With November being Native American Heritage month, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce my littles to Native American Culture for our World Love Week. In choosing books to read with my littles, I chose to use books specifically by Native American authors, because I think it is important for them to hear about Native American Culture from the voice of those that are from the culture. Also, many of the books I have chosen feature Native American characters in a modern context, which I think is important for our children to see. Native American people are not simply a part of history. They are a valuable part of our society today. Here is a list of our favorite books we have read this month.
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
This fun book shares the story of a little boy name Thunder Boy Jr., but he wishes he had a different name, a “normal” name or at least a name that describes him. In the end he finds a name he can take pride in. This wonderfully crafted story shows modern Native American culture, something all children need to see.
Welcome Song For Baby by Richard Van Kamp
Richard Van Kamp shows up a few times in this list, and it is because his board books are just brilliant. This one features photos of babies, which makes it instantly engaging for little ones. Plus beautifully written lyrics that is a prayer we can all share for our little ones.
We Sang You Home by Richard Van Kamp
Another Van Kamp book. This sweet book has beautiful illustrations and sweetly tells little ones how they are wanted and loved.
Awasis and the World Famous Bannock by Dallas Hunt
This is Vales new favorite book. When we found it at the library, she asked to read in over and over again. Mixing English and Cree seamlessly, this is the story of a little girl who loses her grandmother’s bannock in the woods. With the help of her animal friends, she takes the task of rounding up all of the ingredients, in hopes of making more bannock.
Little You by Richard Van Kamp
This is a final sweet poem by Richard Van Kamp about all the potential our sweet little ones carry with them from the very beginning.
My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith
This lovely book encourages little ones to look at the blessings around them. It encourages mindfulness and meditation on what makes them happy.
We All Count by Julie Flett
This beautiful board book uses beautifully illustrated woodland animals to introduce little ones to numbers in the Cree language.
We All Count by Jason Adair
This We All Count by Jason Adair features contemporary Ojibwe art and teaches numbers in the Ojibwe language.
Zoe and the Fawn by Catherine Jameson
This lovely book is also illustrated by Julie Flett. Zoe is a young girl who finds a fawn in the forest. Journey with her and her father as they learn the names of other woodland animals in the Cree language.
Wild Berries by Julie Flett
This book is perfect for little foragers, and my little love to go hunting for wild fruits. This story shares the joys of blueberry picking through a young boys perspective, and even has a recipe for blueberry Jam
The Girl and the Wolf by Katherena Vermette
This story takes the European tales of “the big bad wolf,” and turns them on their head. Showing the wolf as a kind guardian who helps lost children get home safely. My little ones love this book, and I know your will too.
One Church, Many Tribes by Richard Twiss
While I was in college, I had the great privilege of hearing Richard Twiss speak at a conference and I learned so much about Native American culture and Christianity. Shortly after, I picked up this book, and I would say it is a must read, especially those in church leadership.
Rescuing the Gospel from Cowboys by Richard Twiss
I have not read this one yet, but it is on my wish list. I basically recommend anything by Richard Twiss, because he was a man of so much wisdom and the modern church has a lot it could glean from his insight, especially in regard to reconciliation ministry.