Poetry, Plays, and Short Stories: American Indian Heritage

These poetry, drama, and short story collections include pieces about the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries and feature works by a wide variety of American Indian authors such as Sherman Alexie, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Simon Ortiz.

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
Age Level: Middle Grade

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.

Apple: Skin to the Core

Illustration of apple peel surrounding young person

In this memoir written in verse, prose, and imagery, Eric Gansworth tells his story, the story of his family — of Onondaga among Tuscaroras — of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.

Fire in the Village

By: Anne Dunn
Age Level: Young Adult

"'I was a quiet child with a gift for remembering,' Anne M. Dunn writes in the foreword to this important book. Dunn is a storyteller and elder on the Leech Lake Reservation, and the 75 stories in this collection include creation myths, fables and legends of survival. 'My mother said that a story is alive only when it is carried on the breath of the teller to the ears of those who hear,' she writes. You can hear her voice in all these stories. They are wonderfully alive." --Reviewed by Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune books editor

Growing Up Native American

Age Level: Young Adult

'What does it mean to grow up Native American?' That is the question that frames this collection of works by twenty-two Native American writers from the United States and Canada. Some of the work is excerpted from works of fiction, while other authors reflect on their own childhood memories. Authors include N. Scott Momaday, Joseph Bruchac, Michael Dorris, Louise Erdrich, and Luther Standing Bear.

I Swallow Turquoise for Courage (Sun Tracks)

Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: In poems that exude the warmth of an afternoon in the southwestern sun, Hershman John draws readers into a world both familiar and utterly new. Raised on a reservation and in boarding schools, then educated at a state university, John writes as a contemporary Diné (Navajo) poet. His is a new voice — one that understands life on both sides of the canyon that divides, but does not completely separate, the Diné people from their neighbors who live outside the reservation.

Keepers of the Morning Star: An Anthology of Native Women's Theater

Product Description: Keepers of the Morning Star is the first major anthology of Native women's contemporary theater bringing together works from established and new playwrights. This collection, representing a rich diversity of Native communities, showcases the exciting range of contemporary Native women's theater from the dynamic fusion of storytelling, ceremony, music and dance to the bold experimentation of poetic stream of consciousness and Native agitprop.

Men on the Moon: Collected Short Stories

Age Level: Young Adult

In this collection of 26 short stories, Ortiz, best known for his poetry, again carries his readers to the worlds of the Pueblo, whether on the reservation or in cities, VA hospitals, or boarding schools. The stories are about the land and about those who are or are not a part of the land. — Library Journal

Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today

Product Description: The ten stories that make up this collection edited by Lori Carlson (Cool Salsa) are raw, original, and fresh. A supermarket checkout line, a rowboat on a freezing lake at dawn, a drunken dance in the gym, an ice hockey game on public-access TV. These are some of the backgrounds against which ten outstanding authors such as Sherman Alexie, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Linda Hogan, and Lee Francis have created their memorable characters.

My Land Sings: Stories from the Río Grande

Illustrated by: Amy Córdova
Age Level: Middle Grade

"This collection of stories has elements of both Mexican and Native American folklore. Anaya has included five of his own stories and retold and enhanced five traditional tales. Filled with ghosts, devils, and tricksters, these cuentos are suffused with the beliefs of the peoples in the Río Grande region…Anaya champions the reading of a good book or listening to a folktale as an opportunity to insert one's own experiences into the story and, hence, to nurture the imagination. " — School Library Journal

Native Writers: Voices of Power

Product Description: Learn about the life events and aspirations that shaped the voices of ten influential Native writers, whose novels, short stories and plays encompass the soul of Native life. Learn how these writers draw from personal experience to create situations and characters that are entertaining and poignant. Featured writers include: Sherman Alexie, Marilyn Dumont, Joseph Boyden, Louise Erdrich, Joseph Bruchac, Tomson Highway, Maria Campbell, N. Scott Momaday, Nicola Campbell, and Tim Tingle. Native Trailblazers Series.

One Good Story, That One

Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: This bestselling collection from Thomas King is steeped in native oral tradition, led off by a sly creation tale, introducing the traditional native trickster coyote. Weaving the realities of native history and contemporary life through the story, King recounts a parodic version of the Garden of Eden story, slyly pulling our leg and our funnybone.

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing up Female in America

brightly colored hands raised in fists and peace signs

From Amy Reed, Ellen Hopkins, Amber Smith, Sandhya Menon, and more of your favorite YA authors comes an anthology of essays that explore the diverse experiences of injustice, empowerment, and growing up female in America.

Our Voices: Native Stories of Alaska and the Yukon

Product Description: Storytelling is a precious, vibrant tradition among the Native peoples of the Far North. Collected here for the first time are stories from the communities of interior Alaska and the Yukon Territory. These are the tales the people tell about themselves, their communities, and the world they inhabit. Our Voices showcases twenty storytellers and writers who represent a full range of Athabaskan and related languages of Alaska and the Yukon.

Rabbit Stories

Age Level: Young Adult

Kim Shuck is a writer, editor and visual artist of Tsalagi, Saux/Fox, and Polish ancestry. In this collection, Shuck tells the stories of the famous figure of Rabbit through her own autobiographical point of view.

