When I was white, it wasn’t on purpose. It wasn’t intentional. It started because I was a square peg coveting circles. It started because I stuck out everywhere, even when I didn’t want the attention. Even when race and gender didn’t play a role, I just didn’t seem to belong anywhere.

I struggled to find connections and make real friends. I struggled to find people who cared about me and who liked the same things that I did. I went by Yvonne because it was less southern and seemed less stereotypically black than Anjeanette.

I loved old musicals and Audrey Hepburn. I wore faux pearls and French buns.

During tutoring last night, I asked my 3rd graders to compare the book we’re currently reading to one of their favorite chapter novels. They rattled off a list of texts I’ve never known, inspiring me to expand my pool of diverse writers and literature.

It’s a list I’ll keep adding to and revisiting again and again.

If you’re from a different continent or a different cultural tradition, I’d love to learn what books and authors resonate with you. What would you add?

60 Children’s Books Written by, for, or about Native Americans:

1. Malian’s Song by Marge Bruchac

2. Dreamcatcher by Audrey Osofsky

3. Crazy Horse’s Vision by Joseph Bruchac

4. Night of the Full Moon by Gloria Whelan

5. Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith

6. The Warriors by Joseph Bruchac

7. Eagle Song by Joseph Bruchac

8. Death of the Iron Horse by Paul Goble

9. Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Cornelia Cornelissen

10. Code-Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac

11. Little You by Richard Van Camp

12. My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

13. We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

14. We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers by Julie Flett

15. Zoe and the Fawn by Catherine Jameson

16. Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

17. When We Were Alone by David Robertson

18. Mama, Do You Love Me by Barbara M. Joossen

19. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

20. Hungry Johnny by Cheryl Kay Minnema

21. Powwow’s Coming by Linda Boyden

22. When the Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger

23. Sky Sisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose

24. Wild Berries by Julie Flett

25. Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island by Lee DeCora Francis

26. Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness to Light by Tim Tingle

27. Greet the Dawn: The Lakota Way by S. D. Nelson

28. Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story by Sebastian Robertson

29. Baby Learns About Colors by Beverly Blacksheep

30. The Path of the Quiet Elk: A Native American Alphabet by Virginia A. Stroud

31. Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story by S.D. Nelson

32. The Star People: A Lakota Story by S.D. Nelson

33. The Apple Tree by Sandy Tharp-Thee

34. The Blue Roses by Linda Boyden

35. Shi-Shi-Etko/ Shin-Chi’s Canoe by Nicola Campbell

36. When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan Fenton

37. Dragonfly Kites by Tomson Highway

38. Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan Fenton

39. Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle

40. Hawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson

41. In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall

42. Thanks to the Animals by Allen Sockabasin

43. The Good Luck Cat by Joy Harjo

44. Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell

45. No Time to Say Goodbye: Children’s Stories of Kuper Island Residential School by Sylvia Olsen, Rita Morris, and Ann Sam

46. The Journal of Jesse Smoke: A Cherokee Boy by Joseph Bruchac

47. My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling

48. As Long As the River Flows by Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden

49. Beaver Steals Fire: A Salish Coyote Story by The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

50. The Good Rainbow Road: A Native American Tale by Simon J. Ortiz

51. The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp

52. The Night Wanderer by Drew Hayden Taylor

53. Blue Horses Rush In: Poems & Stories by Luci Tapahonso

54. Men on the Moon: Collected Short Stories by Simon J. Ortiz

55. One Good Story, That One by Thomas King

56. Waterlily by Ella C. Deloria

57. Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today by Lori Marie Carlson (ed.)

58. Night Flying Woman: An Ojigway Narrative by Ignatia Broker

59. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

60. Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale (eds.)

If you liked this, then you might also like the following:

Who are your favorite authors? What other titles do you recommend? 

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