie Flett’s signature style and the lyrical and uplifting text of author Nicola Campbell, this picture book highlights the transfer of culture and knowledge that happens in intergenerational relationships.  On an outing in Nicola Valley, British Columbia, a Native American family forages for herbs and mushrooms while the grandmother passes down her language and knowledge to her young grandchildren. Illustrator Julie Flett is Cree Metis,  and author Nicola I. Campbell is Interior Salish on her mother’s side and Métis from Saskatchewan on her father’s.

Available formats: Book

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith

This picture book looks at fostering compassion and kindness in our communities. Through everyday actions we can show love and support for each other and consideration for each other’s well-being, these actions are how we hold each other up. Author Monique Gray Smith is Cree, Lakota and Scottish, and illustrator  Danielle Daniel is of Algonquin Anishinaabe, French and Scottish descent.

Available formats: Ebook (Hoopla), Ebook (Overdrive Media on Demand)

Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story by  Donald Uluadluak

When Jake finally gets a puppy to call his own, all he can think about is the fast, strong sled dog that his puppy will become. But Kamik is far from an obedient sled dog-he won’t listen.  Jake decides to visit  his grandfather, who raised many puppies of his own while living out on the land, Jake learns that Inuit have been raising puppies just like Kamik to be obedient, resourceful, helpful sled dogs for generations. Inspired by the real-life recollections of an elder from Arviat, Nunavut, this book lovingly recreates the traditional dog-rearing practices that prevailed when Inuit relied on dogs for transportation and survival. Native author Donald Uluadlauk is Inuit.

Available formats: Ebook (Hoopla)

In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok

The reader is invited into the amautik, the pouch in the back of a mother’s parka used to carry a child, to experience everything through the eyes of the baby nestled inside, from the cloudlike softness of the pouch to the glistening sound of Anaana’s laughter. Sweet and soothing, this book offers a unique perspective that will charm readers of all ages. Author Nadia Sammurtok is Inuit, originally from Rankin Inlet, Nunavu.

Available formats: Book

I Am Not a Number/ Gaawin gindaaswin ndaawsii by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer

This bilingual picture book is based on the real life experiences of native children forced to attend residential schools and boarding houses. . When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns in charge at the school, who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene’s parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again, but will this put the family in trouble with the law.  A poignant and courageous look at the challenges faced by a native family.  Native author Jenny Kay Dupuis is Nipissing First Nation from Canada.

Available formats: Book


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