Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Indian" words: Teaching about Indians, Part II

In children's books (and TV, movies, etc.) there are many words that are used to denote Indian people, their artifacts. These words are used uncritically, generally accepted as appropriate or correct. I want to poke at that usage a bit, prompting readers to pause a moment to think about those words.

For starters, there are over 500 different American Indian tribes/nations recognized by the US Government at the present time. Add to that the tribes/nations recognized by a state government and all those not recognized by the federal or state government, let alone the numbers of tribes/nations that existed prior to 1492, and you've got a huge number. They did not speak a common language, religion, material culture, etc.

Nonetheless, in children's books, a baby is a papoose, a woman is a squaw, a man is a brave or chief, and when they die, they go to the happy hunting ground.

The reality? Each tribe has its own word for baby, woman, man. If you're reading a story set at Nambe Pueblo (that is where I am from), and the author uses a word for woman, that word should be the Tewa (language we speak) word: kwee.

Course, the English word grandma would be fine, too.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Finding Books by Tribal Name

A reader asked if there is a resource that lists recommended books by tribal nation. I don't know of such a list, though I certainly understand that it would be tremendously useful to teachers and libraries looking for books specific to their geographic location.

Most of the resources I know of are comprehensive. That is, they include reviews of books they recommend, and books they do not recommend. They may list books in an index by tribe, but they do NOT recommend all the books they review. This is the case in A Broken Flute (edited by Seale and Slapin), Through Indian Eyes (edited by Slapin and Seale) and American Indian Themes in Young Adult Literature (by Paulette F. Molin). The Critical Biography at the Smithsonian groups books by region. Here's the link: (

These are all resources you can consult, but please remember!!! Being included does NOT mean the book is one that is being recommended. Same goes for books I mention in my blog posts. If you see a book title, make sure you know what I'm saying about it. (For example, in an earlier post, I mentioned Brother Eagle Sister Sky, but I do NOT recommend that book.)

Of course, any book listed on my "Recommended" list is there because I think it is of value and should be in every school and public library.

A word about the books sold by Oyate ( They are very careful in selecting books they sell. That is why I list them as "best resource" for getting these books. AND, they have books that don't get attention from major review journals. Let me explain... Books published by the big publishers (Dial, Scholastic, Harper Collins) have BIG budgets. They send copies of their books to the major review journals. Small publishers can't afford to do that. In terms of Native-authored children's books, a good chunk of them are published by small publishers, and some are self-published. So, great Native lit is overlooked. It needs word-of-mouth attention. To grow this body of literature, all of YOU have to buy it, and you have to ask for more of it. You can do that by writing to publishers when they publish something you like (or when they publish something you don't like, too). A publisher's mailing address or website is usually printed inside the book.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Marcie Rendon's POWWOW SUMMER (1996)

Back in the mid 90s I was reviewing for children's lit review journals. I was sent LOTS of books to review. Most were pretty dismal, but there were some gems in there, and Marcie Rendon's book Pow Wow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life was one of those gems. Her book (called a "photo essay" because it uses photographs to tell a story) follows an Anishinaabe family through a summer.

Like Muskrat Will Be Swimming (see my blog on July 6, 2006) by Cheryl Savageau, it is just what we need to help kids know that American Indians didn't vanish or ride off into the sunset. Savageau's book is a work of fiction. Rendon's is non-fiction. Get both.

Rendon has a website. I'll note it here, and add it to my links to Native writers websites.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"Happy Hunting Ground"

In the landscape of words and phrases that are somehow associated with American Indians is "Happy Hunting Ground."

I spent a half hour or so, just now, trying to figure out where/when it entered common usage. So far, all I find suggests it dates back to the early 1800s, and that it is a paradise or heaven for American Indians....

Personally, I intensely dislike the phrase. Ann Rinaldi used it in at least one of her books, and I just ran across it in Lois Lenski's Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison, first published in 1941. On page 59, Lenski writes:
After a time their grief subsided and they rejoiced to remember that their brother had gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds above the sky.
I'll spend more time digging on that phrase... Who said it first? Was it an American Indian? What tribe? Why? Skeptic that I am, I'll bet it was a non-Native person... A writer perhaps, or maybe a hobbyist! The hobbyists were (and are) pretty prolific at coming up with "Indian lore."

Update at 8:40 PM: Amazon has a nifty option, that allows you to search the text of a book. On a hunch, I searched James Fenimore Cooper's books and found he used "Happy Hunting Ground" in Pioneers, on page 760. That book came out in 1823. (Last of the Mohicans came out in 1826.) Any librarians reading the blog? If you can find an earlier reference, that'd be terrific!

A reader asked about CADDIE WOODLAWN....

When my daughter was in 3rd grade (eight years ago), one evening while doing reading homework, she said "Mom, I don't get it." She's a smart kid, so when she told me she didn't get it, I knew something was up. I asked her what she was doing. She held up Caddie Woodlawn. I knew right away what was coming. I was well into my graduate work by then, which centered on representation of Native Americans in children's books. Given UIUC's mascot ("Chief Illiniwek), Liz and I had (by then) many conversations about racism and representation and stereotyping.

By then, I had met and collaborated with Beverly Slapin at Oyate on some work. One evening, I talked with her about Liz and Caddie Woodlawn. The upshot of that conversation was that Liz dictated an essay to Beverly. The essay is called "Liz's Story" and it is in A Broken Flute, available from Oyate Here's part of what Liz said, back then, as an 8 year old:
And so we were reading it and when we got to the second chapter, it said, I'm not sure exactly what it said, that the Native Americans were sneaking around like dogs, and they picked up Caddie Woodlawn by her hair, and they were acting like dogs sniffing a bone. In another part it said that the Native Americans were massacring, murdering, and scalping the pioneers and made belts out of their hair and skin. They made the pioneers seem like angels and the Native Americans like inhuman monsters. I felt hurt inside, my eyes were watering, and I felt like I wanted to cry. But then I thought, there's something I can do about this.
In the remainder of her essay, she goes on to talk about how, the next day, she went to her teacher and the group to tell them how she felt about the book, that she wanted them to drop it. Due to the careful work of the teacher prior to this (social justice), the group had great empathy and agreed to choose a different book. Liz's best friend at the time was also in the group. She said she didn't want them to pick a book that made white people look bad.

