November is Native American Heritage Month highlighting Native American authors who have given us a glimpse of their history and culture. The writings of these authors chronicles the heritage and struggles as well as finding their place in today’s world. If you are interested learning more, here is a list that spotlights Native American writers and books that can help you start your way.
Ancestor Approved, edited by author Cynthia Leitich Smith, is a collection of stories and poetry by Native writers, set around the the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Suggested for readers in grades 3-7.
This Caldecott Medal award-winning picture book is a beautiful reminder to protect the Earth, written by Carole Lindstrom, water protector and member of the Ojibwe tribe, with pictures by Michaela Goade, who is of Tlingit descent.
This picture book pays homage to real Native American U.S. service members like WWII pilot Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat in a beautiful story about a Cherokee family waiting for their loved one to return.
Darcie Little Badger
Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.
Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.
Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries.
And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.
Rogers, Andrea L
Making her YA debut, Cherokee writer Andrea L. Rogers takes her place as one of the most striking voices of the horror renaissance that has swept the last decade.
Horror fans will get their thrills in this collection – from werewolves to vampires to zombies – all the time-worn horror baddies are there. But so are predators of a distinctly American variety – the horrors of empire, of intimate partner violence, of dispossession. And so too the monsters of Rogers’ imagination, that draw upon long-told Cherokee stories – of Deer Woman, fantastical sea creatures, and more.
Rita Todacheene is a forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police force. Her excellent photography skills have cracked many cases-she is almost supernaturally good at capturing details. In fact, Rita has been hiding a secret: she sees the ghosts of crime victims who point her toward the clues that other investigators overlook. As a lone portal back to the living for traumatized spirits, Rita is terrorized by nagging ghosts who won’t let her sleep and who sabotage her personal life. Her taboo and psychologically harrowing ability was what drove her away from her hometown on the Navajo reservation, where she was raised by her grandmother. It has isolated her from friends and gotten her in trouble with the law. And now it might be what gets her killed. When Rita is sent to photograph the scene of a supposed suicide on a highway overpass, the furious, discombobulated ghost of the victim-who insists she was murdered-latches onto Rita, forcing her on a quest for revenge against her killers, and Rita finds herself in the crosshairs of one of Albuquerque’s most dangerous cartels. Written in sparkling, gruesome prose, Shutter is a blood-chilling debut from one of crime fiction’s most powerful new voices
A moving and deeply engaging debut novel about a young Native American man struggling to find strength in his familial identity, from a stellar new voice in literary fiction.
Told in a series of voices, Calling for a Blanket Dance takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they soldier through a myriad of difficulties: his father’s sudden kidney failure and subsequent disability, his mother’s struggle to hold on to her job and care for her husband, the constant resettlement of the family, and Ever’s own bottled-up rage at the instability all around him. Meanwhile, all of Ever’s relatives have ideas about who he is and who he should be. His Cherokee grandmother urges the family to move across the state to find security; his dying grandfather hopes to reunite him with his heritage through traditional gourd dances; his Kiowa cousin reminds him that he’s connected to an ancestral past. And once an adult, Ever must take the strength given to him by his relatives to save not only himself, but also the next generation of family.
There are no tides more treacherous than those of the heart. —Teek saying
The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.
The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?
As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.
And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?
Since the late 1800s, it has been believed that Native American civilization has been wiped from the United States. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee argues that Native American culture is far from defeated–if anything, it is thriving as much today as it was one hundred years ago.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee looks at Native American culture as it exists today–and the fight to preserve language and traditions.
Louise Erdrich takes us on an illuminating tour through the terrain her ancestors have inhabited for centuries: the lakes and islands of southern Ontario. Summoning to life the Ojibwe’s sacred spirits and songs, their language and sorrows, she considers the many ways in which her tribe—whose name derives from the word ozhibii’ige, “to write”—have influenced her. Her journey links ancient stone paintings with a magical island where a bookish recluse built an extraordinary library, and she reveals how both have transformed her
When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through : a Norton anthology of Native nations poetry
United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo gathers the work of more than 160 poets, representing nearly 100 indigenous nations, into the first historically comprehensive Native poetry anthology.
This landmark anthology celebrates the indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries.