Top 10 Native American Children’s Books

November, popularly celebrated as American Heritage Month, makes it the perfect time to get your hands down on children's books by Native American authors. Whether bedtime stories or late weekend book reading, it is always delightful for young ones to indulge their little minds in stories with superheroes, mermaids, and other fantasies. Our top 10 Native American children's books help develop imagination and teach lessons from stories about people, nature, culture, and animals.

And these books are great for any time!  Don't just wait until November to explore Native American culture!

Native American culture has frequently been ignored in children's literature, particularly in tales written from the view of the indigenous people. However, we have seen a remarkable change in the last decade, with more Native American reads getting added to our library collections. From chapter books to board books for babies, Native American children's books reimagine traditional stories, tell new tales, and honor cultural importance and presence in today's modern world.

We explored multiple tales from Native American artists to list down a collection of all-time favorites from Amazon children's books you might love to add to your kiddie's shelf.

Time to explore these ten award-winning children's books yourself.


Bowwow Powwow
Brenda J. Child

Bowwow Powwow is the story of Itchy Boy, Windy Girl, and her dog, who love listening to their Uncle's stories all the way back from his boyhood. Furthermore, the Windy Girl and Itchy Boy love to visit the powwow, where they find delicious food, long nights of laughter, and fantastic dance.

As the story moves forward, Windy one night dreams about a very special powwow where warriors, dances, and elders are. When she awakens, she realizes the diversity of powwow, integrating both past and present, old and new, continually moving, like the dancers. Available in both English and Ojibwe versions. 

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Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People
S.D. Nelson

Sitting Bull was a Lakota/Sioux leader and warrior. Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of His People tells the tales of the legendary chief. From Sitting Bull's childhood, when he killed his first buffalo at age ten, to being named war chief and commanding his people against the United States.



Further, Sitting Bull is a pivotal figure in the war against the invading wasichus (white men), fighting at the Little Bighorn and Killdeer Mountain Battles. 

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My Heart Fills With Happiness
Monique Gray Smith

As you turn the pages of this brightly illustrated board book with your child, reflect upon the delight of small things like holding hands, the aroma of warm bannock baking in the oven, and drumming. A lovely vehicle for a much-needed reminder!

Monique Gray Smith, award-winning author, and international speaker wrote this book to support the wellness of Indigenous children and their families. Available in Ojibwe French, Cree, and Spanish versions.

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How I Became A Ghost — A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story
Tim Tingle

How I Became A Ghost is an account of a tribe's expulsion from their only home, and a subsequent trip to Oklahoma. The story is presented from the perspective of a Choctaw kid who has passed away. First, we find out about 10-year-old Isaac's life among the Choctaw. Afterward, a catastrophe strikes, and then Isaac perishes on the Trail of Tears, much like so many other children who were made to travel it.

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Sweetest Kulu
Celina Kalluk

Celina Kalluk's charming poem celebrating Inuit baby Kulu's arrival will lull your little one to sleep. What a guest list it had! In this board book, the Smiling Sun, Wise Wind, and Snow Bunting are just a few characters who appear ready to bestow presents and well wishes on this adorable newborn. 

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Birdsong
Julie Fleet

A young girl feels lonely and out of place when she goes from the country to a small town. However, she soon meets an elderly woman next door who shares her passion for arts and crafts with her. Can the girl deal with the changing seasons and her new friend's declining health?

Julie Flett's colorful images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes provide vibrancy and warmth to this moving story about the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared hobbies. 

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Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Kevin Novle Maillard

Juana Martinez-Neal, the winner of the Pura Belpre Award and a Caldecott Honoree, vividly illustrated a contemporary Native American family in Kevin Novle Maillard's children's book Fry Bread. The book poetically describes the process of creating fry bread as a sensory experience, tying in the significance of the scents, occasions, and noises that fried bread evokes.

“Fry bread is a nation. It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.”

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At the Mountain's Base
Traci Sorell

A cabin under an old hickory tree rest at the foot of the mountain. And a family resides in that cabin; they weave, sing, cook, and unconditionally love one another. The story plots the wait for their loved one, a pilot, to return from war; the strength in their song helps them get through difficulties on the ground and in the air.  The story celebrates the bonds of this Cherokee family.

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Mission to Space
John Herrington

Does your kiddie hold the same love of space travel as Astronaut John Herrington?

In the book story, he discusses his Chickasaw background as he talks about his astronaut training at NASA and his journey to the International Space Station. Discover what it takes to train for space flight, watch the tasks he did in orbit, and accompany him on his 220-mile-high spacewalk. Moreover, the book illustrates photos from Herrington's training and space travel. 

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All Around Us
Xelena Bonzalez

According to Grandpa, there are circles everywhere around us. He points to the rainbow that appears high in the sky after a thunderstorm. “Are you able to see? That only covers half of the circle. The rest is underground, in the dirt.” He and his granddaughter contemplate gardens and seeds, seen and unseen circles, inside and outside of us, where our bodies come from and where they return.

In this breathtaking investigation of life's and nature's cycles, they share and build the family's cultural values and traditions. 

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Finding My Dance
Ria Thundercloud

Ria Thundercloud tells her own story of dancing from Pow Wows to international dance companies.  She shows how she used dance to cope during tough times.

Hear an interview with the author on our podcast.

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Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Paul G


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