Jump to content


Favorite PICTURE books for native american unit??


Recommended Posts

So I have quite a few encyclopedias and non-fiction for this unit next year. Now I would like to hear your favorite picture books for the 1st-4th grader (and I'll be honest if the story is good, the 12yo listens in too :) )! Some chapter books too would be great, maybe I missed something. Right now,  I have Birchbark House on my desk  and Children of the Longhouse on order.


I am not really looking for native "tales" (legends, trickster tales, etc) I have a few of those. I am looking hopefully for books that give more a view of life pre-Europeans, focusing on the wide variety of tribes that existed on the continent. I see quite a few that are focused on contact with Europeans or life after contact.


Thanks :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm actually a fan of Jingle Dancer, though it's not what you're looking for exactly. Still, I think a lot of people get this idea that Native Americans only exist in the distant past, so it's a nice reminder of the fact that this isn't true.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well yes, but I am not doing a culture unit more a history unit: life in north america pre-Europeans. Later in the year we will look at how native tribes were affected by the new country. There are tons of books about government policy, the reservations, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard to find books on all the many diverse tribal peoples -- most books seem to clump around Cherokee or plains Indian groups, with some about the southwest. You might try searches for children's books by specific tribal names, or by Native Americans by area:


Arctic: Aleut, Inuit, Yupik

California: Paiute -- and dozens of others

Great Basin area: Shoshone, Ute -- and others

Great Plains: Arapaho, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Comanche, Crow, Dakota, Osage, Pawnee, Seneca, Sioux -- many others

Northeast area: Algonquian, Erie, Iroquois, Nauset, Ottawa -- and dozens of others

Northwest area: Chinook, Tillamook, Tlingit -- and dozens of others

Plateau: Flathead, Klikitat, Nez Perce -- and a number of others

Southeast area: Cherokee, Chickamauga, Creek, Seminole -- and dozens of others

Southwest: Apache, Hohokam, Hopi, Navajo, Tohono O'odham (Papago), Zuni -- and many others


Below are all pre-European contact, or focused on Native peoples living traditional lives. Note: The vast majority of picture books are myths/folktales, and you mentioned you already have those. The only picture books I could think of that are not myth/folktale are more based on worldview/cultural outlook not historical events or set in historical times. I honestly don't know of any picture books on Native American historical fiction/events. Good luck!


Picture Books

Last Leaf, First Snowflake -- poetic picture book; NE North Americans and change of season

- Path of the Quiet Elk (Stroud) -- lyrical alphabet book; Cherokee worldview of interconnectedness of all things

- A Walk to the Great Mystery (Stroud) -- Cherokee worldview of respect for nature/all things

- Can You Hear Wind Sing Your Name (Canyon) -- Cherokee song of spring, celebrating the circle of life, connections with nature

- When Clay Sings; I'm in Charge of Celebrations (Baylor) -- poetic works of the desert SW and Native peoples of SW

- Hawk I'm Your Brother (Baylor) -- modern setting but totally within Native community of a SW Native boy and a red tail hawk



grade 1 level

The Warrior Maiden (Schecter) -- Hopi girl

grade 2-3 level

- Tikta'liktak (Houston)-- Inuit-Alaskan man stranded on an ice floe

grade 3-4 level:
Om-Kas-Toe (Thomasa) -- Blackfoot boy tames a horse for his tribe
Naya Nuki: The Shoshone Girl Who Ran (Thomasa) -- true story of a friend of Sacajawea who escaped her Indian captors and journeyed 1000 to reach

grade  5/6+, or a read-aloud

- Island of the Blue Dolphins -- based on true survival story of 1800s Nicoleno (CA coast islands) Native woman




North American Indians (Gorsline) -- picture book

Meet North American Indians (Payne) -- gr. K-4; illustrations every page, gr. 2-3 reading level

The Very First Americans (Ashrose) -- gr. K-4; illustrations every page, gr. 3-4 reading level

First Americans series (Sneve) -- gr. 3-5; each book on a specific tribal group: Sioux; Apache; Nez Perce; Iroquois; Seminole; Hopi;  Cherokee; Cheyenne; 

If You Lived With… series -- gr. 3-5; each book on a specific tribal group: Indians of the Northwest Coast; Cherokee; Sioux; Hopi; Iroquois

True Books series -- gr. 4-7; each book on a specific tribal group: Pueblo, Inuit, Wampanoag, Timucua, Ute, Zuni, Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Iroquois, Sioux, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Shawnee

Brown Paper School USKids History: Book of the American Indians -- gr. 5-8; illustrations every page

The Book of Indians (Holling) -- gr. 4-8; OOP;  different fictional boy and girl from four different regions of North America showing what life might have been like for the tribes in those different areas

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Lori D! I hoped you'd see this and chime in :) ! There are a couple there I had not found :) !


And, I dropped from the list a few titles that involved first contact with Europeans, or early Native/European relations, as there are lots of those types of titles out there and you specifically were NOT looking for those. I think we were cross-posting -- I also added a Non-Fiction section, even though that was not what you said you needed, as that was the only thing that I could find that touched on Native life pre-European contact from many different areas of North America. Hope those are not repeats of what you already had. ;)

Edited by Lori D.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...