November is Native American Heritage month. Over 6 million Native Americans live in the United States representing more than 570 tribes or nations. This month is designed as a way to recognize the important contributions and celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions and histories of indigenous peoples, both past and present. Check out the books below and more in our special selections at the Children’s Area this month.
Kindergarten – 3rd Grade
This brand new book is already receiving critical acclaim. It is highly recommended by American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) for its beautiful illustrations and simple words representing the diversity of Native Nations. On the surface it is a sweet story about a traditional food prepared by many in native communities, but this food has a rich history as well. Eight pages of author’s notes at the end of the book give adult readers background information about the food and what it represents to indigenous people across generations and throughout the nation.
A girl and her grandfather spend the day together working in a garden and walking through the neighborhood. They talk about circles, rainbows, growth, family, and the young girl begins to learn about her place in the never ending cycle of life. The illustrations alone make this book a must read, add in the rich and comforting text and it is a picture book that will warm your heart.
4th Grade – 8th Grade
Edie’s world is turned up-side-down when she discovers a box of letters and old photographs in the attic and uncovers secrets about her heritage that bring about more questions than answers. Publisher’s Weekly has this to say about Christine Day’s debut, “ … important themes resonate throughout, including cultural identity and what makes a friendship worth keeping. Day’s affecting novel also considers historical truths about how Native Americans have been treated throughout U.S. history, particularly underlining family separations.” The unexpected ending to Edie’s family mystery makes this book a necessary read.
Joseph Bruchac is a citizen of the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe and an author of over 120 books for children and adults. In his novel, Talking Leaves, Bruchac tells the story about an important historical figure, Sequoyah, through the eyes of Sequoyah’s son, 13-year-old Uwohali. The story reveals the complexities of familial relationships while explaining the necessity of preserving cultural identity and language. The end of the book includes a syllabary of the Cherokee language developed by Sequoyah, a list of Cherokee words and resources for further reading. An exceptional work of historical fiction that brings to life a pivotal moment in history.