Uplifting native literature: picture books by Indigenous voices

Uplifting native literature: 

picture books by 

Indigenous voices

Indigenous literature matters!  We need to hear the native voices and let kids see themselves represented in literature.

    We are Water Protectors is written by Carole Lindstom who is Anishinabe/Metis and 
a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe.  It is illustrated by Michaela Goade of the Tlingit (pronounced Klinkit) and Haida tribes.  This book is a New York Times best seller and a winner of the 2021 Caldecott award, which is no small thing.  Water is our most precious resource and when a black snake tries to poison it, the water protector stands up to it.  It's a simple story that kids can understand.  The illustrations are simply beautiful.

    A classic you are probably familiar with is Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard.  He is a member of the Seminole nation.  OK maybe not a classic...it was written in 2019.  But I've been using it so long, I thought it was!  It is written in powerful verse.  It is about what fry bread is but also what it represents.  Make sure to read the authors note which gives you further insight into the language and the images shown. 

    I Sang You Down From the Stars is written by Tasha Spillet Sumner who is both Inninewak (Cree) and Trinadadian.  This book is also illustrated by the prolific Michaela Goade.  This is a perfect book to give to new parents. "I loved you before I met you.  Before I held you in my arms.  I sang you down from the stars."  The language is just so lyrical the illustrations are lovely.  Again make sure to read the authors and the illustrators note to gain more insight into the text and illustrations.

    Last one, We are grateful: Otsalihega by Traci Sorell who is a Cherokee Nation citizen.  Frane Lessac is from Australia. Otsalihega (oh-jah-LEE-hay-gah) is a Cherokee word is to express gratitude- "We are grateful". The Cherokee new year begins in the fall and ends in the summer and has many celebrations during the year.  Each page has a Cherokee word, the pronunciation, it is written in the language.  Go here to hear the words pronounced.


Katie, from A Basket Full of Apples, Kelli, from The Beachy Teacher, and I talk about picture books on Tuesdays at 4:30 PST on Clubhouse.  Are you on Clubhouse?  It's an app for the iPhone and you need to be invited to join. Come join us to share your favorite books.  We'd love to bring you on stage to share.  There are so many great reads out there.  Help us discover them!


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