A Unofficial list of kids picture books by Indigenous Authors and tips on what Native kids books to buy

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“I wrote this in a parents group and decided to share this for other parents and educators if your looking for American Indian kid picture books. This is exactly what I wrote in the parents group and Im posting here due to people asking to have this on a permanent platform and not just my social media.”

Heres what i shared

“first, i would say is we dont call our traditional clothing costumes… we call it regalia, cuz our culture isnt a costume or neither is what we wear, so i would change that in when talking with your kid, i would say regalia, regalia is traditional clothing. its important to make this discintion really young esp with images like disneys pochantas all around

Second, its oh so important to only buy childrens books about Native Americans from Native American authors. Not from Non-natives. When u see a author how it says adapted next to it its usually someone who is not native. I cannot stress this enough. many times indigenous culture esp stories are taken from and stolen, and native peoples are never compensated for thier labor time or knowledge, also permission is not always granted so important to respect this.

third its important to show childrens books with native americans are contempary peoples. that we are still here and now. we are still living. Many people assume all native americans are dead and gone but that couldnt be futher from the truth. we are still here and should be depicted in childrens book as such.

since these are some of the suggestions i go buy in buying native books, esp in suggestions 2 and 3, i would not buy the book above u listed, as it says stories were adapted and native peoples are seen as historical and not current

Here are my top ten childrens books by natives with native peoples in the book

  1. 47000 beads

Its important to show intersections to children and this is the only childrens picture book written by 2spirit authors with 2spirit characters. i do a Two-Spirit kids storytime in SFPL, and this is our showcase book of that storyhour. this is the best book on the list.

2. Frybread

We love this book, and i love using cooking as a theme to understand any culture your not a part of with kids… this book reminds me of a family childcare provider sharing frybread with the kids, i love how so many tribal nations are named, and how you could just read the names of the native sovereign nations and that would be a book. also has a recipe for frybread in it

3. Coyote at the big time

This is my kids favorite counting book, we literally learned how to count with this book, also its important to have books that teach us the culture of the land we are on and this book shows what a bigtime is, which is where many Indigenous peoples in this state gather

4. California Indian ABC: A is for acorn

https://www.amazon.com/Acorn-California-Indian-ABC/dp/1597143162

From the same author above and its so important to see california Natives as contemporary, alive and well

5. Water Protectors

Indigenous peoples have always lead the charge of environmental activism before settlers were even interested in it. This book continues to tell that story and how we protect the water and land.

6. Shi-shi-etko

This deals with the impact of boarding schools/residential schools and how indigenous children where stolen and kidnapped from thier parents by the US govt. any of this sound familar? u can tie it with current themes of what is happening today with indigenous children from the south being locked up in cages within our false borders today

7. Giving Thanks

Many times we think of thanksgiving as one day of the year but that isnt true, it needs to be an everyday practice. this is a great book that goes over that

8. The Blue Roses

This book shows a strong solo parent taking care for her family and amazing elder who passes on knowledge. spoiler alert he passes away and so it shows how death isnt always an ending, great for a kid processing a passing of a relative

9. Sky Dancers

Who built all those skyscrapers in New york city? did u say immigrants? well then you would be wrong… it wasnt only immigrants there was so many mohawk men who built these buildings. this is their story

10. Indian Canyon A Mutsun Ohlone Coloring Book

If we are on Ohlone land then we need to be learning about it right? and so do our kids correct? this books has maps that teaches land acknowledgement and kids can see and learn how to spell words in Mutsun Ohlone. (Kanyon Sayers-Roods)

11. Music is so important too, the Alphabet Rockers came out with a album that features the only land acknowledgement track on any grammy nominated childrens album called “This is Ohlone Land”

Get it now (also side note, my kid and I are on this album, and yes i am on this track along with kanyon who in number 10 made the coloring book) (Alphabet Rockers)

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