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A refreshing mixture of both contemporary and traditional stories, these fantastic fiction books are based on a variety of different themes that reclaim the typical narrative of indigenous people. These books are an excellent representation of the rich and varied stories written by Native American authors, including I Can Make This Promise by debut novelist Christine Day. We can’t wait to see what she writes next!
Written by Christine Day
In this stunning debut novel from Christine Day, Edie discovers a box of letters that uncover some family secrets—secrets that will lead her to find her Native American identity. The novel ever so poignantly explores the theme of adoption and the separation of indigenous children from their families. It is a beautifully written and moving story that highlights the importance of family, friendship, and maintaining a connection to one’s cultural heritage. A must-read!
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0062871992
Written by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich is the acclaimed author of the award-winning Birchbark House series. Based on her family history, this is the fifth book in the series about an Ojibwe family in nineteenth-century America. Makoons, named for the Ojibwe word for little bear, travels with his family to the Great Plains of Dakota Territory. He and his twin Chickadee will learn to become buffalo hunters and will help make a home in a new land. When Makoon has a vision that foretells challenges, readers are readily swept up in a riveting saga. Erdrich’s beautiful storytelling is brought further to life by black-and-white interior illustrations, a map, and a glossary of Ojibwe terms.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | 2018 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0060577957
If you’re looking for some chilling and thrilling storytelling, The Legend of Skeleton Man brings together two tales from critically acclaimed writer Joseph Bruchac. He combines both Mohawk lore and contemporary storytelling for a book that gave even R.L. Stine (the bestselling author of the Goosebumps series) nightmares. When a young girl’s parents go missing, she encounters a man who resembles the horrific Skeleton Man from the stories her father learned growing up on the Mohawk Reserve of Akwesasne. She will have to summon her inner strength and draw from her Native American heritage if she is to see her parents again. Bruchac completely captivates his audience with this strong female character.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | 2019 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0062747686
Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Here’s another spine-tingling story from critically acclaimed writer Joseph Bruchac. In Night Wings, a Native American boy named Paul—who has always depended on the wisdom of his Abenaki ancestors’ stories to guide him—is forced to journey up a treacherous mountain where he will come face-to-face with something even more terrifying and deadly than his surroundings. He knows that dreams deliver warnings, and his dreams of a winged creature are becoming vividly real. Once again, Bruchac captivates his audience with a tale that grips readers to the very end.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: HarperCollins | 2018 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0061123214
Written by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Jingle Dancer is a heartwarming, intergenerational story that shows the power of connection that comes from maintaining traditions. Jenna is a modern Native American girl, who longs for a dress with jingles, just like her grandma’s, so that it can sing when she dances. The warm, expressive watercolor illustrations and the elegant words wholeheartedly summon the beauty of family and heritage.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | 2000 | ISBN-13: 978-0688162412
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