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Native American Heritage Month | Chapter Books & Middle Grade

Book descriptions came from NovelList

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids Edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith 

BookAudiobook

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another. They are the heroes of their own stories. 

Borders by Thomas King 

Book

A boy and his mother refuse to identify themselves as American or Canadian at the border and become caught in the limbo between nations when they claim their citizenship as Blackfoot. 

Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young  

Book

A debut novel inspired by Native American culture follows the experiences of a boy whose summer at his grandmother’s reservation home is shaped by his uncle’s addictions and an encounter with a sacred being from the Navajo Creation Story. 

Jo Jo Makoons The Used to be Best Friend by Dawn Quigley

Book

Grades 2-5 First in a Chapter Book Series. Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), she’s worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore. 

Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac  

Book

When the COVID-19 pandemic starts, Malian, a young Wabanaki girl, is quarantined with her grandparents on the reservation, where she befriends a local dog and learns about her ancestors and how they always survive together. 

The Barren Grounds by David Robertson  

Book

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home — until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Aski, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission.

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day  

Book 

It’s been a hard year for Maisie Cannon, ever since she hurt her leg and could not keep up with her ballet training and auditions. Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels. With everything she’s dealing with, Maisie is not excited for their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up. But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the ocean? 

Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia Leitich Smith  

Book

In this magical, modern twist on Peter Pan, stepsisters Lily and Wendy are spirited away to Neverland by a mysterious boy and must find a way back to the family they love. 

What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal by Eldon Yellowhorn (NF) 

Book

Tells the stories of how Indigenous people defended their homelands and cultures when invaders arrived. 

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