If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit the two Native American Heritage Month displays in the Youth Services wing, now is the perfect time! Look for picture book biographies, chapter books, non-fiction books for all ages, and graphic novels, all featuring Indigenous authors and illustrators, on display in the New Books section. In the children’s seating area, you’ll find a beautiful selection of picture books and board books. Here are a few of our favorites!
A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell (Interior Salish); illustrated by Julie Flett (Cree-Métis)
A sparkling spring day with a rainbow-arced sky finds Nikki, Jamesie, and Lenny harvesting wild potatoes, rhubarb, celery, and lightning mushrooms with their Yayah (grandmother). Though it sounds like a frolicsome field trip, their day is much more than that. Every day, Yayah teaches the children two new words in Nlaka’pamux, the language of the indigenous people of the Nicola Valley in British Columbia.
Fry Bread: A Native American Story by Kevin Noble Maillard (Seminole, Mekusukey Band)
Fry Bread tells the story of a food that is a shared tradition for Native American families across North America. A celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similar and different, this story is told in lively and powerful verse by Seminole Nation member Kevin Noble Malliard and vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner Juana Martinez-Neal. Includes a recipe and an extensive author note that delves into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America’s 573 recognized tribes.
In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok (Inuit)
Sammurtok lovingly invites readers into an amautik – the pouch in the back of the mother’s parka used to carry a child – and to experience everything through the eyes of the baby nestled there. From the cloud-like softness of the lining to the sound of Anaana’s laugh, this book offers a unique perspective that will charm readers of all ages.
Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk); illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley (Ojibwe, Wasauksing FN)
This inspiring picture book autobiography tells the remarkable story of Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress and the first LGBTQ congressperson to represent Kansas.
Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-To-Be Best Friend by Dawn Quigley (Ojibwe, Turtle Mountain Band); illustrated by Tara Audibert (Wolastoqey)
The first in an all-new chapter book series, get ready to meet Jo Jo Makoons Azure, a spunky seven-year-old Ojibwe girl who loves who she is. Jo Jo also loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), though she’s worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore.
Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee); cover art by Floyd Cooper (Muscogee)
In this beautifully re-imagined version of Peter Pan, English Wendy and Native American Lily are step-sisters and best friends. But when their feuding parents plan to spend the summer apart, they worry about what will become of their family and their friendship. Little do they know, a boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A mysterious boy who wants to take them away for good to a place called Neverland – a magical island of wild animals, fairies, and kidnapped children, with a sea of merfolk, pirates, and a giant crocodile. A boy who calls himself Peter Pan.
Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young (Diné); cover art by Shonto Begay (Diné)
Young’s debut novel tells a powerful story of a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who must save the life of a Water Monster and discovers that he’s a hero at heart. Staying with grandmother on the Navajo reservation, Nathan is sure the summer is going to be majorly uneventful. But one night, while lost in the nearby desert, Nathan finds someone extraordinary: a Holy Being from the Navajo Creation Story – a Water Monster – who needs his help. With the help of other Holy Beings, Nathan must summon all his courage to help his new friend.
Mary and the Trail of Tears by Andrea L. Rogers (Cherokee)
In May 1838, twelve-year-old Mary and her Cherokee family are forced out of their home in New Echota, Georgia, the capital of the Cherokee Nation. Separated from her father. Confused by the greed and hatred of the white men stealing their few possessions, and facing a 1,000 mile trek to the lands west of the Mississippi, Mary does all she can to keep her friends and family together amidst the horrors of internment, violence, disease, and a harsh winter. Featuring nonfiction support material, a glossary, and reader response questions, this Girls Survive story explores the tragedy of the forced removals following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
The Barren Grounds (The Misewa Saga, Book 1) by David A. Robertson (Norway House Cree)
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community – Misewa – Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything, including them.
-Melanie Bruchet, Youth Services Librarian