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20 Books by Indigenous Authors to Ignite Gratitude for Storytelling

with emi aguilar from @IndigenizingArtsEd

In many Indigenous cultures, storytelling is a central artform in moving cultural teachings and knowledge systems forward. Knowing this, it makes sense that Indigenous authors are at the forefront when it comes to weaving stories together that enrapt young readers.

This month, I have partnered with Madison Reading Project to recommend 20 books written by Indigenous authors that will ignite gratitude for the art of storytelling. These recommendations are sorted into four categories: picture books, early chapter books, middle grade, and teen/young adult.

These categories are merely meant to help readers select texts based on reading level, and not based on content. All of the books recommended here are important texts for all young people, families, and classrooms to read together.

You will find a mix of nations represented here, as well as content and identities. I hope that these books ignite gratitude for Indigenous storytellers and the abundant diversity of teachings that exist across Indigenous communities.

Picture Books
Just Like Grandma By Kim Rogers (Wichita)

Great for ages 3-8 with beautiful illustrations by Cree-Métis artist Julie Flett, this book honors the special relationship between a grandchild and grandmother.

Stand Like a Cedar By Nicola I. Campbell (Nłeʔkepmx, Syílx, Métis)

At the center of this story is a celebration of the relationship between a family and all of creation. Learn important teachings and words in Nłeʔkepmxcín and Halq’emeylem along the way. Recommended for ages 3-8.

The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson (Anishinaabe)

This is an important story for all ages, which celebrates a grandmother who is also a water protector. It is a story of the responsibility we all have to protect Mother Earth for future generations.

Little You by Richard Van Camp (Tłı̨chǫ Dene)

A story for newborns and very young ones to celebrate their life, this book is available in English, Bilingual Plains Cree/English, Spanish, French, and Anishinaabemowin.