In the end, I bought 10 copies of Erdrich's Birchbark House and that is what they read.

This episode brought out a lot. The teacher chose this book because they were studying historical fiction, and she wanted them to read something located in or near the Midwest. She was using best practice in that regard. And, it was convenient because there were multiple copies of the book available at the school. She thought it would give the students the opportunity to deconstruct a flawed book, applying their critical thinking skills to issues of representation, etc.

Liz and I talked more about that episode. She said that when they (they were taking turns reading aloud) came to the phrase "Indian John," the boy who was reading at the time stopped and asked for a conversation about that name, suggesting they should change it (drop the "Indian). They talked about it, doing a fine job of applying critical skills. There were 5 kids in the group. In round robin style, each spoke about what they thought of the suggestion to drop "Indian." Child one said drop it. Child two said drop it. Child three said drop it. Child four was Liz's best friend, and she said she thought they should leave it as the author intended. Liz was next. Think of her dilemma. Follow her heart and vote to drop it, thereby leaving her best friend all alone in her vote? Remember---these are smart kids, but they're only eight years old. Liz voted with her friend, but they lost the vote anyway, and from that page on, the group did did not read aloud "Indian" when they came to that character's name.

I encourage everyone to get A Broken Flute. There are many essays in it, but also hundreds of reviews of books with American Indian content. A Broken Flute and Through Indian Eyes, both available from Oyate, are the very best resources out there to help teachers and librarians gain understanding and knowledge necessary to help them do a better job of teaching about American Indians.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

All-Time Best Selling Paperbacks

In December of 2001, Publisher's Weekly published a list of all-time best selling paperbacks. The list, compiled by Debbie Turvey, lists 376 books that had (by 2000) sold over a million copies. The list was created based on information provided by publishers, and represents actual sales (domestic sales only; does not include book clubs and international sales).

On one hand, it is great that there are a lot of children's books that have sold over one million copies. On the other hand, a close look at those books---with American Indians in mind---is troublesome.

Here, I list some books from that list that I have studied over the years that include problematic representations of American Indians, in text or illustration. None of the books on my recommended list are on the all-time best selling list, and, to the best of my knowledge, none of the books on the list are by American Indians. (Note: Hal Borland's When the Legends Die is on the list, but as noted in an earlier post, I haven't read it. )

#10 The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks.
Copies sold: 6,394,587

#12 Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Copies sold: 6,172,525

#95 The Return of the Indian, by Lynne Reid Banks.
Copies sold: 2,357,061

#101 The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare.
Copies sold: 2,259,190

#128 The Secret of the Indian, by Lynn Reid Banks.
Copies sold: 2,059,126

#140 The Berenstain Bears go to Camp, by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
(Grizzly Bob tells stories around a fire, dressed in stereotypical buckskin and feathers.)
Copies sold: 1,945,447

# 245 Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink.
Copies sold: 1,442,225

#273 The Mystery of the Cupboard, by Lynn Reid Banks.
Copies sold: 1,369,456

A chilling thought: 23,999,617 readers (children, presumably) have read about savage, primitive, heroic, stealthy, lazy, tragic, chiefs, braves, squaws, and papooses.

If you'd like to see the list, go to

Thursday, July 06, 2006


One area of my research is the analysis of American Indian folktales that are marketed as picture books for children. I submitted an article on that topic to Language Arts (a journal for elementary school teachers). It will come out in their January 2007 issue.

The article title is "Proceed with Caution: Using Native American Folktales in the Classroom." It features in-depth analysis of two picture book folktales: Turkey Girl by Penny Pollock and Dragonfly's Tale by Kristina Rodanas.

In the multicultural fervor, we seem to think that folktales are the best way to go. It might be, if the folktales were accurate in their presentation of Native cultures, but as I demonstrate in the article, it isn't easily done and the final products can be deeply flawed.

I strongly urge teachers and librarians and parents to get books that are about modern day Native people. Those that incorporate elements of traditional culture can do a lot to help children know that Native people are still here---that we didn't vanish.

An excellent example is Cheryl Savageau's book Muskrat Will Be Swimming. It is about Jeannie, a modern day Native girl whose family lives by a lake in what is called a "shanty town" and how she feels about being called a "Lake Rat" by kids in her school who live in "big white houses uptown." One evening when she is feeling especially blue about being called a Lake Rat, her grandfather tells her the traditional Haudenonsaunee creation story about Skywoman. In the story, Muskrat (a lake rat) brings earth up from the bottom of the lake to put on Turtle's back so the Woman who fell from the sky would have a place to stand. This moment with her grandfather strengthens Jeannie.

Read more about Muskrat Will Be Swimming at this site: Today (July 6, 2006) it is featured in the top left corner of their website.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Teaching about Indians, Part I

I often get private emails from teachers asking about best practice in terms of teaching about American Indians.

Over a series of blog posts, I'll answer some of the more common questions.

Question: Is it ok to dress up in Indian costumes and dance to teach about Indians?

Answer: No. Let's break the question down a bit and look at its parts:

"Costume." The clothing that we wear when we dance is not a costume. It is traditional clothing that isn't worn everyday.

"Dance." We dance---not as performance or entertainment---but as a form of worship. It is best to think of Native dance as prayer in motion. There are exceptions to this, of course. There are social dances, too, and there are performances of Native dance, but even with them, there is a lot of significance that distinguishes them from things like hip-hop or square dancing.

"Dressing up (like Indians)." We don't "dress up" for our dances. We get dressed. I put on my traditional clothes to take part in a traditional dance.

" Indians." As a society, we've been dressing up like Indians for such a long time (birthday parties, scouting, Halloween) that we rarely (if ever) pause to think about that activity. If you consider dressing up like a different group, perhaps you can see why this is not a good idea. Would it be appropriate to dress up like Japanese? Africans? Latinos? And do a dance that you think is Japanese, or African, or Latino?

Monday, July 03, 2006


In my "links" I include links to Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog and her website. She's got some terrific books (Jingle Dancer, Rain is Not My Indian Name, Indian Shoes).

Today I want to point readers to Joy Harjo's blog.

Harjo is an accomplished writer, singer, and musician. Though her work is primarily for an adult audience (and in some cases young adults), she does have a wonderful children's picture book out.

