Favorite Foods: American Indian Heritage

From traditional ways of cultivating rice and corn to fishing for salmon in northern waters, these books celebrate the foods, rituals, and skills that Native families pass on from generation to generation and that contemporary Native children continue to learn.

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Edited by award-winning and bestselling author 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. Created in partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

Celebrate My Hopi Corn

Illustrated by: Emmett Navakuku
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Hopi

"I am a kernel of Hopi corn. I have many sister kernels on my ear of corn. We grow under the warm sun." Celebrate my Hopi Corn written in Hopi and English by Hopi language teacher Anita Poleahla is the story of how corn is planted, cultivated, harvested and prepared for use in the Hopi home. The colorful illustrations by Hopi artist Emmett Navakuku describe the changing seasons and daily activities in a Hopi village.

Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition

Illustrated by: John Madama
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

For the Wampanoag Indians (the descendants of those who greeted the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620) in Mashpee, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, the clambake is more than just a many-splendored outdoor dinner; it is a traditional ceremony of their people. Twelve-year-old Steven Peters, grandson of the author, learns from Peters the history and traditions of their people, including the creation of a special clambake. — School Library Journal (We Are Still Here: Native Americans Today)

Fort Chipewyan Homecoming: A Journey to Native Canada

In this photographic essay, 12-year-old Matthew Dunn takes a trip to Fort Chipewyan in Alberta, Canada, to learn about his Chipewyan, Metis, and Cree heritage. His visit to relatives coincides with the community's celebration of Treaty Days, commemorating the 1899 agreement that gave the Chipewyans hunting and fishing rights as well as reservation land. Each year the people gather for games, dances, sports, and feasting. — School Library Journal (We Are Still Here: Native Americans Today)

Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition

Illustrated by: Joe Allen
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

For almost 20 years, author Sally M. Hunter and her Hochunk family have processed corn in the backyard of their city home. The labor intensive tradition has been a curiosity to her neighbors in St. Paul, so this book, writes Hunter, "will solve the mystery of what those Indian neighbors have been doing in the yard all these years."…It carefully explains the importance of the Winnebago food tradition, adding Hochunk words and related stories. — Oyate (We Are Still Here: Native Americans Today)

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Tradition
Illustrated by: Juana Martinez-Neal
Age Level: 3-6, 6-9

What is fry bread? It’s food, shape, sound, art, history, and more — so much more. It is a tradition shared by a member of the Mekusukey Seminoles. A varied group of children and elders are depicted contributing to the recipe as the text describes its complex role in American history. Additional information is appended to create a book that can be used in both simple and complex ways.

Video bonus: See Juana Martinez-Neal talk about her illustrations for this book in our preview of our new interview with her! 

Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking

For two or three weeks each spring, an elder named Gahgoonse (Little Porcupine, or "Porky" for short) holds his sugarbush camp by Lake Independence, Minnesota, where he teaches students from the city the serious business of collecting sap, boiling it down, and making maple syrup, candy, and sugar — and, of course, the giving of thanks for providing this most sacred of trees. — Oyate (We Are Still Here: Native Americans Today)

Salmon Summer

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Every summer, the salmon return to spawn in the streams of Kodiak Island, Alaska, and nine-year-old Alex, a native Aleut, comes here to fish with his family as his ancestors did. Bruce McMillan lived with Alex's family at their fishing camp on Kodiak Island and captures the natural beauty of the Alaskan island and the intense bond of family and tradition.

The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story

Illustrated by: Ann Vojtech
Age Level: 6-9

Seeing that man is sorry after arguing with his wife, Sun sends the first strawberries to the land. The sweet fruit slows the wife down, allowing her husband to catch up and apologize. To this day, strawberries remind people to be kind to each other. Rich illustrations add interesting details to this fluid telling of a traditional legend.

The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering

Illustrated by: Dale Kakkak
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Glen Jackson, Jr., is an 11-year-old Ojibwe Indian from the Leech Lake reservation in Minnesota. His people are wild rice growers, and the annual harvest has as much spiritual meaning for his people as the raising of corn, beans, and squash does for the Hopi and the Seneca. Glen is taking part in the ritual for the first time and is worried that he won't be strong enough to push the canoe through the rice beds without tipping over. — School Library Journal (We Are Still Here: Native Americans Today)

The Story of Manoomin

This is the first book of its kind to bring forward the rich tradition of wild rice in Michigan and its importance to the Anishinaabek people who live there. Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan focuses on the history, culture, biology, economics, and spirituality surrounding this sacred plant. The story travels through time from the days before European colonization and winds its way forward in and out of the logging and industrialization eras.