Native American Heritage Month was established in 1990 as a time to celebrate and recognize Native Americans’ numerous contributions to the United States of America. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a large number of books being published that are written and illustrated by Indigenous people, and we’d love to see these #OwnVoices titles get a bit more love. Here are a few nonfiction for children titles to check out!
Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection edited by Matt Bembicki
Native storytellers were paired with comic artists to tell their traditional stories in a graphic novel format. It is a great resource on traditional stories.
Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane
Travel through the history of powwow and better understand each part, including the cultural and historical significance. Interspersed with stories from the author paired with an extensive resource section makes this a book worth picking up.
What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal by Eldon Yellowhorse and Kathy Lowinger
Learn the history of what Indigenous people did when invaders arrived in their homelands, highlighting key events. Included is a resources page to explore more.
Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes by Wab Kinew and Illustrated by Joe Morse
Wab Kinew created this rap that celebrates several Indigenous heroes from the United States and Canada. It introduces you to so many different people, and opens the possibilities for children (or adults) to do more research about them. Included are short biographies for each person mentioned in the rap.
Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army by Art Coulson and Illustrated by Nick Hardcastle
Jim Thorpe is a recognizable name, but most may not know much about his life. This book talks about his childhood and his involvement in sports while he attended the Carlisle Indian School. At the end of the book, more information is provided about Jim Thorpe, the other members of the football team, the coach, and the school. It is a great book for those interested in history or sports.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Illustrated by Frane Lessac
The picture book focuses on the Cherokee Nation’s word to express gratitude: otsaliheliga. As it follows through each season, different celebrations, sports, and other things that are significant to the Cherokee Nation are introduced. This book is perfect for any season, and can be used as a way to open up conversations with children about gratitude.
Continue celebrating Native American Heritage Month with the following:
For additional titles, ask your friendly neighborhood librarian, or check out this great resources page from the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition.
Written by Pamela Jayne
Youth Services Librarian