Thunderpuppy - Native American Books
Learn more about Native culture, art and their legends with these engaging books! From stories told by Native writers to informative books, there are many of options to chose from!
When We Were Alone David A. Robertson

This is a story about a young girl and her grandmother. The young girl wants to know why her grandmother always wears such bright colors and keeps her hair so long. Her grandmother shares the story of being sent away to live in a residential school where they suppressed through uniformity. Now she wears bright colors and keeps her hair long to express herself and shows her heritage proudly to the world. This book is recommended for children ages 4-8. p>

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story Kevin Noble Maillard

This is a sweet book about Fry bread, Native American culture and the importance of traditional foods in culture. A fry bread recipe is even included! This book is recommended for children ages 3-6 and it is also an excellent read-aloud story.

Jingle Dancer Cynthia Leitich Smith

This is the story of the tradition of the Native American Jingle Dancer. Jenna, the main character of the story, wants to share in this tradition with Grandma Wolfe and her community and how her family hers her achieve that goal. It is a great introduction to Native dance, regalia, and culture. This book is recommended for children ages 4-8.

The Girls Who Loved Wild Horses Paul Goble

This story is a Caldecott Award-winning story about a girl devoted to her tribe’s horses and their well-being. The illustrations are a great example of the Flat style used in Native American art. The story is wonderful for children ages 5-8.

Stolen Words Melanie Florence

This story is similar to When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson, it tells the story of a young girl asking her grandfather to speak in his native language. He tells her that he cannot because his words were stolen while he was at residential school. His granddaughter helps him to find his words and reclaim his heritage and language. The illustrations and words are beautiful, it is recommended for children ages 4-8.

Explore Native American Cultures Anita Yasuda

This book along with A Kid’s Guide to Native American History by Yvonne Wakim Dennis both offer hands on activities, games, crafts, and introduces children to the diversity of Native American people, experiences and events; both past and present. These are great projects for children and adults to complete together!

We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know Traci Sorell

This book includes information about forced assimilation, land allotment, cultural persistence, and nationhood among numerous other topics.

We Are Water Protectors Carole Lindstrom

This story was a 2021 Caldecott Medal winner and it talks about Indigenous-led movements across North America to Safeguard Earth’s water. This is a good read-aloud story and is also great to share with the whole family.

Bowwow Powwow Brenda J. Child

This book is by an Ojibwe author and it tells the story of a girl, Windy Girl, her dog, Itchy Boy, and her uncle attending a powwow. Falling asleep with her dog, she dreams of an all-dog powwow! This book is a great read aloud for preschoolers-3rd graders.

Thunder Boy Jr. Sherman Alexie

This is an adorable story about Thunder Boy Jr. who wants his own name and does not want to share a name with his father. It is a beautiful story about seeking your own identity. It is best for older preschoolers and elementary-aged children. Sherman Alexie has written numerous books about modern Native American life that are suitable for teens and adults. If you are interested, check these out: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and Ten Little Indians.

The Rough Face Girl Rafe Martin

This book is an Algonquin folklore tale like the well-known Cinderella story. The main character is a Native American girl whose main job is to keep the main campfire burning. As a result, she suffers burns and abuse from her young peers. The artwork is fascinating and there is more emphasis on inner beauty than finding a prince. This story is recommended for children ages 6 and up.

The Legend of the Bluebonnet Tomie DePaola

This book is a native legend that tells the story of a Comanche girl not only about Bluebonnet flowers and the state of Texas but also who is willing to sacrifice her most beloved possession to help her community.

Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend Donald F. Montileaux

This is a memorable book that tells the legend of Tasunka; the legend of the first horse! The illustrations are made stunning in ledger style. It is highly recommended for children ages 3 and up.

Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story David A. Robertson

This is a graphic novel that is not intended for children. However, this is an interesting read for adults or teens interested in learning more about the suffering faced by Native American children being forced to live in residential schools away from their families. It is also a true story about Betsy Ross, an Elder from Cross Lake First Nation.

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