Best Books

Are you looking for best books by or about American Indians? First Nations?

[Update on Nov 26, 2018: Some of the books in these lists may have religious or spiritual content that is problematic to the people whose ways are being used by writers. For context, see my post on November 15: Open Letter: "Trail of Lightning is an Appropriation of Diné Cultural Beliefs." Does the Letter from the Diné Writer's Collective Mark a Turning Point?]

Below are links to posts on American Indians in Children's Literature and elsewhere that'll help you find ones selected by Native people (me, and other Native people, including members of the American Indian Library Association! This page will be updated, so come back and visit again!

2020: American Indian Library Association's Youth Literature Award

2019: AICL's Best Books of 2019

2018: AICL's Best Books of 2018
2018: Graphic Novels by Native Writers

2017: AICL's Best Books of 2017
2016: AICL's Best Books of 2016
2015: AICL's Best Books of 2015
2014: AICL's Best Books of 2014

2013: Best Books for Elementary School
2013: Best Books for Middle School
2013: Best Books for High School

2011: Best Board Books

2010: Best Books for Elementary School
2010: Best Books for Middle School
2010: Best Books for High School

2007: Encyclopedic Resources for Research Projects


And did you know the American Indian Library Association has a book award? See what the book committee has selected for distinction: American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award


One of the leading lights in Native children's and young adult literature is Muscogee (Creek) writer, Cynthia Leitich Smith. She's a mentor and a writer--and she maintains many resources at her website. Take a look at her page on Native American Authors and Illustrators in Children's and Young Adult Books. 

Early in 2014, Betsy Bird of School Library Journal  published a list of "Top 100 Books by Indigenous Masters" that I helped compile. It is a mix of writers who write for children and adults:
Top Books by 100 Indigenous Masters


This page is AICL's gallery of Native writers and illustrators. These are the people that create the very best books!

2014: Gallery of Native Writers and Illustrators


And this page makes me smile. It is AICL's page at Pinterest.

American Indians in Children's Literature at Pinterest


Kimberly said...

This is a great resource, especially for us homeschool families! Thank you!

Oriee said...

As a homeschooling family we want to teach our daughter the truth about thanksgiving as well as the truth about history in general abd these are some great resources as well as a very informative article. Thank you so much

Emmilee Sinclair said...

This is such a great project! A section reviewing plays by/about American Indians would be so awesome!
As a theatre education student, I am constantly looking for plays that help students feel seen.

Alison R. said...

A really helpful guide! Please add a search bar so we can find specific books more easily.

Alison R. said...
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