Take a look at The Good Luck Cat. Published in 2000, it is about a cat named Woogie who brings good luck to its family. The story is about the cat---not about the Native family it lives with. In a beautiful and subtle way, this book tells readers that American Indians live in today's modern society, that our lives and homes are not exotic. We're just people.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

In "comments" to my previous post, Opal noted that American Indians get short shrift in history classes, in part due to state standards that too often overlook this important part of America's history.

For any history teachers reading the blog, here are a couple of resources you can use to locate reliable information about American Indian history and culture.

The People: A History of Native America, by R. David Edmunds, Frederick E. Hoxie, and Neal Salisbury. This is a brand new textbook that can be used in high school or college classrooms. It is published by Houghton Mifflin.

Second are two encyclopedias:
Encyclopedia of North American Indians (1996), edited by Frederick E. Hoxie, and Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia (1996), edited by Mary B. Davis. Both editors relied heavily (and wisely) on American Indian scholars to serve as advisors, and to write entries, too.
Note on page design: When I started this blog, I used white text on black background because web-design books said that is easier on the eyes. But, I've decided I like the crisp feeling of white background, so I'm making some changes to the template. I may goof things up as I do this, so please bear with me!

Two readers have written to ask about two different books, wondering if I've read them, or know of any critical reviews of them. The two are Indian Captive by Lois Lensky, and When the Legends Die, by Hal Borland.

It is likely that I read both as a kid, but don't have a clear memory of either one. I do have a copy of Indian Captive, but haven't read it yet. Neither book is reviewed in A Broken Flute, but they may be in Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children . My copy is at my campus office, and I'm working from home right now. Perhaps a reader who has a copy handy can use the "comments" option and tell us if either book is reviewed in Through Indian Eyes.

There are a couple of other on-line resources with reviews of children's books about American Indians. Here's links to them:

Native American Books

"A Critical Bibliography on North American Indians for K-12," on the Smithsonian website. It is pretty extensive, and is arranged by geographical area.
Exciting news! The Before Columbus Foundation has selected A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children to receive a 2006 American Book Award. Go here for details about the book:

A Broken Flute includes a short essay written by my daughter when she was in the 3rd grade. It recounts her experience when her reading group started to read Caddie Woodlawn.

Some people feel the book is too expensive ($50), but I don't think you can find the depth and breadth and expertise it contains anywhere else. To get what it contains elsewhere, you'd have to spend hours and hours looking for articles, reviews, chapters. In that sense, this is a huge bargain. It has hundreds of reviews of books about American Indians---reviews written by people with knowledge and expertise about American Indians, much of it based on lived experience.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Full Text Article: Examining Multicultural Picture Books for the Early Childhood Classroom

One of the best articles I worked on is "Examining Multicultural Picture Books for the Early Childhood Classroom: Possibilities and Pitfalls." It was published by Early Childhood Research and Practice, an on-line journal that publishes its articles in English and Spanish. As the journal title suggests, the articles in the journal are about working with young children. Our article has been republished in several edited volumes about early childhood education.

The article is by my dear friend, Jean Mendoza, and myself. The first portion of the article provides background info on children's literature and education of young children. Later in the article, we discuss some popular books and authors, including:

Brother Eagle Sister Sky, by Susan Jeffers

Arrow to the Sun, by Gerald McDermott

Knots on a Counting Rope, by Bill Martin and John Archambault

A Day's Work, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ronald Himler

A Gift from Papa Diego, by Benjamin Alire Saenz, illustrated by Geronimo Garcia

Jingle Dancer, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu.

It is a meaty article, packed with good information for anyone interested in children's books and education.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In March of this year, I submitted an article for publication, in which I said that most books about American Indians are set in the past, not present. The reviewer questioned my statement, suggesting that there has been a lot of change in recent decades, and that my statement was outdated.

To see if my perception was accurate, I went to the Children's Literature Comprehensive Database, which includes over 1,200,000 records and over 220,000 reviews from 34 different sources such as KIRKUS, HORN BOOK GUIDE, and Booklist. I searched the database, using the terms "American Indians" and "Native Americans" and I limited the search to works of fiction published in 2000. My search returned 42 titles; seven are set in the present day; the remaining 36 are historical fiction.

I don't know what the data looks like for fiction overall. Generally speaking, are more works of historical fiction published than works of realistic or modern fiction? Is it at this same ratio (7:36)? What about works of fiction about other US minorities? If I did the search using African Americans as my search term, what would I find?

If readers of the blog know of articles that include these statistics, please let us know.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Hurray! I figured out how to add links to my page, in the space beneath my profile.

I finished the Duncan book Season of the Two Heart and didn't like it any better than when I posted about it earlier this week. Lots of problems in language, bias, tone.

The book is no longer in print, but my search of WorldCat at UIUC indicates that 189 libraries in Illinois own the book. Curious, I called a few of them to see when the book last circulated. At the Cissna Park library (I apologize for not providing more info about where (in Illinois) these libraries are located), their copy went out once since they added it in 1992. The head librarian said it would likely be weeded out. At the Crestwood Library, the book went out once, in 2000. At the Harvey library, it went out 7 times in 2004. And at our local public library (Urbana Free Library), it last went out in July of 2003.

So, people are still reading it. I wonder what they think about its negative representations of American Indians... Are the perceptions they have before reading it affirmed? Or are they jolted by the book?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A reader, Diana, wrote to say she working on a paper and finds the material on the blog useful. I wanted to post links to some of my on-line writing about American Indians in children's books, but can't figure out how to do it. I'll get it figured out eventually, but in the meantime, here's some of the articles:

“Teaching Young Children about Native Americans,” by Debbie Reese, ERIC Digest, EDO-PS-96-3, May 1996.

“Fiction Posing as Truth: A Critical Review of Ann Rinaldi’s My Heart is on the Ground: The diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl, by Marlene Atleo, Naomi Caldwell, Barbara Landis, Jean Mendoza, Deborah Miranda, Debbie Reese, LaVera Rose, Beverly Slapin, and Cynthia Smith, in Rethinking Schools Online, Volume 13, No. 4, Summer 1999.

“Authenticity and Sensitivity: Goals for writing and reviewing books with Native American themes,” by Debbie Reese, in School Library Journal.Com, 12-2-1999.

