Need more inspiration for reading about Native American culture? Here are seven more books that will delight readers of all genders. Some are about the myths and legends of the Native American people and others are contemporary stories of culture and adaptability.
“Soldier Sister, Fly Home” by Nancy Bo Flood
Tess, a 13-year-old part white and part Navajo girl has to cope with her sister’s enlistment and deployment to the Iraq war. While her sister is away, Tess has to care for her horse. The story is an introduction to the Navajo language and includes a pronunciation guide. It’s a story about loss and self-discovery that should resonate with its readers. Recommended for children in middle grades.
“Berry Magic” by Betty Huffmon, Terry Sloat
Long ago the berries of the tundra were tasteless and hard. The heroine, Anana, creates a spell to transform the crowberries into delicious treasures, giving the Eskimos blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and salmonberries. Betty Huffmon is a Yup'ik elder and storyteller who collaborated with Sloat to bring this story to life. It’s written for younger elementary children, but the pictures and story may pull in older children to its magic as well.
“The Legend of the Bluebonnet” by Tomie dePaola
Author dePaola has published over 200 children’s books in 15 countries. He’s a prolific author that has earned many prestigious awards for his work. This book, written for younger elementary readers, explores the beliefs of Native American people during a drought. She-Who-Is-Alone sacrifices what she treasures most to the Great Spirit. In return, she is given fields of bluebonnets to cover the hills.
“How the Stars Fell Into the Sky: A Navajo Legend” by Jerrie Oughton
This picture book is for younger children, but people of all ages will appreciate the Navajo legend that explains the mysteries of the stars. You’ll never gaze into the night sky again without thinking about how the First Woman took her blanket of jewels and laid them in the sky. Oughton is an award-winning author who has written several novels for young people.
“The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses” by Paul Goble
Paul Goble won the 1979 Caldecott Medal with this book, which is for elementary students. The heroine of the story is a legendary horse whisperer. She cares for the tribe’s horses until a thunderstorm carries her off to a new land. When she is rescued by her people, she has to decide where her home is. It’s a beautiful story about following your heart.
“Frog Girl” by Paul Owen Lewis
This story is inspired by legends and myths of the Pacific Northwest Tribes. Lewis is an award-winning children’s author who provides stunning illustrations to go with the narrative. The tale is about a chief’s daughter who is taken underwater by a frog to meet the Grandmother. Grandmother is sad because the tribe is stealing her children, the frogs. The chief’s daughter has to save her people by going to the spirit world and getting her people to release the captive frogs. It’s a classic hero’s journey, but the hero is a heroine.
“The Talking Earth” by Jean Craighead George
George is also the author of “Julie of the Wolves,” which won the Newberry Medal in 1973. She is an extraordinary storyteller. This novel, written for ages 11 and up, discusses how the traditions of ancestors still have bearing for today’s generation. Billie Wind is a Seminole girl who wants to face the real issues of her people, such as pollution and nuclear war. She doesn’t want to believe in the legends of the past. When she is forced to connect to the land, she gains a new appreciation for the past and how it connects to the future.