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Best Native American Books

Explore the rich tapestry of Native American culture, history, and storytelling with the most honored books as celebrated by noted literary voices.

Recommendations from 41 articles, Barack Obama, John Legend, Joe Rogan and 22 others.
Best Native American Books
96 books on the list
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We Are Grateful book cover
We Are Grateful
Traci Sorell - 2018-09-04
Goodreads Rating
Experience modern Native American life through the eyes of a Cherokee citizen in "We Are Grateful." This beautifully illustrated book takes you through a full year of celebrations and experiences, all while teaching the importance of expressing gratitude through the Cherokee word otsaliheliga. With a glossary and complete Cherokee syllabary included, this book is a great way to learn about a rich culture that is often overlooked.
Jingle Dancer book cover
Jingle Dancer
Cynthia Leitich Smith - 2000-04-05
Goodreads Rating
This beautiful children's book follows Jenna, a young Native American girl who dreams of jingle dancing just like the generations of women in her family. However, Jenna faces a problem - her dress has no jingles. Through heartwarming storytelling and lovely watercolor illustrations, author Cynthia Leitich Smith shares the touching story of how Jenna turns to her community and family for help in finding a voice for her dancing.
Fry Bread book cover
Fry Bread
A Native American Family Story
Kevin Noble Maillard - 2019-10-22
Goodreads Rating
Celebrate the warmth and togetherness of food with this book about fry bread. From coast to coast, this dish brings families together for new memories. It's a symbol of traditional and modern, similarity and difference. Don't miss out on this savory slice of culture.
We Are Water Protectors book cover
We Are Water Protectors
Carole Lindstrom - 2020-03-17
Goodreads Rating
"We Are Water Protectors" is a bold and lyrical picture book that issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption. Written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade, it is inspired by Indigenous-led movements across North America. The book highlights the importance of water as the first medicine that affects and connects us all. It tells the story of a young water protector who takes a stand against a black snake threatening to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water.
There There book cover
There There
Tommy Orange - 2018-06-05
Goodreads Rating
Experience the gripping stories of twelve Native Americans as they come together for the Big Oakland Powwow. From newly-sober Jacquie Red Feather to teenage Orvil performing his first traditional dance, these characters share their struggles with history, spirituality, and sacrifice. Tommy Orange's unforgettable novel offers a poignant and unflinching exploration of modern Native American life.
Recommended by
Barack ObamaMax Joseph
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee book cover
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
An Indian History of the American West (Arena Books)
Dee Alexander Brown - 2001-01-23 (first published in 1970)
Goodreads Rating
Explore the devastating history of the American Indian's systematic destruction in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. This classic bestseller, hailed as "Impossible to put down," is an eloquent and fully documented account of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that left the Indigenous people defeated and demoralized. Through personal accounts and council records, Dee Brown masterfully tells the story of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes in their own words, changing our vision of how the West was really won. With an incisive new preface, this 30th-anniversary edition is a must-read for those seeking a unique and disturbing narrative of American history.
Thunder Boy Jr. book cover
Thunder Boy Jr.
Sherman Alexie - 2016-05-10
Goodreads Rating
This beautifully illustrated picture book by Sherman Alexie celebrates the special bond between a father and son as they navigate the process of finding a name that truly fits. Little Thunder wants a name all his own, one that celebrates something cool he's done. Follow their journey as they discover the perfect name that fills them both with pride and love, and lights up the sky.
When We Were Alone book cover
When We Were Alone
David A. Robertson - 2016-12-01
Goodreads Rating
Experience a powerful story about a young girl learning the truth of her grandmother's past. When We Were Alone tells the story of life in residential schools, where culture and family were stripped away. Through the eyes of a child and the wisdom of an elder, this book delivers a poignant reminder of the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples.
Crossing Bok Chitto book cover
Crossing Bok Chitto
A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom
Tim Tingle - 2006-04-01
Goodreads Rating
Experience the power of human connection across the Bok Chitto river in this unforgettable tale. Follow young Choctaw girl, Martha Tom, as she discovers the beauty of friendship and the true meaning of freedom on the other side of the river. With stunning illustrations and the captivating storytelling of Choctaw author, Tim Tingle, Crossing Bok Chitto is a must-read for all ages.
First Laugh--Welcome, Baby! book cover
First Laugh--Welcome, Baby!
Rose Ann Tahe - 2018-08-14
Goodreads Rating
This heartwarming children's book takes readers into the beautiful tradition of Navajo families who celebrate a baby's First Laugh Ceremony. You'll join the baby's family as they all try to elicit the first laugh and learn about various aspects of Navajo life, including the Navajo names for family members. Additionally, the book features fascinating information about cultural ceremonies from around the world that welcome new babies and children.
Buffalo Bird Girl by S. D. Nelson
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Firekeeper's Daughter by Boulley Angeline
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Sharice's Big Voice by Sharice Davids, Nancy K. Mays
Gaawin Gindaaswin Ndaawsii / I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis
Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child
Mama Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse
1621 by Catherine O'Neill Grace
My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
The Good Luck Cat by Joy Harjo
Giving Thanks by Chief Jake Swamp, Jr. Erwin Printup
The Other Slavery by Andrés Reséndez
Saltypie by Tim Tingle
Wild Berries by Julie Flett
Hungry Johnny by Cheryl Kay Minnema, Wesley Ballinger
Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia L Smith
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
SkySisters by Bourdeau Waboose, Jan (2002) Paperback by Jan Bourdeau Waboose
When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky by Margaret Verble
I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day
How to Coach Girls by Mia Wenjen
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
1491 by Charles C. Mann
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson
At the Mountain's Base by Traci Sorell
Greet the Dawn by S. D. Nelson
Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton
Blue Horses Rush In by Luci Tapahonso
Violence Over the Land by Ned Blackhawk
The Languages of Native North America by Marianne Mithun
Powwow's Coming by Linda Boyden
Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac
The Grass Dancer by Susan Power
The People Shall Continue by Simon J Ortiz
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Raccoon's Last Race by Joseph Bruchac
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Soldier Sister, Fly Home by Nancy Bo Flood
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
The Elusive Full Ride Scholarship by Alison Foley
The Removed by Brandon Hobson
Rock and Roll Highway by Sebastian Robertson
Sumo Joe by Mia Wenjen
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
The First Blade of Sweetgrass by Suzanne Greenlaw, Gabriel Frey, Nancy Baker
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Two Old Women, 20th Anniversary Edition by Velma Wallis
Stolen Words by Melanie Florence, Gabrielle Grimard
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
Notable Native People by Adrienne Keene, Ciara Sana
We Are Still Here! by Traci Sorell, Frane Lessac
Little You by Richard van Camp
Birdsong by Julie Flett
Encounter by Jane Yolen
When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith, Nicole Neidhardt, Mildred Walters
Fools Crow by James Welch
A Stranger At Home by Christy Jordan-Fenton
We Sang You Home by Richard van Camp, Julie Flett
All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez, Adriana M. Garcia
Grandmother's Dreamcatcher by Becky Ray McCain
If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth
An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States by Kyle T. Mays
Manmade Monsters by Andrea L. Rogers
Thunder and the Noise Storms by Jeffrey Ansloos, Shezza Ansloos
Winter in the Blood by James Welch
Shutter by Ramona Emerson
Johnny's Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema, Julie Flett
Dog Flowers by Danielle Geller
Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong by Paul Chaat Smith
Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon
When the Shadbush Blooms by Messinger, Carla, Katz, Susan
Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, Michaela Goade