Board Books and More: American Indian Heritage

These books for babies and toddlers feature American Indian/Alaska Native children and include board books, folk tales, and bilingual stories.

At the Park

Illustrated by: Kayeri Akweks
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Spanish

A Mohawk boy visits the park and uses his five senses to discover the natural world around him. Spanish version available.

Baby Learns About Seasons

Age Level: 0-3

These seven beautifully illustrated bilingual board books for the very youngest picture-readers show Baby learning — by watching and helping — the things Diné babies learn. In Baby Learns About Seasons, Baby watches the changing seasons and learns about bottle-feeding the lambs and preparing the field for planting in the spring, gathering corn pollen and picking peaches in the summer, catching falling leaves and harvesting piñon nuts in the fall, and chopping wood and listening to stories in the winter. — Oyate

Benny Doesn't Like to Be Hugged

Illustrated by: Purple Wong
Age Level: 3-6

A little girl uses rhyming verse to describe the unique traits of her autistic friend. Benny likes trains and cupcakes without sprinkles, but he can also be fussy sometimes. The narrator doesn’t mind, however, because “true friends accept each other just the way they are.” A gentle story encouraging children to appreciate and accept our differences.

Black Bear, Red Fox: Colours in Cree

Illustration of a black bear and a red fox on grass
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Cree

Julie Flett is a Vancouver-base Cree/Metis author, visual artist, and illustrator. Julie creates stories for children that subtly explore the connections among language, culture, and nature. This book celebrates colors found in the natural world in an innovative design for young children.

Celebrate My Hopi Toys

My Hopi Toys
Illustrated by: Emmett Navakuku
Age Level: 0-3
Language: English, Hopi

"We know how to count. One lighting stick. Two dancing sticks" Celebrate my Hopi Toys written in Hopi and English by Hopi language teacher Anita Poleahla introduces counting skills to children with patterned text and colorful illustrations of Hopi toys by Hopi artist Emmett Navakuku.

Cradle Me

Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: The rich Native American tradition of carrying babies safely, comfortably and close to their mothers in cradle boards endures to this day. Cradle Me celebrates Native American families and shows how they carry their babies and, with a fill-in-the-line feature, enables readers to translate the words to write their own language.

Dancing with the Cranes

Illustrated by: Ron Hall
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Dancing with the Cranes gives an understanding of birth, life and death. Chi's momma is soon to have a baby, but Chi is having a hard time being happy about it. Chi misses Temma (her grandma), who has passed away. Chi's momma and daddy help ease the pain of losing Temma and help Chi to understand life and death as a part of nature. Chi soon finds herself feeling comforted, knowing Temma will always be a part of her and looking forward to the new baby who will be a part of their lives.

Fall in Line, Holden!

Drawing of children walking in a line, except for one kid in a blue shirt.
Age Level: 3-6

Fall in Line, Holden! follows Holden, a young Navajo Boy, through his day at boarding school. Although Holden is required to conform to a rigid schedule and strict standards of behavior, his internal life is filled with imagination and wonder. Whether he is in art class, the computer lab, or walking the hall to lunch, Holden's vivid imagination transforms his commonplace surroundings into a world of discovery and delight. Explore the world through Holden's eyes. Join him for the day, and celebrate the strong spirit of a boy who rises above the rules surrounding him.

Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way

Lakota riders on horses
Age Level: 6-9

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. Through his artwork and verse, interspersed with the Lakota language, S. D. Nelson offers young readers a joyous way of appreciating their culture and surroundings.

How Chipmunk Got His Stripes

Illustrated by: Ariane Dewey
Age Level: 3-6

When Bear brags and Chipmunk teases, the results are an angry bear and a striped chipmunk. Animated language and colorful illustrations tell a porquoi story — a tale that explains — that's perfect for sharing aloud.

I Help / Niwechihaw

I Help / Niwechihaw
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Cree, English

Product Description: Written and illustrated by members of the Tahltan and Cree nations, this sweet, simple story looks at a very special relationship. A young boy goes for a walk with his kohkom, or grandmother, listening, picking, praying, eating, just as she does. In doing so, he begins to learn the rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage. Bilingual English/Cree.

I See Me

Photo of a young baby
Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: I See Me provides a tender snapshot of what an infant's day — or hour — might look like. Each adorable image includes an English caption with space below for parents to translate the word into their own language. Published by the First Nations publisher Theytus Books.

Learning My Rights with Mousewoman

Learning My Rights with Mousewoman
Age Level: 3-6

The tiny but mighty Mousewoman is a legendary figure in the oral and visual practices of Northwest Coast Indigenous cultures. She is both grandmother and oracle, able to travel in and out of the spirit world. Mousewoman sits on young people’s shoulders in crucial times, whispering advice and knowledge. She protects and guides young people by helping them avoid or escape bad situations, and is never afraid to stand up to bigger beings.

