Books by American Indian, Indigenous, and First Nations Creators for Middle Grade Readers

Two Roads Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780735228870
Availability: Backordered
Published: Puffin Books - August 27th, 2019

A boy discovers his Native American heritage in this Depression-era tale of identity and friendship by the author of Code Talker

It's 1932, and twelve-year-old Cal Black and his Pop have been riding the rails for years after losing their farm in the Great Depression. Cal likes being a "knight of the road" with Pop, even if they're broke. But then Pop has to go to Washington, DC--some of his fellow veterans are marching for their government checks, and Pop wants to make sure he gets his due--and Cal can't go with him. So Pop tells Cal something he never knew before: Pop is actually a Creek Indian, which means Cal is too. And Pop has decided to send Cal to a government boarding school for Native Americans in Oklahoma called the Challagi School.

At school, the other Creek boys quickly take Cal under their wings. Even in the harsh, miserable conditions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, he begins to learn about his people's history and heritage. He learns their language and customs. And most of all, he learns how to find strength in a group of friends who have nothing beyond each other.


Indian No More Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781620148396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Tu Books - September 24th, 2019

When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

Regina Petit's family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde Tribe's reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government enacts a law that says Regina's tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes Indian no more overnight--even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

Now that they've been forced from their homeland, Regina's father signs the family up for the federal Indian Relocation Program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She's never met kids of other races, and they've never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it's not that easy. It's 1957 during the Civil Rights era, and the family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis's own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian, American, or both? And will she and her family ever be okay?


I Can Make This Promise Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062871992
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Quill Tree Books - October 1st, 2019

In her debut middle grade novel—inspired by her family’s history—Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secrets—and finds her own Native American identity.

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?


The Grizzly Mother, Volume 2 Cover Image
By Brett D. Huson, Natasha Donovan (Illustrator)
$23.00
ISBN: 9781553797760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Highwater Press - September 1st, 2019

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need in order to survive on their own.

 

The Mothers of Xsan series uses striking illustration and lyrical language to bring the poetry of the Xsan ecosystem to life.


In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781419707858
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Harry N. Abrams - November 10th, 2015

Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy—though you wouldn’t guess it by his name: his father is part white and part Lakota, and his mother is Lakota. When he embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, he learns more and more about his Lakota heritage—in particular, the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota and American history. Drawing references and inspiration from the oral stories of the Lakota tradition, celebrated author Joseph Marshall III juxtaposes the contemporary story of Jimmy with an insider’s perspective on the life of Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse (c. 1840–1877). The book follows the heroic deeds of the Lakota leader who took up arms against the US federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Along with Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse was the last of the Lakota to surrender his people to the US army. Through his grandfather’s tales about the famous warrior, Jimmy learns more about his Lakota heritage and, ultimately, himself.

American Indian Youth Literature Award


Coyote Tales Cover Image
By Thomas King, Byron Eggenschwiler (Illustrator)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781554988334
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Groundwood Books - October 3rd, 2017

Two tales, set in a time "when animals and human beings still talked to each other," display Thomas King's cheeky humor and master storytelling skills. Freshly illustrated and reissued as an early chapter book, these stories are perfect for newly independent readers.

In Coyote Sings to the Moon, Coyote is at first the cause of misfortune. In those days, when the moon was much brighter and closer to the earth, Old Woman and the animals would sing to her each night. Coyote attempts to join them, but his voice is so terrible they beg him to stop. He is crushed and lashes out -- who needs Moon anyway? Furious, Moon dives into a pond, plunging the world into darkness. But clever Old Woman comes up with a plan to send Moon back up into the sky and, thanks to Coyote, there she stays.

In Coyote's New Suit, mischievous Raven wreaks havoc when she suggests that Coyote's toasty brown suit is not the finest in the forest, thus prompting him to steal suits belonging to all the other animals. Meanwhile, Raven tells the other animals to borrow clothes from the humans' camp. When Coyote finds that his closet is too full, Raven slyly suggests he hold a yard sale, then sends the human 


The Eagle Mother, Volume 3 Cover Image
By Brett D. Huson, Natasha Donovan (Illustrator)
$23.00
ISBN: 9781553798590
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Highwater Press - April 28th, 2020

Return to the valleys of the River of Mists with award-winning author Hetxw'ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson). Nox xsgyaak, the eagle mother, cares for her brood in the embrace of a black cottonwood with the help of her mate. Will both eaglets survive the summer in an environment that is both delicate and unforgiving?

Learn about the life cycle of these stunning birds of prey, the traditions of the Gitxsan, and how bald eagles can enrich their entire ecosystem. Evocative illustration brings the Xsan's flora and fauna to life for middle years readers in book three of the Mothers of Xsan series.


The Sockeye Mother Cover Image
By Brett D. Huson, Natasha Donovan (Illustrator)
$23.00
ISBN: 9781553797395
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Highwater Press - March 1st, 2018

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the sockeye salmon is more than just a source of food. Over its life cycle, it nourishes the very land and forests that the Skeena River runs through and where the Gitxsan make their home. The Sockeye Mother explores how the animals, water, soil, and seasons are all intertwined.

 

The Sockeye Mother is the winner of the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada book award for books published in 2017, youth books category. The Sockeye Mother is also the winner of the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Awards, Younger Category, at the 2018 Manitoba Book Awards.


Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life Cover Image
By Marcie R. Rendon, Cheryl Walsh Bellville (By (photographer))
$9.95
ISBN: 9780873519106
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Minnesota Historical Society Press - September 1st, 2013

 Life is a circle, just like the seasons, from youth through old age. The circle of the year brings seasonal rituals: a winter of preparation followed by a summer of powwows.

Sharyl and Windy Downwind and their children travel from their home on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota to powwows all around the region. For the past year, their oldest daughter, Shian, has been honored as junior princess for Bug-o-nay-ge-shig School. At the Leech Lake Memorial Day gathering, Shian will hand over her crown to the next princess. Later that summer, the family attends the Red Lake Fourth of July powwow seeking healing and comfort. Windy is mourning his mother, who recently passed away, and also honoring her by dancing at the powwow. At ceremonies and in daily life, Windy and Sharyl celebrate Anishinaabe culture by teaching their children traditional skills, dance steps, and lifeways, all part of the circle of community and the seasons and life.

“Clear, informative photographs help clarify the text and leave readers with the sense that they have accompanied the Downwinds. An ideal choice for classroom units on contemporary Native American life.”
--Booklist

Award-winning poet, playwright, performance artist, and activist Marcie R. Rendon (White Earth) is the creator/producer for Raving Native Productions. Cheryl Walsh Bellville, a professional photographer for more than forty years, also writes and illustrates books for young readers.


The Four Hills of Life: Ojibwe Wisdom Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780873518284
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Minnesota Historical Society Press - March 1st, 2011


The Four Hills of Life tells the wise and beautiful Ojibwe story about the path we walk through the seasons of life, from the springtime of youth through the winter of old age. The hills we climb along the way are the challenges we face and the responsibilities we accept. The path is not always easy; some of us lose our way. We question the meaning of life. But when we walk the Good Path—when we commit to values and fulfill our goals—the meaning of life finds us.

With text and activities developed by Ojibwe elder and educator Thomas Peacock and heavily illustrated with photographs by Marlene Wisuri, The Four Hills of Life describes the journey taken by previous generations of Ojibwe and the relevance of these life lessons for young readers today.

 Thomas Peacock, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, is an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of South Florida. Marlene Wisuri’s photographs have been exhibited regionally and nationally. Peacock and Wisuri are additionally the authors of Ojibwe Waasa Inaabidaa: We Look in All Directions and The Good Path.


Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781419723131
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Harry N. Abrams - March 14th, 2017

The award-winning author and illustrator of Black Elk’s Vision and Sitting Bull continues his picture-book biography series with Red Cloud, the story of one of the most controversial leaders in Native American history.

A leader among the Lakota during the 1860s, Chief Red Cloud deeply opposed white expansion into Native American territory. He rejected treaties from the U.S. government and instead united the warriors of the Lakota and nearby tribes, becoming the only Native American to win a war against the U.S. Army. Despite his military successes, Red Cloud recognized that continued conflict would only bring destruction to his people. He made the controversial decision to make an agreement with the U.S. government, and moved his people to a reservation. The effects of his decision—as well as the conflicts that arose from those who rejected the agreement and continued fighting against white expansion, such as Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull—shaped much of the history of Native American relations with the U.S. in years to come.
 
Featuring archival images and S. D. Nelson’s stunning illustrations, Red Cloud offers an authentic Native American perspective on one of the most pivotal eras of American history. S. D. Nelson has received praise and honor for his works. His book Sitting Bull received an American Indian Youth Literature Honor Award. Black Elk’s Vision made the prestigious Texas Bluebonnet Master List and The Star People earned a Western Spur award.


Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9781419703553
Availability: Usually Ships from Wholesaler in 1-5 Days
Published: Harry N. Abrams - October 1st, 2012

This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born around 1839. Through her true story, readers will learn what it was like to be part of this Native American community that lived along the Missouri River in the Dakotas, a society that depended more on agriculture for food and survival than on hunting. Children will relate to Buffalo Bird Girl’s routine of chores and playing with friends, and they will also be captivated by her lifestyle and the dangers that came with it.

Using as a resource the works of Gilbert L. Wilson, who met Buffalo Bird Woman and transcribed her life’s story in the early 20th century, award-winning author-illustrator S. D. Nelson has captured the spirit of Buffalo Bird Girl and her lost way of life. The book includes a historical timeline.



Praise for Buffalo Bird Girl

STARRED REVIEWS

"The extraordinary illustration of this handsome volume begins with the endpaper maps and features acrylic paintings of the Hidatsa world reminiscent of traditional Plains Indian art. Pencil drawings and relevant, carefully labeled photographs round out the exquisite design. All the artwork both supports and adds to the text. An extensive author’s note and timeline supplement this beautiful tribute."

Kirkus Reviews, starred review



"This is a lovely and graceful introduction to a way of life that persists despite cultural obstacles and the march of time."

School Library Journal, starred review



"Nelson's quiet, respectful tone capably balances the factual details of daily life in the Hidatsa tribe with the obvious joy and nostalgia Buffalo Bird Girl feels toward her childhood."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books



"As a writer, storyteller, and traditional artist of the Sioux people, his perspective is genuine and effectively portrayed. This book would be enjoyable for anyone interested in history, but would also be an effective resource in the classroom to support the curriculum.”

Library Media Connection



"Nelson's acrylic paintings and b&w pencil drawings are intriguingly interlaced with the photographs, contrasting Native American figures in blunt profile with harvest colors and background textures that mimic dried spears of grass, leather skins, and basket weaves."

Publishers Weekly