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Best Children’s Books for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. One good way to commemorate this month is to teach your children about Native American history and the many ways that Native Americans have contributed to America’s growth and development. It is never too early for Native children to see themselves in a book, or for children of other races to learn about Native cultures and accomplishments. The seven books below include a mix of fiction and nonfiction, so your child can learn about these stories however they like best.

Reading these books is vital not just because Native Americans continue to struggle against disproportionate poverty, harassment, and discrimination. While acknowledging these facts is important, Native American culture has been unfairly overlooked by most Americans for far too long, and books like these are helping to close the gap. So for this Native American Month, remember the struggles of Native peoples, but do not let them be the whole story.

 

 

 

A baby’s first laugh is an important milestone for Navajo children. Whichever family member makes a baby laugh first gets to host the baby’s First Laugh Ceremony. In the charming First Laugh — Welcome, Baby!, a Navajo family competes to see who can make Baby laugh first. Will it be Mom? Big Brother? Grandmother? Everyone tries their best, but only one can succeed! The book also includes information about the way other cultures celebrate young children.

Go Show the World by Wab Kinew

Go Show the World uses poetic verse to celebrate two dozen indigenous historical figures from America and Canada. It is a touching, widely acclaimed book that introduces young readers to such important people as Sacagawea, the woman who guided Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition, and John Herrington, the first Native American astronaut. The book ends with brief, prose biographies of the people featured in the book.

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Older children may appreciate An Indigenous People’s History of the United States for Young People, which revisits American history from a Native perspective. This book explores how Native stories have been neglected in favor of those centering white colonizers, and it spotlights people from many different Native American tribes who fought for indigenous rights and helped shape America into the nation it is today. Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese ably adapt Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s work for a younger audience.

Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.