“Examining Multicultural Picture Books for the Early Childhood Classroom:
Possibilities and Pitfalls,” by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese, in Early Childhoood Research and Practice, Fall 2001, Volume 3, Number 2.

“Native Americans Today,” by Debbie Reese, at ReadWriteThink, on-line lesson plans sponsored by International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English.


News first: Sherman Alexie is working on a young adult novel. It will be published (scheduled for release in 2007) by Little Brown, and is titled The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. if you are unfamiliar with his work, take a look at his website:

I'm reading an old book by Lois Duncan, titled Season of the Two-Heart, published in 1964 by Dodd, Mead. I ordered it from a used book seller because it is about a Pueblo Indian girl who leaves her reservation to spend her senior year in Albuquerque to attend public school. She lives there with a white family. In return for room and board, she will take care of the two younger children (boys) and other chores (housekeeping and maybe some cooking).

There's some pretty outrageous passages. Duncan was trying to write a story about a girl in conflict who wants to leave her home for the white world. To do that, Duncan had to make Pueblo life unattractive and unappealing, and for readers, she had to create sympathy and support for the girl's decision. Here's one example:
"The nurse gave me some medicine," Natachu had said, "in a bottle. She says I am to put it on my head and on the heads of the babies. She says it will keep the little bugs from biting us."
And here's more in that thread:
"Medicine on your head!" Grandmother had been nearly beside herself with indignation. "First water and now medicine! Perhaps she would like you to cut off your head entirely! Medicine, indeed!"

"I've been using it for a couple of days now," Natachu had continued determinedly. "It works. My head hardly itches at all."

"Heads are supposed to itch," Grandmother had insisted. "It is the Great Spirit Himself who puts the little bugs there. If He did not wish us to have them. He would take them away Himself."

In the pages leading to this, the grandma (who is developed as a mean-spirited person who rules the family with an iron fist) objects to the indoor plumbing that was recently installed. She tells the family they are wasting water they'll need for drinking, and they should not use it on their faces and hands. Natachu has been washing her hair, and her grandmother says:
"See her hair; it is thinning already! All that water is washing the roots from her head."
I'm currently reading on page 37. The Boynton's (the family who takes her in) have a senior daughter named Laurie who resents having Natachu around. Laurie's character is developed as a popular, outgoing teenager who has all the latest clothes.

Duncan wrote this book 42 years ago. I wonder---do authors (like Duncan) go back and shudder when they read some of what they wrote? She, like any of us, is a product of our society. We are all socialized to think in certain ways about certain people, and whether we are aware of that socialization or not, it makes its way into what we say and do, often without our realizing it. Dirty Indians. That's what we have in Season of the Two-Heart.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Third post to the blog... I hope to post on a weekly basis, with news re children's books about American Indians, but also response(s) to emails I get from readers.

Larry Whitler posted the title of a book he wrote, called Oreo and Braun: XOB, The Full Circle Quest
and noted that some of the story is about a Native American man and his son and prejudice they experienced in 1886.

Larry---what tribe is the man? My blog is called "American Indians in Children's Literature." I use the global term "American Indians" because my discussions are on that topic, broadly speaking. However, I try to be specific when I discuss Native people or characters, if I have access to that information. For example, I do not say I am American Indian. Instead, I specifically say I am from Nambe Pueblo. This is important practice, as it gets across the idea that there are over 500 federally-recognized tribes in the United States. This specificity serves to counter the monolithic image of THE American Indian.

Also of interest regarding Larry's book... I don't know the book, but went over the the Amazon site to see what I could learn about it there. NOWHERE does it say that there is Native American content. Why is that? I pose that as a question to readers... Why do we, as a society, not see American Indians? Why are we (American Indians) glossed over, or viewed simply as part of the landscape, oftentimes not worth mentioning?

Even in Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, a lot of people omit reference to American Indians when they talk about that book. Why? In that book, in particular, there is a great deal of content about American Indians, specifically the Osage people. Look over the internet lesson plans. How many of those lesson plans have any mention of American Indians?

A bit of exciting news...

The Northern Arizona Book Festival has established the Michael Lacapa Spirit Prize. It will be awarded to an exceptional children's book, set in the southwest, published within the last two years. When a website with info is up, I'll post the link here.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I started this blog in May. This is my second post.

A reader asked (in comments to first post) if I know the work of Ani Rucki. I don't know Rucki's work.

It is the case that there's a boatload of children's books about American Indians out there. Kate Shanley, an enrolled Assiniboine woman from the Fort Peck reservation and professor of Native American Studies at the University of Montana-Missoula, has a terrific article in which she talks about "the Indians America loves to love." That love drives a lot of people to write what they think are stories about American Indians. Their stories, however, are based on pop culture and romantic/savage ideas about who we are. (Note: Shanley's article is called "The Indians America Loves to Love and Read," in AMERICAN INDIAN QUARTERLY, 1997, p. 675-702.)

I don't know anything about Rucki, but my experience has taught me that, chances are, any given children's book about American Indians has major flaws.

I've been studying and writing about children's books about American Indians since 1994 when I began work on my PhD. Prior to that, I taught elementary and middle school in New Mexico and Oklahoma. I am tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo, in northern New Mexico. I was raised there, and return home for the usual (weddings/funerals), but also for religious and spiritual gatherings.

As a schoolteacher, I taught my students about bias and stereotypes, about how books can be wrong. In graduate school, I honed my research and critical analysis skills. I've learned a great deal from others. Some key books include:



Kathleen Horning's COVER TO COVER

Betsy Hearne's two articles CITE THE SOURCE and RESPECT THE SOURCE

Below are some of the questions I have in my head whenever I sit down to analyze a Native story that is called a folktale. I invite conversation/discussion with readers of the blog about the questions.

When I consider a folktale, some things I look for are:

1) Is the person listed as the author listed as a "reteller"? That is, on the cover and/or on the title page, is the book "By Ani Rucki" or "Retold by Ani Rucki."

2) In the author's note, or in a source note, does Rucki say where she heard the story, or what source she found it in?

3) If Rucki provides info about her source, does she provide enough detail so that I could find the source if I wanted to?

4) In the author's note, does Rucki tell the reader the ways in which she changed/edited the story and why?