Sky Blue Water: Great Stories for Young Readers

Age Level: Young Adult

A collection that embodies passion for fostering literacy in young readers, Sky Blue Water celebrates young adult and intermediate fiction from some of Minnesota's most beloved and award-winning authors to emerging talents and many more. Featuring primarily never-published stories, this anthology beautifully captures the essence of Minnesota adolescence in twenty short stories and poems that span from the Dakota people who first inhabited the state to its generations of immigrants and today's residents.

Stories for a Winter's Night

Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: This anthology is a portable lodge of stories meant to enchant, teach, and excite our imaginations with tales by contemporary Native American writers including Silko, Harjo, Blue Cloud, Rose, Williams, and other established and emerging writers.

Stories of the Sioux, New Edition

Product Description: Luther Standing Bear, a Lakota Sioux born in the 1860s, heard these legends in his youth, when his people were being moved to reservations. In haunting mood and imagery, they celebrate the old nomadic life of the Sioux, when buffalo were plentiful and all nature fed the spirit. The twenty stories honor not only the buffalo but also the dog, the horse, the eagle, and the wolf as workaday helpers and agents of divine intervention; the wisdom of the medicine man; and the heroism and resourcefulness of individual men and women.

Ten Little Indians

Ten Little Indians
Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: With Ten Little Indians, Alexie offers nine poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heartrending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love.

The Girl Who Married the Moon: Tales from Native North America

What sets this book apart from other collections of Native American tales is its focus on women. Of the 16 stories (4 from each corner of the U.S.), most are relatively unknown…Several selections involve abduction; there is a bit of cruelty and gore; and one romantic story ends tragically. Edging toward nonfiction, two pieces reflect actual coming-of-age ceremonies, and another celebrates the courage of a woman during the historical battle of Rosebud Creek. — School Library Journal

The Hero Next Door

Title in large block letters with small drawings of people including a skateboarder and soccer player.
Age Level: Middle Grade

From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes another middle-grade short story collection--this one focused on exploring acts of bravery--featuring some of the best own-voices children's authors, including R. J. Palacio (Wonder), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Linda Sue Park (A Long Walk to Water), and many more.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: In this darkly comic collection, Alexie brilliantly weaves memory, fantasy, and stark realism to paint a complex, grimly ironic portrait of life in and around the Spokane Indian Reservation. These twenty-two interlinked tales are narrated by characters raised on humiliation and government-issue cheese, and yet are filled with passion and affection, myth and dream.

The Moon of Letting Go: and Other Stories Hardcover

Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: Extending the tradition of Aboriginal storytelling, Richard Van Camp's new collection is eloquently and humorously optimistic. The stories celebrate healing through modern day rituals that honour his Dogrib ancestry and are set in First Nations communities in the Northwest Territories, Vancouver and rural British Columbia.

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

Age Level: Middle Grade

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 Storytellers' Club: The Picture-Writing Women of the Arctic

"(T)his novel captures the world of the Inupiaq of Alaska…The book is set in the 1920s, but the tales are from the women's youth, around the late 1800s. The stories range from the everyday — favorite recipes — to legends of giants and spiders that live among the people. They are lessons in history, both because these are women who never learned to read and write, and because they record the history of the Alaskan Indians.

Toronto at Dreamer's Rock & Education is Our Right (Two One-Act Plays)

Age Level: Middle Grade

Product Description: In these two plays, Drew Hayden Taylor delves into the past and speculates about the future as he examines the dilemmas facing young Native Canadians. "Toronto at Dreamer's Rock" is a moving portrayal of a teenage boy who is torn between the traditions of his people, which he only vaguely understands, and the lure of modern life.

Turtle Meat: And Other Stories

Age Level: Young Adult

"A thought-provoking collection of original stories, 11 of which have been previously published individually. Bruchac, a Native American storyteller of Abenaki heritage, combines legend, memories, history, humor, realism, and magic in his vivid tales…The influence of family tradition and the Native Americans' closeness to nature is shown in both 'Jed's Grandfather,' in which a young boy learns from his dying grandfather, and in 'Fox Den,' which shows the persistence of nature despite man's best attempts at destruction." — School Library Journal

Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School

Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: Middle Grade

This is an exceptional poetry collection written by Lakota students in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The historic school was founded in 1888 at the request of Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota. The poems enable readers to learn about the unique lives and heritage of students growing up in such distinctive circumstances and straddling cultures.

Walking the Choctaw Road: Stories From Red People Memory

Age Level: Young Adult

In this collection, Tingle reaches far back into tribal memory to offer this deeply personal collection of stories woven from the supernatural, mythical, historical and oral accounts of Choctaw people living today. The stories span a number of historic periods, from the Trail of Tears all the way through the Vietnam War.

When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror

"An interesting alternative for children who love horror stories. These 12 tales from the Northeast Woodland Native American nations are based on legends and mythical creatures from eight tribes. The authors use their own styles to tell about a wide variety of monsters while remaining as close as possible to the traditions of their ancestors. They have set the stories from 'the very distant past to very recent times.' Now as in the past, these legends offer entertainment and instruction." — School Library Journal

Who Will Tell My Brother?

Age Level: Young Adult

Product Description: Determined to sway high school officials to remove disparaging Indian mascots, Evan assumes a struggle that spirals him onto a soul-searching journey and exposes him to a barrage of bullying and escalating violence. Marlene Carvell's free-verse novel is a timely look at a true story of a mixed-race teen caught up in an exploration of his past, his culture, and his identity.