Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tribal Publishers

I came across the bookstore for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma yesterday and saw they've got several children's books, some of which have Choctaw language in them. I ordered two of their books: Choctaw Jack, and Pashofa Pole and look forward to reading them.

Does your tribe publish children's books? Or are you a self-published author? Either way, I'd love to see what Native people are doing with regard to publishing Native stories. Send me an email with that info.

Getting published by the publishing houses that have the money to promote your work in catalogs, book fairs, etc., is very difficult. Some Native authors, like Cynthia Leitich Smith, have experienced success, but it doesn't come easily. She works very hard on her own writing, but also in teaching and working with others. Her love of children's books is evident on her website. Spend time there, reading her web pages. If you're interested in writing, go to Writing Books for Children and Teenagers.

And, go to your local bookstore. Are her books on the shelf? If yes, buy them! If not, talk to the bookstore manager and order a copy. If we don't buy books by Native authors, they'll go out of print. Ordering and buying them signals that consumers want these books. There is a perception that only Native people want children's books by and about Native people. That perception means a very tiny market for the books, and that perception is WRONG. Good books are good books. All children should have them in their homes, schools, and libraries.

Cynthia's books:

If you're looking for a picture book, order Jingle Dancer.
If you're looking for a chapter book for early elementary readers, order Indian Shoes.
If you're looking for a novel for late elementary or middle school readers, order Rain is Not My Indian Name.

If you're looking for a collection of short stories for high school readers, order Moccasin Thunder, edited by Lori Marie Carlson, which has Cynthia's story "A Real-Live Blond Cherokee and his Equally Annoyed Soul Mate."

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