5) In a couple of reviews, there is mention that this is a Navajo folktale. How is that information provided in the book? Is it implied in the story itself or stated on the cover or title page?

I hope readers of the blog are interested in conversation about the questions I've listed above. My first post was a list of books, but my goal is for others to learn how to critically evaluate children's books about American Indians. With such skills, you own that knowledge and can carry and apply it with you wherever you go.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Recommended Children's/YA/Reference/Resource Books

Items selected in the early 2000s by Debbie Reese, Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Jean Mendoza, Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education, Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois (Last Update: Sep 2017. Our views have shifted since the list was created. See recent Best Books.

Note: There are three sections here. Scroll down to find each one.  
Section 1: A Sampling of Recommended Children's and Young Adult Books about American Indians
Section 2: Books and Articles about American Indians in Children's Literature
Section 3: Books about American Indian Culture
    Section 1: A Sampling of Recommended Children's and Young Adult Books about American Indians 

    PIC – Picture book; RF – Realistic Fiction; HF – Historical Fiction; NF – Nonfiction; P – Poetry; TL – Traditional Literature; B – Biography; AB – Autobiography; E – Elem.; M – Middle School; YA – Young Adult

    Alexie, Sherman. (1994) Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven. New York: Harperperennial. (RF - YA)

    Alexie, Sherman (2007) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. NY: Little Brown. (RF-YA)

    Allen, Paula Gunn. (2001) As Long As the Rivers Flow: The Stories of Nine Native Americans. New York: Scholastic (B – E/M)

    Ancona, George. (1993) Powwow. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Ancona, George. (1995). Earth Daughter: Alicia of Acoma Pueblo. Macmillan. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Andrews, Jan. (1998). Very Last First Time. Aladdin (PIC/RF – All ages).

    Archuleta, Margaret L., Brenda J. Child, and K. Tsianina Lomawaima. (2000) Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences. Phoenix: The Heard Museum. (NF – YA)

    Begay, Shonto (1995) Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa. New York: Scholastic (P – All ages)

    Blacksheep, Beverly [illustrator] (2003). Baby Learns About Animals. Flagstaff, AZ : Salina Bookshelf (PIC/Board book for toddlers)

    Blacksheep, Beverly [illustrator] (2003). Baby’s First Laugh Flagstaff, AZ : Salina Bookshelf (PIC/Board book for toddlers)

    Blacksheep, Beverly [illustrator] (2003). Baby Learns to Count, Flagstaff, AZ : Salina Bookshelf (PIC/Board book for toddlers)

    Blacksheep, Beverly [illustrator] (2003). Baby Learns about Colors, Flagstaff, AZ: Salina Bookshelf (PIC/Board book for toddlers)

    Braine, Susan. (1995). Drumbeat…Heartbeat: A Celebration of the Powwow. Lerner Pub. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Broker, Ignatia. (1983) Night Flying Woman. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society. (HF - YA)

    Bruchac, Joseph (2004) Hidden Roots, New York: Scholastic. (RF – M)

    Bruchac, Joseph. (1993). Fox Song. Philomel Books (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Bruchac, Joseph. (1995). The Story of the Milky Way. Dial Books for Young Readers (PIC/TL – All ages).

    Bruchac, Joseph. (1996). Eagle Song. Dial (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Bruchac, Joseph. (1998) Arrow Over the Door. New York: Dial. (HF - E/M)

    Bruchac, Joseph. (1997) Bowman’s Store. New York: Dial. (Autobiography - M/YA)

    Bruchac, Joseph. (1996) Children of the Longhouse. New York: Dial. (HF - E/M)

    Bruchac, Joseph. (1998). Heart of a Chief. Dial (RF - M).

    Bruchac, Joseph. (2001) Skeleton Man. HarperCollins. (RF – M/YA)

    Campbell, Maria. (1973) Halfbreed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press (RF - M/YA)

    Campbell, Nicola. (2006) Shi-shi-etko, NY: Groundwood. (PIC – All Ages)

    Carlson, Lori Marie [ed.] (2005). Moccasin Thunder. NY: Harper Collins. (RF - YA) Short stories by Harjo, Hogan, Alexie, Smith.

    Champagne, Duane. (1994) Chronology of Native North American History. Detroit: Gale Research (NF – All ages)

    Champagne, Duane. (1994) Native America: Portrait of the Peoples. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. (NF – All ages)

    Child, Brenda. (2000). Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940. Bison Books Corporation. (NF – All ages)

    Children of LaLoche & Friends. (1990). Byron through the Seasons. Fifth House Ltd. (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, (2005), Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press. (PIC/TL – All ages)

    Crum, Robert. (1994). Eagle Drum: On the Powwow Trail with a Young Grass Dancer. Simon & Schuster. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    De Montano, Marty Kreipe (1998) Coyote in Love with a Star. New York: Abbeville Press. (PIC/TL – All ages)

    Deloria, Ella. (1988) Waterlily. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. (HF - M/YA).

    Deloria, Vine. (1969). Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. New York: MacMillan. (NF – M/YA)

    Dorris, Michael. (1994) Guests. New York: Scholastic (HF - E/M)

    Dorris, Michael (1992) Morning Girl. New York: Scholastic (HF - E/M).

    Dorris, Michael. (1996). Sees Behind Trees. New York: Scholastic (HF - E/M)

    Dorris, Michael. (1998). The Window. Hyperion (RF – M/YA).

    Earling, Debra Magpie. (2002). Perma Red. Blue Hen Books. (RF-YA).

    Eastman, Charles. (1977) From the Deep Woods to Civilization. University of Nebraska Press. (AB – M/YA)

    Eastman, Charles (1993) Indian Boyhood. Alexander, VA: Time Life Books. (AB - M/YA)

    Ellis, Clyde. (1996). To Change Them Forever: Indian Education at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School, 1893-1920. University of Oklahoma Press. (NF – M/YA)

    Erdrich, Louise. (1999). Grandmother's Pigeon. Hyperion (PIC/RF - E).

    Erdrich, Louise. (1999). Birchbark House. New York: Hyperion. (HF - E/M)

    Erdrich, Louise. (2005) Game of Silence. New York: HarperCollins (HF – E/M)

    Eyvindson, Peter. (1984). Kyle’s Bath. Pemmican Publications (PIC/RF - E).

