Horse Stories: American Indian Heritage

What's the most surprising thing you know about horses? How did Crazy Horse get his name? How can a horse's companionship change the life of a child? The answers to these questions and others can be found in the pages of these books celebrating the important role of horses in Native life, their beauty, their strength, and their loyalty.

Ancient Thunder

By: Leo Yerxa
Age Level: 6-9

Yerxa, a Canadian of Ojibwe ancestry, celebrates the relationship between horses and the native people of the Great Plains in a series of three-mystically themed montages. At the center of each picture is a paper fringed shirt, crafted from handmade paper and modeled on those worn by the First Peoples; the shirt serves as both backdrop and landscape for Yerxa's lean, schematic portraits of horses, usually depicted in groups at full gallop. — Publishers Weekly

Bad River Boys: A Meeting of the Lakota Sioux with Lewis and Clark

Illustrated by: Bill Farnsworth
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Much has been written about the 1803-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition, but few authors have considered the effect it had on the Native Americans already inhabiting the "uncharted" territory it explored. Basing her story on actual events noted by William Clark, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve tells a fictional account of the encounter from the point of view of three young Lakota boys. Her story explores the wariness and misunderstanding each side experienced and the trouble that ensued. Historical notes and a glossary are included.

Crazy Horse's Vision

Crazy Horse painting
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 6-9
Language: English, Lakota

Product Description: Joseph Bruchac tells the compelling story of how a young boy named Curly seeks a vision in the hope of saving his people — and grows into the brave and fierce warrior Crazy Horse. Sioux artist S. D. Nelson's paintings, in the traditional ledger style of the Plains Indians, evokes the drama and the tragedy of this important American figure.

Doesn't Fall Off His Horse

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: This magnificent true story offers a rare-and breathtaking-look into the life of a Kiowa boy at the end of the nineteenth century. The story is told by a very old man to his youngest great-granddaughter, Saygee, as he shows her one of his treasures: a leopard skin quiver, obtained at great price from the white traders. But there was one time when the quiver could not help him — the time he participated in a daring raid on an enemy tribe.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

Jimmy McClean is a Lakota boy—though you wouldn’t guess it by his name: his father is part white and part Lakota, and his mother is Lakota. When he embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, he learns more and more about his Lakota heritage—in particular, the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota and American history.

Longwalker's Journey: A Novel of The Chocktaw Trail of Tears

Illustrated by: Tony Meers
Age Level: Middle Grade

Product Description: In 1831, ten-year-old Minko Ushi is part of the forced removal of his Choctaw people from their homeland in Mississippi to Indian Territory. Minko's father decides to travel ahead by foot, taking Minko and his beloved pony, Black Spot, with him. As he walks hundreds of miles across Arkansas Territory through howling snowstorms, Minko learns that his people are much like his stubborn little pony: They may suffer, but their spirit will never be broken.


Illustrated by: Mary Jane Gerber
Age Level: Middle Grade

Georgia Salois, 11, lives with her grandparents in 1964 Montana, near a Blackfeet Reservation. After a spring of record rainfalls, a local dam bursts and a flood completely destroys the family's house and barn…While searching through the wreckage of their old homestead, Georgia discovers a foal that survived the flood, adopts her, and names her Sky. As the family struggles to put their lives back together, she learns that caring for the animal can be a form of healing, too. — School Library Journal

Tasunka: A Lakota Horse Legend

Age Level: 6-9
Language: English, Lakota

Product Description: Curiosity leads a young warrior to track a new animal that leads him far from home, but at last he finds a herd of strange new creatures: horses that shimmer with color and run swift as the wind. The Lakota capture and tame them, and the people grow rich and powerful as they rule the Plain with their newfound strength. Then the Great Spirit, who gave the gift of the horse, takes it away. Written in both English and Lakota, Donald F. Montileaux retells the legend of Tasunka from the traditional stories of the Lakota people.

What's the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses?

Illustrated by: George Littlechild
Age Level: 6-9

Van Camp has always been curious about horses. So he sets off on a playful search for "the most beautiful thing about horses," talking to family, friends, and even artist George Littlechild, who is a Plains Cree and knows something about horses. The answers Van Camp gets range from zany to profound: Horses can run sideways. Horses have secrets. Horses can always find their way home. Littlechild's bold and fanciful paintings perfectly capture Van Camp's playful vision of the world.