Tag Archives: book list

Native American Heritage Month – Books for Children & Teens

Check out some of our recommended picture books, fiction, non-fiction titles for children for National Native American Heritage Month.

Chapter Books & Middle Grade

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith

In this magical, modern twist on Peter Pan, stepsisters Lily and Wendy are spirited away to Neverland by a mysterious boy and must find a way back to the family they love. | Request this title

Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young

When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali, at her mobile summer home on the Navajo reservation, he knows he’s in for a pretty uneventful summer, with no electricity or cell service. Still, he loves spending time with Nali and with his uncle Jet, though it’s clear when Jet arrives that he brings his problems with him. | Request this title

Race to the sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Guided by her Navajo ancestors, seventh-grader Nizhoni Begay discovers she is descended from a holy woman and destined to become a monsterslayer, starting with the evil businessman who kidnapped her father. Includes glossary of Navajo terms. | Request this title

Rez dogs by Joseph Bruchac

Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She’s there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There’s a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration. | Request this title

Peacemaker by Joseph Bruchac

A twelve-year-old Iroquois boy rethinks his calling after witnessing the arrival of a mystical figure with a message of peace in this historical novel based on the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. | Request this title

The sea in winter by Christine Day

In this evocative and heartwarming novel for readers who loved The Thing About Jellyfish, the author of I Can Make This Promise tells the story of a Native American girl struggling to find her joy again. | Request this title

The used-to-be best friend by Dawn Quigley

Hello/Boozhoo–meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this first book in an all-new chapter book series by Dawn Quigley celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is. | Request this title

Ancestor approved : intertribal stories for kids by Cynthia Leitich Smith

This collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. | Request this title

The sea-ringed world : sacred stories of the Americas by María García Esperón

Presents a collection of stories from nations and cultures across our two continents, the Sea-Ringed World, as the Aztecs called it, from the edge of Argentina all the way up to Alaska. | Request this title

Non-Fiction & Picture Books

Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays

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. | Request this title

Classified : the secret career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee aerospace engineer by Traci Sorell

Mary Golda Ross designed classified projects for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as the company’s first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work | Request this title

Go show the world by Wab Kinew

Celebrating the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, Wab Kinew has created a powerful rap song, the lyrics of which are the basis for the text in this beautiful picture book. | Request this title

I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner

A Native American woman describes how she loved her child before it was born and, throughout her pregnancy, gathered a bundle of gifts to welcome the newborn. | Request this title

Nibi’s water song by Sunshine Tenasco

When Nibi, an Indigenous girl, turns the tap in her house, only mucky brown water comes out. That starts her on a search for clean water to drink. Though she must face polluted rivers, unfriendly neighbors, and her own temporary discouragement, Nibi’s joyful energy becomes a catalyst for change and action as her community rallies around her to make clean drinking water available for all. | Request this title

Young Adult

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths. | Request this title

Apple : skin to the core : a memoir in words and pictures by Eric Gansworth

Eric Gansworth tells his story, the story of his family–of Onondaga among Tuscaroras–of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds. | Request this title

Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew

An Indigenous teen girl is caught between two worlds, both real and virtual, in the YA fantasy debut from bestselling Indigenous author Wab Kinew. Perfect for fans of Ready Player One and the Otherworld series. | Request this title

Four Faces of the Moon by Amanda Strong

Adapted from the acclaimed stop-motion animated film of the same name, written and directed by Amanda Strong, Four Faces of the Moon brings the oral and written history of the Michif, Cree, Nakoda and Anishinaabe Peoples and their cultural link to the buffalo alive on the page. | Request this title

*Summaries are taken from publishers and book reviews.

Children’s Books for Black History Month

Check out our lists of recommended picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, and biographies to celebrate Black History Month and beyond.

Picture Books

Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is making a flying machine all by himself, but when it doesn’t work the way he imagined, he learns about perseverance and problem-solving.

Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Seven-year-old Layla divulges many things that make her happy, especially her family and their community garden.

Brown: the many shades of love by Nancy Johnson James

In this loving ode to the color brown, a boy describes the many hues of his family.

Saturday by Oge Mora

When all of their special Saturday plans go awry, Ava and her mother still find a way to appreciate one another and their time together.

Find more picture books here.

Middle Grade Books

Betty before X by Ilyasah Shabazz

Raised by her aunt until she is six, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement.

Look both ways : a tale told in ten blocks by Jason Reynolds

A collection of ten short stories that all take place in the same day about kids walking home from school.

My life as an ice cream sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

In the summer of 1984, twelve-year-old Ebony-Grace of Huntsville, Alabama, visits her father in Harlem, where her fascination with outer space and science fiction interfere with her finding acceptance.

King and the dragonflies by Kheryn Callender

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself

Find more books here.

Non-Fiction Titles

Brave. Black. First. : 50+ African American women who changed the world by Cheryl Willis Hudson

Profiles notable African American women in various fields from Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells to Condoleeza Rice, Beyoncé, and the founders of Black Lives Matte.

The undefeated by Kwame Alexander 

Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes.

28 days : moments in Black history that changed the world by Charles R. Smith Jr.

A picture book look at many of the men and women who revolutionized life for African Americans throughout history.

A ride to remember : a civil rights story by Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan

A Ride to Remember tells how a community came together–both black and white–to make a change. When Sharon Langley was born in the early 1960s, many amusement parks were segregated, and African-American families were not allowed entry. 

Find more books here.


The oldest student : how Mary Walker learned to read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard 

A picture book biography sharing the inspiring and incredible true story of the nation’s oldest student, Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116.

Chasing space by Leland Melvin

A memoir by the former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver traces his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance, and grace that create opportunities for success.

Schomburg : the man who built a library by Carole Boston Weatherford

Traces legal clerk Arturo Schomburg’s efforts to curate a collection of African books, letters, music, and art.

Trailblazer : the story of ballerina Raven Wilkinson by Leda Schubert

This picture book tells the uplifting story of the first African American woman to dance for a major classical ballet company and how she became a huge inspiration for Misty Copeland.

Find more books here.

Complied by our Youth Services Department. Note: Excerpts are taken from our LS2 PAC.