It’s National Native American Heritage Month! November is a great time to pick up a book by or about Indigenous people.
Whether you’re introducing a young reader to the Navajo Code Talkers or looking for literature by today’s most prolific Indigenous writers, you’ll find plenty of options at your library. These are just a few of the titles we recommend.
For more e-books and e-audiobooks you can visit cloudLibrary to see our Native American Heritage Month shelf.
For Young Readers
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
by Kevin Noble Maillard
A sweet book for kids and grownups alike. This beautifully illustrated book depicts a modern Native American family. Learn about Indigenous family, history and community through fry bread: a staple food common in many tribes.
Reading age: 3 to 6
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
This collection of stories by Native writers is full of joy, hope and Native pride. Each story features a young protagonist at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Michigan. Along the way, they meet relatives, strangers and sometimes each other.
Reading age: 8 to 12
The Sea in Winter
by Christine Day
A poignant story for your middle-schooler. After a knee injury, Maisie can’t keep up with her ballet training. Soon she begins to feel hopeless and not-at-all excited for her family’s midwinter road trip near her mother’s Makah community.
Reading age: 8 to 12
Who Were the Navajo Code Talkers?
by James Buckley Jr.
Heroic and historical! During World War II, 29 Navajo men worked with the U.S. Marines recruited to create a secret code that could be used to send military messages across battlefields. Your young reader can meet the Navajo Code Talkers. They’ll also learn how these men were treated before, during and after the war.
Reading age: 8 to 12
by Angeline Boulley
One of this year’s most popular young adult books! You’ll meet Daunis, an eighteen-year-old who doesn’t fit into her hometown or the nearby Ojibwe reservation. After she witnesses a murder and encounters a lethal new drug, she must decide how far to go for her community.
Reading age: Teens
Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII
by Chester Nez
In this powerful memoir, 89-year-old Chester Nez – one of the original 29 Navajo code talkers – tells his story. The book details his service to the Marines and his life growing up on the Navajo Reservation. His story personalizes the men who created and carried out the only code in modern warfare that remains unbroken to this day. This book includes the actual code, plus rare photos you’ve likely never seen before.
Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land
by N. Scott Momaday
This book by a member of the Kiowa tribe is a love letter to the land. Momaday records stories passed down through the generations that reveal a deep connection to the American landscape. It offers both an homage to the land and a call to protect the Earth. The book also includes original artwork by the author.
by Louise Erdrich
This masterfully written novel tells the story of a tragic accident and the atonement that follows. Set in modern-day North Dakota, the book follows two Ojibwe families over years. If you enjoyed Erdrich’s The Night Watchman, Love Medicine, or The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, give LaRose a read.
The Only Good Indians
by Stephen Graham Jones
Equal parts horror, historical fiction, and social commentary. This perfectly paced book follows four men from the Blackfeet Nation. After a disturbing event from their childhood, the men are tracked by an entity hungering for revenge. The cultural traditions they left behind come back to haunt them in a powerful way.
We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy
by Kliph Nesteroff
A stereotype-busting history of Indigenous comedy. The title of this non-fiction book comes from a line in Charlie Hill’s stand-up comedy routine: “My people are from Wisconsin. We used to be from New York. We had a little real estate problem.”
The book explores the life and work of towering Native American comedians from history. You’ll also meet modern performers like Jonny Roberts, Adrianne Chalepah and The 1491s sketch troupe.