Nature's Gifts: American Indian Heritage

Do you know the story of the Little Painters who repaint the world during a solar eclipse? Did you know that horses can run sideways? These books each present a American Indian celebration of the gifts and surprises of the natural world.

Between Earth & Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places

Illustrated by: Thomas Locker
Age Level: 6-9

Bruchac frames 11 legends of Native American sacred places with a conversation between Little Turtle and his uncle, Old Bear, who says, "There are sacred places all around us…They are found in the East and in the North, in the South and in the West, as well as Above, Below, and the place Within."…The text is printed in stanzas, enhancing the image of prose poems. — School Library Journal

Caribou Song

Caribou Song
Illustrated by: John Rombough
Age Level: 6-9, 9-12
Language: Cree

Product Description: Joe and Cody are young Cree brothers who follow the caribou all year long, tucked into their dog sled with Mama and Papa. To entice the wandering caribou, Joe plays his accordion and Cody dances. They are so involved with their dancing and music that they don't hear the roaring of the approaching herd of caribou. What should be a moment of terror turns into something mystical and magical, as the boys open their arms and their hearts to embrace the caribou spirit. Winner of the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award.

Dragonfly Kites

Two brothers flying kites
Illustrated by: Julie Flett
Language: Cree

Dragonfly Kites is the third book in Tomson Highway's magical Songs of the North Wind trilogy. Like Fox on the Ice and Caribou Song, it has a bilingual text, written in English and Cree. Joe and Cody, two young Cree brothers, along with their parents and their little dog Ootsie, are spending the summer by one of the hundreds of lakes in northern Manitoba. Summer means a chance to explore the world and make friends with an array of creatures. But what Joe and Cody like doing best of all is flying dragonfly kites.

Grandmother's Pigeon

Age Level: 6-9

"The mystical and the natural blend superbly in this first children's book by the accomplished literary novelist Louise Erdrich. The eccentric, well-traveled grandmother of two young kids decamps in mid-vacation, riding a porpoise to Greenland and leaving behind a trove of strange treasures and artifacts including a collection of bird's nests and three old eggs which hatch, marvelously, into passenger pigeons.

Gray Wolf's Search

Age Level: 3-6

In this wonderful original tale, a young boy is told by his uncle, the village shaman, that his role in their clan and tribe depends on his finding and getting to know a very important person. Gray Wolf journeys through the woods and seashore around his home and through the seasons for a full year in the course of his search. Through conversations with his brothers and sisters in the woods and waters — Bear, Eagle, Whale, Beaver, Owl and Wolf — Gray Wolf makes a wonderful discovery about the value of each and every one of us.

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.


Disgruntled that his father has invited strangers from another tribe to the family's harvest feast, Moss disappears into the woods, where he unexpectedly experiences his "away time," a rite of passage that involves — in Moss's case — a conversation with a special porcupine. This episode, and his unprecedented communication with Trouble, a village girl who follows him into the forest, transform Moss by the time he returns home to share the feast with his family and their guests. — Publishers Weekly

Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children

Product Description: The flagship book in the Keepers of the Earth series, this environmental classic teaches children respect and stewardship for the Earth and all living things. Joseph Bruchac's lyrical retellings set the stage for Michael Caduto's abundance of related activities. Beginning with Native American stories, this invaluable and time-honored resource provides readers with an abundance of hands-on activities that will inspire children to understand and appreciate Native American cultures and the Earth.

Morning on the Lake

Illustrated by: Karen Reczuch
Age Level: 6-9

A young Ojibwe boy and his grandfather set out in a birchbark canoe early one spring morning to discover the peaceful beauty of the lake, climb a rocky cliff, and venture into the woods. Under the patient and gentle guidance of his grandfather, the boy gradually comes to respect the ways of nature and to understand his own place in the world.

Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects, and Recipes for Families (The Keepers of the Earth series)

"Stories about the cycle of life illuminate learning activities in Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects and Recipes for Families by noted storytellers Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. Using tribal tales from across the country as inspiration, the authors provide practical information about seed preservation, planting and maintaining the garden, reaping and cooking the harvest." — Publishers Weekly

Native Defenders of the Environment

Product Description: From the Native Trailblazers series comes a book with the stories of twelve brave people who work tirelessly to save our environment. Readers will learn about Grace Thorpe, who worked to keep Native reservations from becoming nuclear waste dumps; Tom Goldtooth, the director of the Indigenous Environmental Network; and Ben Powless, a founding organizer of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.