    Eyvindson, Peter. (1988). Chester Bear, Where Are You? Pemmican Publications (PIC/RF - E).

    Gravelle, Karen. (1997). Growing Up Where the Partridge Drums Its Wings. Franklin Watts. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Francis, Lee. (1996). Native Time: A Historical Time Line of Native America. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. (NF – All ages)

    Geiogamah, Hanay & Darby, Jaye T., (1999). Stories of Our Way: An Anthology of American Indian Plays. Los Angeles: UCLA American Indian Studies Center. (Anthology – YA).

    Grace, Catherine O’Neill and Bruchac, Margaret. (2001). National Geographic Society. (NF – All ages)

    Hale, Janet Campbell. (1993). Bloodlines. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. (RF - YA).

    Hale, Janet Campbell. (1998). The Owl’s Song. University of New Mexico Press (RF - YA).

    Harjo, Joy. (1996) Woman Who Fell From the Sky. W. W. Norton & Company (P – YA)

    Harjo, Joy. (2000). The Good Luck Cat. (PIC/RF - E/M)

    Himango, Deanna. (2002). Boozhoo, Come Play With Us. Cloquet, MN: Fond du Lac Head Start Program (available from (NF/PIC - Board book for babies and toddlers)

    Howe, LeAnne. (2001). Shell Shaker. Aunt Lute Books. (Fiction – YA)

    Howe, LeAnne. (2005). Evidence of Red: Prose and Poems. Salt Publishing. (Poetry – YA)

    Hubbard, Jim. (1994) Shooting Back from the Reservation. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Hucko, Bruce. (1996) A Rainbow At Night: The World in Words and Pictures. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. (NF – All ages)

    Hucko, Bruce. (1996). Where There Is No Name for Art: The Art of Tewa Pueblo Children.Santa Fe, N.M.: School of American Research: Distributed by the University of Washington Press. (NF – All ages)

    Hungry Wolf, Beverly. (1980). The Ways of My Grandmothers. New York: Quill. (RF - YA)

    Hunter, Sally, M. (1997) Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition. Photographs by Joe Allen. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Hunter, Sara Hoagland. (1996). The Unbreakable Code. Northland (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Hyer, Sally. (1990). One House, One Voice, One Heart: Native American Education at the Santa Fe Indian School. Museum of New Mexico Press. (NF – All ages)

    Jaakola, Lyz. (2001). Our Journey. Cloquet, MN: Fond du Lac Head Start Program. (RF/PIC - Board book for babies and toddlers)

    Johnson, Diane Hamm. (1997). Daughter of Suqua. Albert Whitman & Co. (RF – E/M).

    Keeshig-Tobias, Lenore. (1991). Bird Talk. Sister Vision (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Keeshig-Tobias, Lenore. (1997). Emma and the Trees. Sister Vision (PIC/RF – E/M).

    King, Sandra. Shannon: An Ojibway Dancer. (1993). Photographs by Catherine Whipple. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    King, Thomas. (1993 ) One Good Story That One. Toronto: HarperPerennial. (RF – YA)

    King, Thomas. (1991) Medicine River. NY: Penguin. (RF – YA)

    King, Thomas. (1992) A Coyote Columbus Story. Toronto: Douglas McIntyre Ltd. (PIC/TL – M/YA)

    King, Thomas. (2000) Truth and Bright Water. Atlantic Monthly Press. (RF – YA)

    King, Thomas. (2003). The Truth about Stories. Minneapolis: U of Minn Press. (NF – YA)

    Krull, Kathleen. (1995). One Nation, Many Tribes: How Kids Live in Milwaukee’s Indian Community. Lodestar. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Kusugak, Michael. (1993). Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails. Annick Press Ltd. (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Kusugak, Michael. (1996). My Arctic 1, 2, 3. Annick Press Ltd. (PIC/RF - E).

    Lacapa, Michael. (1993). Antelope Woman, An Apache Folktale. (PIC/TL – E/M)

    Lacapa, Kathleen & Michael. (1994). Less Than Half, More Than Whole. Northland (PIC/RF – E/M).

    LaFlesche, Francis. (1963)The Middle Five: Indian Schoolboys of the Omaha Tribe. Lincoln: U of Neb. Press. (NF - M/YA)

    Littlechild, George. (1993) This Land is My Land. Children’s Book Press. (PIC/RF – All ages)

    Lomawaima, K. Tsianina (1994). They Called It Prairie Light. University of Nebraska Press (NF – M/YA).

    Maher, Ramona. (2003). Alice Yazzie’s Year. Berkeley: Tricycle Press. (PIC/RF – E/MA).

    Marra, Ben. (1996) Powwow: Images Along the Red Road. Photographs by Ben Marra. New York: Abrams. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    McDonald, Megan. (1997). Tundra Mouse. Orchard Books (PIC/RF – E/M).

    McMillan, Bruce. (1997). Fort Chipewyan Homecoming: A Journey to Native Canada. Lerner Pub. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    McNickle, D’Arcy. (1978). Wind from an Enemy Sky. HarperCollins. (RF - YA).

    McNickle, D’Arcy. (1978). The Surrounded. University of New Mexico Press. (RF - YA).

    McNickle, D’Arcy. (1987). Runner in the Sun. University of New Mexico Press. (HF – M/YA).

    Mendoza, Durango (1994) “Summer Water and Shirley” in Judith A. Stanford, Ed. Connections: Reading and Writing in Cultural Contexts., Third Edition. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing, pp. 184-191. (Anthology – YA)

    Messinger, Carla (2007) When the Shadbush Blooms. (PIC/E-M)

    Momaday, N. Scott (1974) An Angle of Geese and Other Poems. Boston: Godine (P – YA)

    Momaday, N. Scott (1999) Circle of Wonder. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. (PIC/RF – E/M)

    Montour, Joel. (1996). Cloudwalker: Contemporary Native American Stories. Fulcrum (RF - M).

    Moore, MariJo. (2000). The Cherokee Little People. Barrington, IL: Rigby. (PIC/TL – E/M).

    Moore, Marijo. (2000). The Ice Man. Barrington, IL: Rigby. (PIC/TL – E/M).

