Indigenous Authors for Kids in Early Elementary

Discover children's books by Indigenous authors to share with children in kindergarten through second grade every day of the year. Looking for more? Check out these resources:

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

Edited by Miranda Paul

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

Nicola I. Campbell

On an outing in Nicola Valley, British Columbia, a Native American family forages for herbs and mushrooms while the grandmother passes down her language and knowledge to her young grandchildren. Includes glossary.

Brenda J. Child

When Uncle and Windy Girl 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. Uncle's stories inspire 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.

Art Coulson

In the autumn of 1912, the football team from Carlisle Indian Industrial School took the field at the U.S. Military Academy, home to the bigger, stronger, and better-equipped West Points Cadets. Sportswriters billed the game as a sort of rematch, pitting against each other the descendants of U.S. soldiers and American Indians who fought on the battlefield only 20 years earlier. But for lightning-fast Jim Thorpe and the other Carlisle players, that day's game was about skill, strategy, and determination. Known for unusual formations and innovative plays, the Carlisle squad was out to prove just one thing--that it was the best football team in all the land.

Sharice Davids

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.

Danielle Greendeer

Wampanoag children listen as their grandmother tells them the story about how Weeâchumun (the wise Corn) asked local Native Americans to show the newcomers how to grow food to yield a good harvest--Keepunumuk--in 1621.

Tomson Highway

Dragonfly Kites refers to "kites" made by tying a string around the middles of dragonflies. Two Cree brothers in northern Manitoba fly these kites during the day, but at night fly themselves in their dreams.This is the second book in the Magical Songs of the North Wind trilogy.

Aviaq Johnston

Nalvana feels like all of her friends have some type of superpower. She has friends with super speed (who always beat her in races), friends with super strength (who can dangle from the monkey bars for hours), and friends who are better than she is at a million other things. Nalvana thinks she must be the only kid in town without a superpower. But then her mom shows Nalvana that she is unique and special--and that her superpower was right in front of her all along.

Denise K. Lajimodiere

As she prepares for her first powwow, an Ojibwa girl practices her dance steps, gets help from her family, and is inspired by the soaring flight of Migizi, the eagle. Includes glossary.

Dawn Quigley,

First grader Jo Jo Makoons knows how to do a lot of things, like how to play jump rope, how to hide her peas in her milk, and how to be helpful in her classroom. But there's one thing Jo Jo doesn't know how to do: be fancy. She has a lot to learn before her Aunt Annie's wedding! Favorite purple unicorn notebook in hand, Jo Jo starts exploring her Ojibwe community to find ways to be fancy in this second book in the Jo Jo Makoons seriesAlso available as an eBook.

Trac Sorell

A group of Native American kids from different tribes presents twelve historical and contemporary time periods, struggles, and victories to their classmates, each ending with a powerful refrain: We are still here!

Tim Tingle

In the 1800s, a Choctaw girl becomes friends with a slave boy from a plantation across the great river, and when she learns that his family is in trouble, she helps them cross to freedom.

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

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