American Indians in Children's Literature
Established in 2006, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society. Links to book reviews, Native media, "Best Books" from 2014 through 2017, and recommended reading for students K-12.
Native American Children's Literature Recommended Reading List
This recommended reading list, sponsored by the First Nations Development Institute, and curated by Debbie Reese, PhD, offers a reading list for preschoolers, head start, Kindergarten through 3rd grade, middle school (4th - 7th grade), high school, and graphic novels. Dr. Reese is an expert in the field of Native children’s literature, an educator, and has served on many national literacy boards. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Illinois, and a Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Dr. Reese is the editor and publisher of the "American Indians in Children’s Literature" (AICL) website.
Suggested Reading from NCAI
This National Caucus of American Indian website offers a list of suggested reading.
What Are Some Great Books About Native American History?
In this May 2016 article, author Robert Collins provides some titles of books about Native American history while also explaining that it is extremely difficult to recommend a single book that does a good job of representing all Native American history and culture.
- Handbook of the North American Indians (Volumes 1 - 19) VOL 1-2 PDF VOL 5 PDF
- The Columbia Guide to the American Indians Southeast by Theda Perdue from Columbia University
- Tiller's Guide to Indian Country (3rd Edition) by Veronica E. Velarde Tiller, a Jicarilla Apache
- Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America by author, Daniel K. Richter
- The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815, by Richard White
- Indian Work: Language and Livelihood in Native American History, by Daniel H. Usner Jr.
- Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees' Struggle for a New World, by Joel Martin
- Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815, by Gregory Evans Dowd
- The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607-1814, by John Grenier
- Creek Indian Medicine Ways: The Enduring Power of Mvskoke Religion, by David Lewis Jr.
A Gathering of Readers
This link to a University of Texas' School of Information website offering resources on native literature.
American Indian Children's Books
The resource provides a list of recommended American Indian children's books compiled by Rose Marie Johnson & Rose M. McGuire, Denver Public Schools, July 2006. With each book the list identifies a suggested grade level, tribe of origin, genre, possible teaching points, question and discussion points and a brief overview.
Reading, Writing and Finding Sovereignty
In this article Dr. Jon Reyhner, Northern Arizona University, takes a look at how native students can enhance their tribal and personal sovereignty through reading and writing.
Reviews & Recommendations of Indian Children's Books
As noted at its website, "Oyate is a Native organization working to see that native Indian lives and histories are portrayed honestly, and so that all people will know that their stories belong to the respective tribes." The resource offers reviews and recommendations on Indian children's books.
Teaching Reading to American Indian/Alaska Native Students
Authored by Dr. Jon Reyhner, Northern Arizona University, "this digest summarizes ways to help young American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children become fluent readers--an essential skill if they are to succeed in school."
A Critical Bibliography on North American Indians, for K-12
The past ten years or so have seen an increase in both the volume and quality of books about American Indians for children. Several excellent nonfiction series have appeared (most notably, Chelsea House's "Indians of North America" and Lerner Publications' "We Are Still Here" series; titles from both are reviewed in this bibliography), and Native authors and artists are finally seeing print with major publishers. Fiction has not fared so well, as authors' "creative license" is often used as an excuse for stereotypical flights of fancy masquerading as multicultural literature. Nevertheless, it is in books where the greatest potential exists for bringing Americans in touch with the American Indian of reality, not fantasy. With the emphasis on multicultural literature from children's book publishers these days, how does one sort out which titles have been rushed into print or repackaged to meet the demand for books on "diversity" from sensitive and accurate works that avoid stereotypes? Several bibliographies and guides have been published in recent years, some of them mere booklists of "Indian" books without any analysis (often appearing as chapters in guides to "multicultural literature"). Some are annotated bibliographies that simply describe the storyline and content. The most useful guides, however, are those that critically evaluate the images, descriptions, and portrayals of Native people, such as this bibliography. The accuracy of the portrayal of the Indian character(s) is the focal point of these annotations. This is important. Books are usually reviewed by the major review journals for their literary accomplishment, reading level, appeal to young readers, and attractiveness of illustrations. Almost never do these mainstream reviews consider the accuracy of the portrayals of Native cultures, or, for that matter, of any other cultures. A book may have a riveting and exciting storyline, but appalling depictions of Indian characters.
The annotations in this bibliography address all of these concerns. Like the best of its peers, it contains critical annotations and evaluations---not just plot summaries---of Indian books. Both positive and negative depictions are described, and the editors are not hesitant to point out controversial titles and disagreements about specific books. There is good balance and fair treatment in these reviews.
Teaching Reading With Puppets - Will Native Languages Survive?
In Canada and the United States today, there are approximately 210 indigenous languages are still spoken out of the over 300 spoken before the arrival of Columbus. However, all is not well with these remaining indigenous languages. For a language to stay alive, somebody has to be learning it. Recent research indicates that only 35 of the remaining languages spoken in the United States and Canada are spoken by young people. Will these remaining languages survive? Today, children are no longer being punished routinely for speaking their language in schools. Many schools with indigenous populations, particularly on Indian reserves and reservations, have indigenous language programs. However, having a language programs does not guarantee that children are learning their languages.
What Are the Best Non-fiction Books About History and Culture of Native Americans?
In this Quora blog, “Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong” by Paul Chaat Smith and “Being Comanche” by Morris W. Foster are offered as non-fiction reading about the history and culture of Native Americans. "Being Comanche" is more academic but it is accurate and respectful and doesn’t treat Native people are historical artefacts.