• November is Native American Heritage Month! A dedicated time to reflect, educate, and pay tribute to the rich ancestry, traditions and contributions of Native Americans.

    Let’s celebrate #ownvoices authors and authentic stories with these stunning picture books.

    Just click on the book’s cover to view available copies from the GDL or MeLCat. Need a library card? Sign up by clicking here or visit your local branch.

    Note: the book summaries are taken from the publishers’ websites.

    Babies and Toddlers

    Books by Richard Van Camp

    Kiss by Kiss: A Counting Book for Families
    One kiss, two kiss, three kiss, four! So many kisses and so many more. A counting book that honors families and can be used to praise your little ones as they learn to count.
    Little You
    A tender book that honors the child in everyone. With its delightful contemporary illustrations, Little You is perfect to be shared, read or sung to all the little people in your life–and the new little ones on the way!
    We Sang
    You Home

    In this sweet and lyrical board book, gentle rhyming text captures the wonder new parents feel as they welcome baby into the world. A celebration of the bond between parent and child, this is the perfect song to share with your little ones.
    Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns
    A lyrical lullaby for newborns. Complemented with stunning photographs, this evocative board book is perfectly suited as a first book for every baby.

    My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

    The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.

    Zoe and the Fawn by Catherine Jameson

    When Zoe finds a lone fawn in the forest, it takes her on an adventure in the search for its mother. Who could the mother be? A bunny? A fish? Zoe and the Fawn is a sweet and beautifully illustrated picture book. Little ones will love following Zoe and her father as they encounter many woodland animals and learn their Native names.

    First Laugh: Welcome Baby! by Rose Ann Tahe

    The First Laugh Ceremony is a celebration held to welcome a new member of the community. As everyone–from Baby’s nima (mom) to nadi (big sister) to cheii (grandfather)–tries to elicit the joyous sound from Baby, readers are introduced to details about Navajo life and the Navajo names for family members. Back matter includes information about other cultural ceremonies that welcome new babies and children, including man yue celebration (China), sanskaras (Hindu) and aquiqa (Muslim).

    Preschool & Up

    The Girl and the Wolf by Katherena Vermette

    A young girl becomes lost in the woods after wandering too far away from her mother. Scared because she is lost, she encounters a large wolf who reminds her of her own ability to survive and find her mother again.

    Recommended Ages: 3-5

    The Forever Sky by Thomas D. Peacock

    Two young Ojibwe brothers, Niigaanii and Bineshiinh, look to the stars and spin stories, some inspired by Uncle and some of their own making, as they remember their grandmother. Themes include familial love, coping with death, imagination, and how humans tell stories that make sense of the world

    Recommended Ages: 3-7

    Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard

    Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

    Fry bread is food.
    It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.

    Fry bread is time.
    It brings families together for meals and new memories.

    Fry bread is nation.
    It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.

    Fry bread is us.
    It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.

    Recommended Ages: 3-8

    Awâsis and the World Famous Bannock by Dallas Hunt

    This whimsical story celebrates the revitalization of Cree dialects and traditional methods of storytelling.

    During an unfortunate mishap, young Awâsis loses Kôhkum’s freshly baked world-famous bannock. Not knowing what to do, Awâsis seeks out a variety of other-than-human relatives willing to help. What adventures are in store for Awâsis?

    The book includes a pronunciation guide and the recipe for Kôhkum’s world-famous bannock.

    Recommended Ages: 3-8

    Birdsong by Julie Flett

    When a young girl moves to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend?

    Recommended Ages: 4-8

    A Day With Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell

    Set in the Okanagon, BC, a First Nations family goes on an outing to forage for herbs and mushrooms. Grandmother passes down her knowledge of plant life to her young grandchildren.

    Recommended Ages: 4-8

    Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child

    Windy Girl is blessed with a vivid imagination. From Uncle she gathers stories of long-ago traditions, about dances and sharing and gratitude. Windy can tell such stories herself–about her dog, Itchy Boy, and the way he dances to request a treat and how he wriggles with joy in response to, well, just about everything.

    When Uncle and Windy Girl and Itchy Boy attend a powwow, Windy watches the dancers and listens to the singers. She eats tasty food and joins family and friends around the campfire. Later, Windy falls asleep under the stars. Now Uncle’s stories inspire other visions in her head: a bowwow powwow, where all the dancers are dogs. In these magical scenes, Windy sees veterans in a Grand Entry, and a visiting drum group, and traditional dancers, grass dancers, and jingle-dress dancers–all with telltale ears and paws and tails. All celebrating in song and dance. All attesting to the wonder of the powwow.

    Recommended Ages: 4-8

    We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

    A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation

    The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences.

    Appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

    Recommended Ages: 4-8

    Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny M. Thomas

    Nimoshom loved to drive the school bus. Every day, on the way to and from school, he had something to say. Sometimes, he told the kids silly stories. Sometimes, he taught the kids a new word in Cree.

    Nimoshom and His Bus introduces basic Cree words. A glossary is included in the back of the book.

    Recommended Ages: 4-8

    When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson

    When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.

    Recommended Ages: 4-8

    Thanku: Poems of Gratitude edited by Miranda Paul

    Featuring contributions by a diverse range of writers, including Joseph Bruchac, Naomi Shihab Nye and Jane Yolen, a themed poetry anthology explores various ways to express gratitude for blessings ranging from sleep and health to education and family.

    Recommended Ages: 5-10

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