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NEA Advice

American Indian, Alaska Native, and First Nations Booklists

K-12 titles to share to help readers get to know Native people and their nations.
Collage of Native American book covers
Published: September 20, 2023
This resource originally appeared on

Look for opportunities to share these stories throughout the year and include their use across the curriculum to help readers get to know Native people and their nations.

Find more guidance on choosing and sharing children's books about Native Americans from NEA's Read Across America partner, Colorin Colorado.

Picture Books and Elementary 

A Boy Called Slow: The True Story of Sitting Bull by Joseph Bruchac; illustrated by Rocco Baviera 

Caribou Song by Tomson Highway; illustrated by John Rombough 

A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell; illustrated by Julie Flett 

At the Mountain's Base by Traci Sorell; illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre 

Bowwow Powwow / Bagosenjige-niimi'idim by Brenda Child; illustrated by Jonathan Thunder 

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker's Story by Joseph Bruchac 

Chukfi Rabbit's Big, Bad Bellyache: a Trickster Tale by Greg Rodgers 

Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series by Traci Sorell; illustrated by Arigon Starr 

A Coyote Columbus Story by Thomas King; illustrated by William Kent Monkman 

Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton; illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes 

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard 

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp; illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr. 

Hungry Johnny by Cheryl Minnema; illustrated by Wesley Ballinger 

The Inuit Thought of It: Amazing Arctic Innovations by Alootook Ipellie and David MacDonald 

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich-Smith and Ying Hwa-Hu; illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright 

Mayeros: A Yucatec Maya Family by George Ancona 

Mission to Space by John Herrington 

Muskrat Will Be Swimming by Cheryl Savageau; illustrated by Robert Hynes 

The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz; illustrated by Sharol Graves 

Rock & Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story by Sebastian Robertson; illustrated by Adam Gustavson 

Salmon Summer by Bruce McMillan 

Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle; illustrated by Karen Clarkson 

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day 

Shin-Chi's Canoe by Nicola I. Campbell; illustrated by Kim LaFave 

Skysisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose; illustrated by Brian Deines 

Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk; illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis 

Tallchief America's Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief, with Rosemary Wells; illustrated by Gary Kelley 

Thanku: Poems of Gratitude by Miranda Paul; illustrated by Marlena Myles 

We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorrell; illustrated by Frané Lessac 

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell; illustrated by Frané Lessac 

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom illustrated by Michaela Goade 

Wild Berries by Julie Flett 

When the Shadbush Blooms by Carla J.S. Messinger and Susan Katz; illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden 

Middle Grade

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by Cynthia Leitich Smith 

The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson 

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich 

Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac 

How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle 

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day 

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III 

Indigenous Ingenuity: A Celebration of Traditional North American Knowledge by Deidre Havrelock & Edward Kay 

Legends of the Seminoles by Betty M Jumper; illustrated by Guy LaBree 

Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith 

Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac 

Talking Leaves by Joseph Bruchac 

Young Adult 

Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac 

Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong by Paul Chaat Smith 

Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth 

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith 

In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided by Walter R. Echo-Hawk 

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese 

Man Made Monsters by Andrea L. Rogers; illustrated by Jeff Edwards 

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale (editors) 

This Place: 150 years Retold (compilation from various authors)  

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