HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12Native American Tales of Self-Discovery

Native American Tales of Self-Discovery

By Luisa LaFleur, The Children’s Book Review
Published: May 28, 2010

The path to self-discovery is a difficult topic, and an arduous journey. As parents, it’s one we face in determining our role with regard to our children but it’s also one we’re confronted with when our children reach adolescence. As they grow and begin to pull away from us, we’re obliged to try and guide them on the right path. Looking back, as I often do when I write these posts, I remember how my parents tried to guide me and the many times that I didn’t listen. The urge to resist them was greater than the urge to do the right thing-it’s something I’m not too proud of but I recognize it’s a right of passage and I’ll likely see similar behavior from my own children. And yet, I still harbor the vain hope that my children will be different. That their adolescence will be less turbulent because my relationship with them is different, and more evolved than in the previous generation. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking.

I recently received two books that tackle the topic of self-discovery from a Native American point of view. They are geared to older children and pre-teens and the lessons they impart are valuable and timeless.

The Legend of the Kukui Nut

by Robert Brandon Henderson

Reading level: Nine to twelve year-olds

Hardcover: 30 pages

Publisher: CFI (2008)

Source of book: Author

What to expect: Native American tale of self-discovery

In The Legend of the Kukui Nut, Melika, a little girl living on the island of Lanai embarks on a long journey of self-discovery. As a right of passage, she’s been tasked with finding her way home on her own. Her tribal chief takes her to the starting point, gives her some words of advice and leaves her on her own. Despite her fears, Melika eventually finds her way home, helping many people along the way.

Add this book to your collection: The Legend of the Kukui Nut

Poneasequa – Goddess of the Waters

by Stephanie A. Duckworth-Elliott

Reading level: Nine to twelve year-olds

Paperback: 132 pages

Publisher: Wampum Books (2009)

Source of book: Author

What to expect: Pre-teen school escapades, Native American history

In Poneasequa, Goddess of the Waters, young McKenzie is asked to do a presentation about her Wampanoag heritage in front of her class. She’s afraid that her mother and her classmates will not approve but she takes her chances. With her grandfather’s help, she sets off to find out more about the Wampanoag tribe, finding herself along the way.

2010 Mom’s Choice Award: Silver Medal

Add this book to your collection: Poneasequa – Goddess of the Waters

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Luisa LaFleur reviews bilingual books for The Children’s Book Review to help parents choose the best books for their budding linguists. She was born in Argentina, attended school in NYC and speaks three foreign languages–Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Formerly an editor in NYC, Luisa is currently a stay-at-home mom to two little ones.

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