Happy Native American Heritage Month! Though we celebrate Native peoples every month, I love being extra loud this month.
Wado, thank you, for celebrating Native American Heritage Month with us. This post was written on ancestral Cherokee and Miccosukee land, by a citizen of Cherokee Nation.
If you’re looking to add some Native voices to your shelves this year, you can check out my Bookshop.org list of wonderful reads by Native authors. Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org. I will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. I like using Bookshop.org because they help readers shop online while still benefiting local bookstores.
You can also look for these titles at your local library. If you can’t find them on the shelves, you can recommend the library purchase them by speaking with a librarian or using the library’s website to suggest a title.
The length of this list is so exciting for me. Growing up, there weren’t nearly as many Native-centered stories from Native voices available. I’m just so glad to live in a time when our stories are being so beautifully told, a time when my children have the representation I yearned for as a kid. Regardless of the target marketing age ranges these books fall in, there’s no cap on how old you can be to enjoy a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel. Grownups can read picture books, too, you know! These stories are meant to be shared. Pro tip: cry while reading Stolen Words and then laugh uproariously while reading the Jo Jo Makoons series.
There are some repeat authors on this list, because I’ve read several of their books and their backlist is just as good as their most recent release!
For Young Readers and Young Adults (in age order from picture book to YA):
- Stolen Words, Melanie Florence and Gabrielle Grimard
- My Heart Fills with Happiness and When We Are Kind, Monique Gray Smith
- Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, Danielle Greendeer, Alexis Bunten, et al.
- The First Strawberries, Anna Vojtech
- At the Mountain’s Base, Traci Sorell and Weshoyot Alvitre
- Be a Good Ancestor, Leona Prince, Gabrielle Prince
- Powwow Day, Traci Sorell and Madelyn Goodnight
- Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller, Doreen Rappaport and Linda Kukuk
- We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, Traci Sorell and Frane Lessac
- We Are Water Protectors, Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade
- Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back, Joseph Bruchac
- We are Still Here, Traci Sorell and Frane Lessac
- Jo Jo Makoons series, Dawn Quigley
- Apple in the Middle, Dawn Quigley
- Healer of the Water Monster, Brian Young
- The Sea in Winter and I Can Make This Promise, Christine Day
- Ancestor Approved, edited by Cynthia Lietich Smith
- Sisters of the Neversea, Cynthia Lietich Smith
- Rez Dogs, Joseph Bruchac
- The Reluctant Storyteller, Art Coulson
- The Summer of Bitter and Sweet, Jen Ferguson
- Elatsoe, Darcie Little Badger
- Hearts Unbroken, Cynthia Lietich Smith
- Firekeeper’s Daughter, Angeline Boulley
- Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Traci Sorell and Natasha Donovan
- She Persisted: Wilma Mankiller, Traci Sorell
- Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults, Monique Gray Smith and Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Notable Native People, Adrienne Keeene
- Sioux Code Talkers of WWII, Andrea Page
Happy reading, and happy Native American Heritage month!