November is National Native American Heritage Month, and we have lots of S-Collection books to help you celebrate the history, traditions, diversity, and contributions of Native Americans. In fact, we have so many resources that this month, we’re only focusing on non-fiction. December’s blog post will cover some of the excellent children’s fiction by and about Native Americans.
Two major issues to keep in mind:
1) Keyword or subject searching for titles can be difficult in this area. Sometimes a book will have a general subject, such as “Indians of North America,” “Native Americans” or “American Indians,” but other times you will need to search for a specific tribe. It may be helpful to search for several common spellings or names for tribes. For example, the Ojibwe tribe may also be spelled “Ojibwa” or “Ojibway,” and they are also known as Chippewa and Anishinaabe. You may need to try multiple searches to find all the books on the topic.
2) Make sure that when you find a book, it portrays Native Americans in an accurate, unbiased way. Watch out for stereotypes. For more comprehensive guidelines for evaluating books for bias, see How to Tell the Difference: A Guide for Evaluating Children’s Books for Anti-Indian Bias, reproduced here:
Resources for Adults
Seale, Doris and Beverly Slapin (eds.).
A broken flute: the Native experience in books for children. 2005.
Evaluates hundreds of children’s and young adult books on the Native American experience, culture, and traditions.
[SSHEL Q. 016.3058997 B787]
York, Sherry (ed.).
Children’s and young adult literature by Native Americans: a guide for librarians, teachers, parents, and students. 2003.
Written by Native Americans, this unique source book covers titles in print for fiction, folklore, drama, poetry, and nonfiction, complete with ISBNs, subject headings, reviews, awards, authors, and illustrators. A handy resources section steers readers to useful Web sites and organizations, while a chapter on publishers lists contact information. Thorough index includes tribes and translators.
[Main Stacks 016.8108 Y82c]
Birchfield, D. L.
Cherokee history and culture. 2012.
An introduction to the locale, history, way of life, and culture of the Cherokee Indians.
[S-Coll S.975.004975 D9937c]
Dennis, Yvonne Wakim
A kid’s guide to Native American history: more than 50 activities. 2010.
Hands-on activities, games, and crafts introduce children to the diversity of Native American cultures and teach them about the people, experiences, and events that have helped shape America, past and present. Nine geographical areas cover a variety of communities such as the Mohawk in the Northeast, Ojibway in the Midwest, Shoshone in the Great Basin, Apache in the Southwest, Yup’ik in Alaska, and Native Hawaiians.
[S-Coll Q. S.970.00497 D423k]
Enzoe, Pete and Mindy Willett.
The caribou feed our soul: Étthén bet’á dághíddá. 2010.
Describes the life of Pete Enzoe, a Chipewyan Indian living in the Northwest Territories, focusing on how he maintains his tribe’s culture and the importance of caribou to his people’s survival.
[S-Coll S.639.11 En99c]
Mann, Charles C.
Before Columbus: the Americas of 1491. 2009.
This study of Native American societies is adapted for younger readers from Charles C. Mann’s best-selling 1491. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, the book argues that the people of North and South America lived in enormous cities, raised pyramids hundreds of years before the Egyptians did, engineered corn, and farmed the rainforests.
[S-Coll Q. S.970.01 M3152b]
When the shadbush blooms. 2007.
A young Lenni Lenape Indian child describes her family’s life through the seasons. Includes facts about the Lenni Lenape Indians.
[Education Reserves SE. M563w]
Saltypie: a Choctaw journey from darkness into light. 2010.
Stories of the author’s Choctaw Indian family, centering particularly on his blind grandmother.
[S-Coll Q. S.973.04 T493s]
Brown, Dee Alexander.
Saga of the Sioux: an adaptation of Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. 2011.
A lavishly illustrated adaptation for children of Brown’s meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century.
[S-Coll S.978 B8127s]
Proud to be Inuvialuit = Quviahuktunga Inuvialuugama. 2010.
James and his daughter, Rebecca, go on a trip to harvest beluga whale. Join them and learn about how the beluga whale is interlinked with Inuvialuit culture and history.
[S-Coll S.971.93 P7566p]
Wade, Mary Dodson.
Texas native peoples. 2008.
This book contains all kinds of interesting facts about the first people who lived in Texas. Learn about the different Native American tribes that have called Texas home and the beliefs and practices that make them unique.
[S-Coll S.976.4004 W119t2008]
Walker, Paul Robert
American Indians. 2011.
Learn about Native Americans and the related events that shaped American history.
[S-Coll S.970.00497 W153a]
Skywalkers: Mohawk ironworkers build the city. 2010.
Narrative text and photographs examine Native American history and the development of structural engineering and architecture, focusing on Mohawk ironworkers.
[S-Coll S.690.092 W439s]
Annino, Jan Godown.
She sang promise: the story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole tribal leader. 2010.
Storyteller, journalist, and community activist, Betty Mae Jumper was a voice for her people–ultimately becoming the first female elected Seminole tribal leader.
[S-Coll SB. J951a]
A boy named Beckoning: the true story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American hero. 2008.
This story reveals the life of a Native American boy named Wassaja, who was kidnapped from his tribe and sold as a slave. Adopted and renamed Carlos Montezuma, the young boy traveled throughout the Old West, bearing witness to the poor treatment of Native Americans. Carlos eventually became a doctor and leader for his people.
[S-Coll SB. M7813c]
Red Bird sings: the story of Zitkala-S̈a, Native American author, musician, and activist. 2011.
Zitkala-Sa finds that she can sing through her music, but also by writing stories and giving speeches and being an activist for Native American rights.
[S-Coll SB. Z821c]
Great women from our First Nations. 2007.
Profiles ten outstanding First Nations women who have helped raise the profile of indigenous culture in North America.
[S-Coll S.305.48 F8271g]
Presents the life and accomplishments of the Shawnee leader, including his struggle to regain lost Native American territory, his efforts to unite Native American nations, and his death during the War of 1812.
[SSHEL Storage SB. T255m]
Nelson, S. D.
Black Elk’s vision: a Lakota story. 2010.
A simple biography of Lakota-Oglala medicine man Black Elk, from his childhood vision which shaped his life through his battles with the whites and his travels with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.
[S-Coll SB. B627b]