    Moore, MariJo. (2000). First Fire. Barrington, IL: Rigby. (PIC/TL – E/M).

    Munsch, Robert. (1989). A Promise Is a Promise. Annick Press Ltd. (PIC/RF – E/M).

    National Museum of the American Indian (2007) Do All Indians Live in Tipis? (NF/EL-YA)

    Okanagan Tribal Council (1999) How Food Was Given, How Names Were Given, and How Turtle Set the Animals Free. Okanagan Tribal Council. (TL – All Ages)

    Orie, Sandra DeCoteau. (1995) Did You Hear Wind Sing Your Name? An Oneida Song of Spring. NY: Walker & Co. (PIC/P – all ages)

    Ortiz, Simon. (1988). The People Shall Continue. Children’s Book Press. (PIC/P - all ages)

    Parker, Dorothy R. (1996). Phoenix Indian School: The Second Half Century. University of Arizona Press. (NF – YA)

    Peters, Russell. (1992) Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition. Photographs by John Madama. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co., 1992. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Quoyawayma, Polingaysi. (1964). No Turning Back. A Hopi Indian Woman’s Struggle to Live in Two Worlds. University of New Mexico Press (AB – M/YA).

    Red Shirt, Delphine (1998). Bead on an Anthill: A Lakota Childhood Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press. (NF – YA)

    Regguinti, Gordon. (1992) The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering. Photographs by Dale Kakkak. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co., (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Rendon, Marcie. (1996) Powwow Summer: A Family Celebrates the Circle of Life. Photographs by Cheryl Walsh Bellville. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Rockwood, Joyce. (1976) To Spoil the Sun. New York: Henry Holt (HF - M/YA) [Eds. note on Sep 11, 2017: I need to revisit this book. Views on books like this have shifted since the list was initially created. For the present time, I do not recommend it.]

    Roessel, Monty. (1993) Kinaaldá: A Navajo Girl Grows Up. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Roessel, Monty. (1995) Songs from the Loom: A Navajo Girl Learns to Weave. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co. (Photo essay/NF – All ages).

    Roessel, Ruth. (1973). Navajo Stories of the Long Walk Period. Tsaile, AZ: Navajo Community College Press. (NF – YA)

    Rose, LaVera. (1999) Grandchildren of the Lakota. Photographs by Cheryl Walsh Bellville. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Ross, Gayle (1995) How Turtle’s Back Was Cracked: A Traditional Cherokee Tale. New York: Dial (PIC/TL – E/M)

    Ross, Gayle (1996) The Legend of the Windigo. New York: Dial (PIC/TL – E/M)

    Ruoff, A. Lavonne Brown. (1991) Literatures of the American Indian. New York: Chelsea House (NF – All ages)

    Sanderson, Esther. (1990). Two Pairs of Shoes. Pemmican Publications (PIC/RF - E).

    Savageau, Cheryl. (1996). Muskrat Will Be Swimming. Northland (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Scott, Ann Herbert. (1992). On Mother’s Lap. Clarion (PIC/RF - E).

    Sekaquaptewa, Eugene. (1994). Coyote and the Winnowing Birds. Clear Light (PIC/TL – All ages).

    Skolnick, Sharon. (1997) Where Courage is Like a Wild Horse. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. (RF - YA)

    Smith, Cynthia. (2000). Jingle Dancer. Morrow Junior (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Smith, Cynthia (1999). Rain is Not My Indian Name. New York: HarperCollins (RF - E/M)

    Smith, Cynthia (2002). Indian Shoes. New York: HarperCollins (RF-E/M)

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk (1995). Completing the Circle. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press (Autobiography – YA)

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk.(1993). The Chichi Hoohoo Bogeyman. University of Nebraska Press (RF – E/M).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk (1993) The Sioux: A First Americans Book. Holiday House. (NF – All ages).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk. (1993). When Thunders Spoke. University of Nebraska Press (F - E/M).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk, (1994). The Nez Perce: A First Americans Book. Holiday House. (NF – All ages).

    Sneve, Viriginia Driving Hawk (1994). The Seminoles: A First Americans Book. Holiday House. (NF – All ages).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk. (1995). High Elk’s Treasure. Holiday House (RF – E/M).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk, (1995) The Hopis: A First Americans Book. Holiday House (NF – All ages)

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk, (1995) The Iroquois: A First Americans Book. Holiday House (NF – All ages)

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk. (1995) The Navajos: A First Americans Book. Holiday House (NF – All ages)

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk (1996). The Cherokees: A First Americans Book. Holiday House. (NF – All ages).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk, (1996) The Cheyennes: A First Americans Book. Holiday House. (NF – All ages).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk, (1997), The Apaches: A First Americans Book. Holiday House. (NF – All ages).

    Sneve, Virginia Driving Hawk, (2003), Enduring Wisdom: Sayings from Native Americans. Holiday House (NF – All ages).

    Steltzer, Ulli. Building an Igloo. New York: Henry Holt, 1995. (Photo essay/NF – All ages).

    Sterling, Shirley. (1997). My Name is Seepeetza. Douglas & McIntyre (RF - M).

    Stroud, Virginia. (1994). Doesn’t Fall Off His Horse. Dial Books for Young Readers (PIC/TL – All ages).

    Students of G.T. Cunningham Elementary School (1996). We Are All Related: A Celebration of Our Cultural Heritage. (NF- all ages)

    Swamp, Jake. (1997) Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. Lee & Low. (PIC/P - all ages)

    Swentzell, Rina. (1992) Children of Clay: A Family of Pueblo Potters, Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co., 1992. (Photo essay/NF – all ages)

    Talashoema, Herschel; Sekaquaptewa, Emory (Ed.); and Pepper, Barbara (Ed.). (1994). Coyote and Little Turtle. Clear Light. (PIC/TL – All ages).

    Tapahonso, Luci (1997). Blue Horses Rush In. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. (P/RF – YA)

    Tapahonso, Luci. (1999). Songs of Shiprock Fair. Kiva (PIC/P – All ages).