Little You

Illustrated by: Julie Flett
Age Level: 0-3

Richard Van Camp, internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author of the hugely successful Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, has partnered with talented illustrator Julie Flett to create a tender board book for babies and toddlers 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!

Loving Me

Age Level: 0-3
Language: Diné (Navajo)

Whether it is a gentle kiss from mom, a hug from dad, a playful romp with an older brother, or reading with grandpa, babies and toddlers will discover the importance of family relationships in these charming photographs of Native American families. Loving Me features multi-generational family members loving and caring for a child, as they caress and tenderly show their babies and young children how much they are loved.

May We Have Enough to Share

Photo of woman holding a baby.
Age Level: 3-6

Award-winning author Richard Van Camp wanted to express his gratitude for all that surrounds him and his family. The strength of their connections, the nature that provides for them, the love that is endless. Complemented by photos from photographers who celebrate their own gratefulness on the collective blog Tea & Bannock, the simple verse in May We Have Enough to Share is the perfect way to start or end your little one's days in gratitude.

My Arctic 1, 2, 3

Illustration of a polar bear under water
Illustrated by: Vladyana Krykorka
Age Level: 3-6

From one polar bear walking along the edge of a huge ice floe to millions of berries ready for picking, My Arctic 1, 2, 3 takes young readers on a counting tour in the Far North. With the rich Arctic environment as a background, this classic not only provides small children with opportunities to practice their counting skills, it introduces them to the extraordinary animals that make the Far North their home.

My Heart Fills with Happiness

Illustrated by: Julie Flett
Age Level: 0-3

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.

Niimiwin: Everyone Dance

Age Level: 3-6

Join the children of Fond du Lac Head Start as they celebrate the Ojibwe culture through the ancient tradition of the Powwow. This book gives the reader a look at the Powwow from preparation through to the Grand Entry, the dancing, the feast and an invitation to Native and non-Native alike to "see you at the next year's Powwow." — Birchbark Books

On Mother's Lap

Illustrated by: Glo Coalson
Age Level: 3-6

Sitting on his mother's lap, a young Inuit boy cheerfully gathers his belongings until he, some toys, his puppy, and a blanket are all crowded together in the rocking chair. When his baby sister cries, the boy claims there is no room for her, but Mother proves him wrong, and the threesome settle comfortably in the chair. Soft illustrations depict a cozy scene and a loving family. — The Horn Book

Powwow's Coming

Powwow's Coming
Age Level: 3-6

Former elementary school teacher Linda Boyden presents Powwow's Coming, a picture book that teaches young people about the Native American custom of the powwow dance. The colorful, paper-collage style illustrations and simple, rhyming text reflect the joy and enthusiasm inherent in a powwow celebration. "Powwows started / long ago, / but dances change, / powwows grow. // Still today the / steps and songs / bless the dancers, / make them strong." A wonderful read-aloud book. — Midwest Book Review

Sweetest Kulu

Illustrated by: Alexandria Neonakis
Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: This bedtime poem, written by internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts bestowed upon a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and lovingly written, this visually stunning book is infused with the Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

The Buffalo and the Boat / Thathanka na Wata

Illustrated by: Frantisek Valer
Age Level: 3-6
Language: English, Lakota

This picture book published by the Lakota Language Consortium is designed for early elementary and preschool children. It tells the entertaining story of a buffalo in his bull boat traveling down the river and meeting friends. Each different animal joins buffalo and they continue down the river until the surprise ending. Bilingual Lakota/English.

The Good Luck Cat

By: Joy Harjo
Illustrated by: Paul Lee
Age Level: 3-6
Language: English

A child narrates how a much loved cat, Woogie, brings good luck to her family. When Woogie is lost, its luck may have run out — but the resolution is luckily both satisfying and happy. Richly hued illustrations add authentic details to a universally appealing story set within a Native American family and told by a Muskogee-Creek writer.

We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers

Illustration of young owls
Age Level: 0-3, 3-6
Language: Cree

Product Description: We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers provides insight into contemporary Cree life. It teaches Cree numbers and provides pronunciation. This board book is wonderfully illustrated by Canadian based Cree/Metis artist Julie Flett and makes Cree culture accessible to young readers.

We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Cherokee community celebration
Illustrated by: Frané Lessac
Language: Cherokee

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. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this award-winning look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

We Sang You Home

Illustrated by: Julie Flett
Age Level: 0-3

In this sweet and lyrical board book from the creators of the bestselling Little You, gentle rhythmic 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. Internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author Richard Van Camp teams up with award-winning illustrator Julie Flett for a second time to create a stunning board book for babies and toddlers.

Welcome Song for Baby

Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: From renowned First Nations storyteller Richard Van Camp comes a lyrical lullaby for newborns. Complemented with stunning photographs, this evocative board book is perfectly suited as a first book for every baby.