Indigenous Authors for Kids in Early Childhood

Discover children's books by Indigenous authors to share with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers every day of the year. Looking for more? Check out these resources:

Visit denverlibrary.org/indigenous-heritage for additional activities, resources, and recommendations.

Art Coulson

Bo wants to find the perfect container to show off his traditional marbles for the Cherokee National Holiday in this exploration of volume and capacity.

Julie Flett

From chasing, chirping birds, to swimming, squirting whales, this book for young readers reminds them how animals play just like them. This picture book, with gorgeous images and sweet simple text, is a marvelous celebration of the interconnectedness of all creatures, and includes some Cree phrases. It is based on the Cree teaching of wahkohtowin, interconnectedness and play, and includes as well the English and Cree names of the animals in the book, all of whom are from 'Turtle Island' (North America).

Julie Flett

When a young girl moves from the country 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 nature and art. As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett's textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions. A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-Métis words that appear in the text is provided on the copyright page.

Monique Gray Smith

A board book that celebrates happiness and invites children to reflect on the little things in life that bring them joy.

Monique Gray Smith

A picture book intended to foster reconciliation among children and encourage them to show each other love and support.

Dallas Hunt

As young Awâsis searches for the ingredients to make Kohkum's world-famous bannock recipe, they run into a variety of other-than-human relatives that help them along in their journey. Includes a pronunciation guide and Kohkum's world-famous bannock recipe at the back of the book.

Celina Kalluk

This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little "Kulu," an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

Carole Lindstrom

Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all... When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth's most sacred resource. Inspired by the many indigenous-led movements across North America, this bold and lyrical picture book issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth's water from harm and corruption.

Brittany Luby

In this lyrical story-poem, written in Anishinaabemowin and English, a child and grandmother explore their surroundings, taking pleasure in the familiar sights that each new season brings. We accompany them through warm summer days full of wildflowers, bees and blueberries, then fall, when bears feast before hibernation and forest mushrooms are ripe for harvest. Winter mornings begin in darkness as deer, mice and other animals search for food, while spring brings green shoots poking through melting snow and the chirping of peepers.

Kevin Noble Maillard

Using illustrations that show the diversity in Native America and spare poetic text that emphasizes fry bread in terms of provenance, this volume tells the story of a post-colonial food that is a shared tradition for Native American families all across the North American continent. Includes a recipe and an extensive author note that delves into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes.

Cheryl Minnema

Pull over, Grandma! Hurry!" Johnny says. Grandma does, and Johnny runs to show her what he spotted near the ditch: a sleeping pheasant. What Grandma sees is a small feathery hump. When Johnny wants to take it home, Grandma tries to tell him that the pheasant might have been hit by a car. But maybe she could use the feathers for her craftwork? So home with Grandma, Johnny, or the pheasant. Readers will delight at this lesson about patience, kindness, and respect for nature imparted by Grandma's gentle humor, Johnny's happy hooting, and all the quiet wisdom found in Cheryl Minnema's words and Julie Flett's evocative and beautiful illustrations. 

S. D. Nelson

Animals and humans alike turn their faces upwards and gaze as the sun makes its daily journey from horizon to horizon. Dawn is a time to celebrate with a smiling heart, to start a new day in the right way, excited for what might come. Birds sing and dance, children rush to learn, dewdrops glisten from leaves, and gradually the sun warms us. Each time the sun starts a new circle, we can start again as well. All these things are part of the Lakota way, a means of living in balance. S. D. Nelson offers young readers wonder and happiness as a better way of appreciating their culture and surroundings. He draws inspiration from traditional stories to create Greet the Dawn . His artwork fuses elements of modern with traditional. Above all, he urges each of us to seize the opportunity that dawn offers each day.

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.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

A love letter to Indigenous communities everywhere, this picture book gorgeously illustrated by Julie Flett celebrates seasons, nature, and community. Based on Academy Award-winning Cree icon Buffy Sainte-Marie's song of the same name, Still This Love Goes On is a stunning celebration of Indigenous experience. Breathtaking illustrations from celebrated Cree-Métis artist Julie Flett combine with Sainte-Marie's vivid lyrics to craft a remarkable piece of art. Destined to be read and sung for generations, this gem of a picture book is accompanied by: Sheet music so that readers can play along A note from Sainte-Marie about her much-admired song Sat beside a beaver dam and watched the winter grow Ice was hard with little tracks appearing in the snow Fog is in the valley now and all the geese are gone Cross the moon I saw them go and Still this love goes on and on.

Nadia Sammurtok

Nadia Sammurtok lovingly invites the reader into the amautik--the pouch in the back of a mother's parka used to carry a child--to experience everything through the eyes of the baby nestled inside, from the cloudlike softness of the pouch to the glistening sound of Anaana's laughter.

Traci Sorell

At the mountain's base sits a cabin under an old hickory tree. And in that cabin lives a family -- loving, weaving, cooking, and singing. The strength in their song sustains them through trials on the ground and in the sky, as they wait for their loved one, a pilot, to return from war.

Trac Sorell

Otsaliheliga is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

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.

Rose Ann Tahe

A Navajo family welcomes a new baby into the family with love and ceremony, eagerly waiting for that first special laugh. Includes brief description of birth customs in different cultures.

Richard Van Camp

A tender board book for babies and toddlers that celebrates the potential of every child. 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!

Richard Van Camp

In this sweet and lyrical board book from the creators of the bestselling "Little You," 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. 

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.

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