    Thompson, Sheila. (1991). Cheryl’s Potlatch. Yinka Dene Language Institute. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Turcotte, Mark. (1995). Songs of Our Ancestors. Chicago: Children’s Press (PIC/P – All ages)

    Van Camp, Richard. (1998), The Lesser Blessed. Douglas & McIntyre (RF – YA)

    Van Camp, Richard; ill. by George Littlechild, (1997). A Man Called Raven. Children’s Book Press. (PIC/RF – E/M)

    Van Camp, Richard; ill. by George Littlechild, (1998). What’s the Most Beautiful Thing you Know about Horses. Children’s Book Press. (PIC/RF – E/M)

    Van Camp, Richard. (2007) Welcome Song for Baby. (Board book – All ages).

    Velarde, Pablita. (1993) Old Father Storyteller. Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishers. (TL - all ages) – includes “Turkey Girl”

    Waboose, Jan Bourdeau. (1998). Morning on the Lake. Kids Can Press (PIC/RF – E/M).

    Waboose, Jan Bourdeau (2001). Sky Sisters. (PIC/RF – E/M)

    Wallis, Velma. (1993) Two Old Women. New York: HarperPerennial (HF - M/YA)

    Walking Turtle, Eagle. (1997). Full Moon Stories. Hyperion (TL – All ages).

    Wheeler, Bernelda. (1995). Where Did You Get Your Moccasins? Peguis Publications (PIC/RF - E).
    Wheeler, Bernelda. (1993). I Can’t Have Bannock but the Beaver Has a Dam. Peguis Publications (PIC/RF - E).

    Whitethorne, Baje. (1994). Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun. Northland (PIC/TL – All ages).

    Wittstock, Laura Waterman. (1993). Ininatig's Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native 
    Sugarmaking. Photographs by Dale Kakkak. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Wood, Ted. (1992). A Boy Becomes a Man at Wounded Knee. Walker and Company. (Photo essay/NF – All ages)

    Yamane, Linda. (1997) Weaving a California Tradition: A Native American Basket Maker.Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications. (Photo essay/NF – All ages) Photographs by Dugan Aguilar. 

    Section Two: Recommended Resources about Native Americans in Children’s Literature

    Atleo, M., Caldwell, N., Landis, B., Mendoza, J., Miranda, D., Reese, D., Rose, L., Slapin, B., Smith, C. (1999). A Critical Review of Ann Rinaldi's My Heart is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl. Oyate.

    Caldwell-Wood, Naomi, and Lisa A. Mitten. (1991) “I” Is Not for Indian: The Portrayal of Native Americans in Books for Young People.

    Internet Public Library: Native American Authors. Provides a list of Native American authors, plus a short biography, a list of published works, and links to relevant sites.

    Kuipers, Barbara. (1991) American Indian Reference Books for Children and Young Adults. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited.

    McCann, D. (1993). Native Americans in Books for the Young. In V. Harris (Ed.) Teaching Multicultural Literature in Grades K-8. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.

    Mendoza, Jean and Reese, Debbie. (2001). Examining Multicultural Picture Books for the Early Childhood Classroom: Possibilities and Pitfalls. Early Childhood Research and Practice 3 (2), On-line:

    Molin, Paulette. (2005). American Indian Themes in Young Adult Literature. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

    Native American Books. This on-line resource contains critical reviews of children’s books.

    Reese, Debbie A., & Caldwell-Wood, Naomi. (1997). Native Americans in Children's Literature. In V. J. Harris (Ed.), Using Multiethnic Literature in the K-8 Classroom. Christopher Gordon, Inc.

    Reese, Debbie. (2001). Representations of Native American Women and Girls in Children’s Historical Fiction, in Lehr, Susan. (Ed.) Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Construction of Gender in Children’s Literature. Portsmouth: Heinemann.

    Reese, Debbie. (1999). Authenticity & Sensitivity: Goals on writing and reviewing books with Native American themes. School Library Journal 45 (11), pp. 36-37. On-line:

    Reese, Debbie A. (1998). “Look Mom! It’s George! He’s a TV Indian!” Horn Book Magazine, 74(5), pp. 636-641.

    Seale, Doris, and Slapin, Beverly. (2006). A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children. AltaMira Press.

    Slapin, Beverly, and Seale, Doris. (1998). Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children. University of California, American Indian Studies Center.

    Smith, Cynthia L. Native American Themes in Books for Children and Teens. Start exploring Smith’s site with this page:

    Smithsonian Institution. A Critical Bibliography on North American Indians for K-12. An extensive site, arranged by geographical area.

    Thompson, M.K. (Sept: 2001) “A sea of good intentions: Native Americans in books for children.” The Lion and the Unicorn.

    Tyler, Rhonda Harris (Jul/Aug 2000) “Indian in the Cupboard: A Case Study in Perspective” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), Vol. 13, Issue 4 

    Section Three: Recommended Professional Resources. Books and websites listed here can help teachers and librarians locate books, do fact checking, and gain insight and awareness of issues related to Native culture and Native perspectives.

    Aperture.(1995) Strong Hearts: Native American Visions and Voices. New York: Aperture.

    American Indian Library Association website:

    Berkhofer, Robert E. (1978). The White Man’s Indian. New York: Vintage Books.

    Bigelow, Bill. (1998). Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools.

    Cubbins, E.M. (1999) Techniques for Evaluating American Indian Web Sites. An excellent page with substantive information.

    Davis, Mary B. (1996). Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing Inc.

    Deloria, Phillip. (1998). Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Hirschfelder, Arlene; Molin, Paulette Fairbanks; & Wakim, Yvonne. (1999). American Indian Stereotypes in the World of Children. Scarecrow Press.

    Hoxie, Frederick E. (1996). Encyclopedia of North American Indians. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

    Mitten, Lisa. Native American Home Pages.

    Reese, Debbie. (1996) Teaching Young Children about Native Americans. ERIC Digest. Urbana, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education. On-line:

    Reese, Debbie. (1997). Thoughts on Not Seeing Oneself. Gender and Culture in Picture Books, School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies, Rutgers University. [on-line publication]

    Seale, Doris, B. Slapin, & C. Silverman. (1998) Thanksgiving: A Native Perspective. Berkeley: Oyate.

    Smithsonian Institution. Erasing Native American Stereotypes. An essay based on work done by June Sark Heinrich, Council on Books for Interracial Children, 1977

    Stedman, Raymond William. (1982). Shadows of the Indian. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

    Womack, Craig. (1999) Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press.