Proud to Be a Blacksheep

Illustrated by: Keith Smith
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Curious, headstrong, and impatient, Shundeen is a young girl always in search of adventure. As the only Diné (Navajo) in her school, and growing up away from the Diné Reservation, she must retain her culture while surrounded by peers who don't understand it. Every summer, Shundeen lives with her grandparents on the reservation. When a day of adventure culminates in a terrifying accident, Shundeen discovers there is more to herself — and to her people — than she had ever imagined. Bilingual text.

Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun

Age Level: 6-9

Diné (Navajo) artist Whitethorne has crafted a lovely, thoughtful story of a young boy experiencing his first solar eclipse. Kii Leonard is guided by his wise grandfather, Pipa, who tells him the story of the Na'ach'aahii, the Little Painters who repaint the world at this time, adding new colors and new life to the world. — School Library Journal

Thanks to the Animals

Illustrated by: Rebekah Raye
Age Level: 3-6

As the cold weather sets in, Joo Tum and his family dismantle their log house, load their bobsled, and prepare to move north to their winter home in the deep woods. Squirrels, birds, and rabbits look on benevolently. When all is ready, the family nestles into a heap of sealskin coats and blankets, and they set off. While the other children sleep, baby Zoo Sap falls off the sled and is left behind. His frantic cries soon alert the animals of the forest, who gather around him in a warm, loving nest of fur and feathers. — School Library Journal

The Elders Are Watching

Illustrated by: Roy Henry Vickers
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: As Native elders have advised from time immemorial, this is a gentle plea to respect the natural environment. When the award-winning poet David Bouchard first saw the artwork of First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers, he was struck by Vickers' reverence for nature, the vibrancy of his colors, and his perceptive understanding of Canada's rugged West Coast. In this new edition of their collaboration, their vision is as fresh and relevant today as it was when the book was first published.

The Grizzly Mother

bear peeking out of bush
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need in order to survive on their own.
The Mothers of Xsan series uses striking illustration and lyrical language to bring the poetry of the Xsan ecosystem to life.

The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee

Cherokee people have lived in the Great Smoky Mountains for thousands of years telling stories to explain how things came to be, to pass on lessons about life, and to describe the mountains, animals, plants, and spirits around them. This collection of 26 stories is presented by members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in their own words; the stories appear in free-verse form, like poems on the page, so that if you read them aloud, you can hear the rhythm of the stories as they were originally told.

The Sockeye Mother

a salmon and a bear
Illustrated by: Natasha Donovan

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the sockeye salmon is more than just a source of food. Over its life cycle, it nourishes the very land and forests that the Skeena River runs through and where the Gitxsan make their home. The Sockeye Mother explores how the animals, water, soil, and seasons are all intertwined.

The Star People: A Lakota Story

Age Level: 6-9

"While exploring the land around their village, Sister Girl and Young Wolf stray too far. After narrowly escaping a roaring prairie fire, the siblings find themselves lost and frightened in the dark, open land until the Star People, 'the spirits of the Old Ones who once walked on the earth,' offer comfort and guidance home.

The Water Walker / Nibi Emosaawdang (Ojibwa and English Edition)

illustration of a girl walking through the wood carrying a stick with an eagle head on the top
Age Level: 6-9

The story of the determined Ojibwe Nokomis (grandmother) Josephine Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect water for future generations and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men and youth, have walked the perimeter of the Great Lakes and along the banks of numerous rivers and lakes. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.

We Are Water Protectors

child standing in waves holding a feather
Illustrated by: Michaela Goade

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, Carole Lindstrom's bold and lyrical picture book We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguarding the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.

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.

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.

Where Only the Elders Go: Moon Lake Loon Lake

Where Only the Elders Go: Moon Lake Loon Lake
Illustrated by: Halina Below
Age Level: 6-9

In this story that will invite a lot of discussion by very young children, a child hears the call of a loon, and it brings him memories of his Mishomis (grandfather), who has gone to "a peaceful, restful place where only the Elders go, Moon Lake Loon Lake." Below's lovely watercolor art complements the story. — Oyate