Native Women's History: Books for Kids

Tallchief

Meet remarkable Native women who have had a profound impact on their communities and nations. They include a champion in the fight against tuberculosis, an Olympic wheelchair racer, the first female Cherokee Chief, a Canadian ranger, award-winning authors, and a prima ballerina.

Many of the titles include recommended resources for additional research.

For more great titles and activities, see the Trailblazers project from Reading Rockets' Start with a Book project!

Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born around 1839. Through her true story, readers will learn what it was like to be part of this Native American community that lived along the Missouri River in the Dakotas, a society that depended more on agriculture for food and survival than on hunting. Using as a resource the works of Gilbert L. Wilson, who met Buffalo Bird Woman and transcribed her life's story in the early 20th century, award-winning author-illustrator S. D.

Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer

Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer
Illustrated by: Natasha Donovan
Age Level: 6-9

Cherokee author Traci Sorell and Métis illustrator Natasha Donovan trace Ross's journey from being the only girl in a high school math class to becoming a teacher to pursuing an engineering degree, joining the top-secret Skunk Works division of Lockheed, and being a mentor for Native Americans and young women interested in engineering. In addition, the narrative highlights Cherokee values including education, working cooperatively, remaining humble, and helping ensure equal opportunity and education for all.

Keeping the Rope Straight: Annie Dodge Wauneka's Life of Service to the Navajo

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Annie Wauneka devoted her life to helping her people. Inspired by the example of her father, Annie immersed herself in tribal politics and became a leader in the battle against tuberculosis. Annie melded traditional Diné (Navajo) culture with the modern world and brought about unprecedented improvements in the healthcare and education available to her people. Her years of service earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the title "Our Legendary Mother" from the Diné Nation.

Native Athletes in Action (Native Trailblazers)

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

"Along with well-known figures such as Jim Thorpe and National Hockey League hit man Jordin Tootoo, Schilling introduces Olympic wheelchair racer Cheri Becerra-Madsen, speed skier Ross Anderson, ice dancer Naomi Lang, and eight other less-familiar Native American athletes of the present and recent past. Most of the portraits are based on personal interviews; all include tribal affiliations, career notes (sometimes in boldface), brief sidebars, and small, black-and-white action photos." — Booklist

Native Defenders of the Environment

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

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.

Native Musicians: In the Groove

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Product Description: From the melodic sounds of a classical guitar or the wailing of an electric guitar to country music and punk rock, these musicians deliver. They offer a wide selection of musical styles as diverse as the music industry itself. Read about the lives of these outstanding performers who represent the fresh new sounds from Native Americans and Canadians today. Featured musicians and groups include flutist Mary Youngblood, Canadian country recording artist Shane Yellowbird, Four Rivers Drum, and Crystal Shawanda.

Native Women of Courage

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Product Description: Native Women of Courage profiles ten outstanding women leaders in the Native community. All of these successful, trailblazing women are stellar role models who have raised the profile of indigenous culture in North America. From heroines of the past to women making history today, this exciting work of non-fiction reminds readers of the extraordinary contributions of Native American women to our daily lives and to our country's social fabric.

Native Writers: Voices of Power

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

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.

Sharice's Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman

Sharice's Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman
Age Level: 6-9

When Sharice Davids was young, she never thought she’d be in Congress. And she never thought she’d be one of the first Native American women in Congress. During her campaign, she heard from a lot of doubters. They said she couldn’t win because of how she looked, who she loved, and where she came from. But everyone’s path looks different and everyone’s path has obstacles.

Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina

Illustrated by: True Kelley
Age Level: 6-9

Maria Tallchief shares the story of her childhood and path to becoming America's first prima ballerina. Growing up on the Osage Indian reservation, Maria was a gifted pianist and dancer, but at the age of twelve, her father told her that she must choose between dance and music. Maria chose ballet, changing the course of her life and the face of classical ballet in America.