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Recommendations of Books
About Native Americans

Submitted and Written by Alanna Louin
Pacific Grove, California



The following books are written by Native Americans and/or are recommended by Native Americans.

1. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children
ed. by Beverly Slapin and Doris Seale
American Indian Studies Center, University of California, 4th ed. 1998
from the Library Journal review:
The Native American (NA) experience as presented in children's books is reviewed through essays, poetry, book reviews, guidelines for evaluating books, a resource list of organizations, a bibliography of books by and about NAs, American Indian authors for young readers, and illustrations.

 

2. Also Highly Recommended:
Lessons from Turtle Island : Native Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms
by Guy W. Jones and Sally Moomaw, Redleaf Press, 2002
from the School Library Journal review:
"...the authors examine the depiction of Native American peoples in early childhood and primary programs and books... concentrate on providing suggestions for appropriate literature, materials, and strategies for including contemporary Native cultures in the curriculum. Suggestions underscore the differences and similarities in people... The book also encourages adults to learn more about cultures so that they can understand the significance of traditions and artifacts before incorporating them into art projects. (It is very easy to introduce activities that mock the very traditions that well-meaning individuals attempt to honor.) ...

There is a short section on "problem" books... Team this valuable, informative resource with Beverly Slapin and Doris Seale's extensive... Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children (Univ. of California, 1998) ..."

Note: This book includes Hawaiians and Japanese Americans.
"[A] marvelous tool that should be in every American school."óJoseph Bruchac, author of Heart of a Chief and The Winter People

 

3. Recommended

The New Press Guide to Multicultural Resources for Young Readers: A Comprehensive Guide to Multicultural Children's Literature Featuring over 1,000 Critical Book Reviews, ed. by Daphne Muse; The New Press, 1997, 690 pgs.

from the School Library Journal review:
"This large, thoughtful collection of reviews and essays is indeed a "comprehensive guide to multicultural children's literature," with many lessons on what the term "multicultural" can mean. The book consists of thematic chapters, subdivided into age levels from kindergarten to eighth grade. Unlike similar titles, the entries offer critical reviews, not simply annotations. In addition, the 250- to 500-word entries include bibliographic information (though not ISBN numbers), the ethnicity featured, plot summaries, and, in some cases, related books. A strength of this book is the breadth of material presented..."

 

4. Recommended
A Time of Resistance: California Indians During the Mission Period, 1769-1848 by Sarah Supahan
produced by the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District's Indian Education Program, 1997, 62 pgs. $15
This book may be  one of the rarer K-8 material that does not claim the Native Americans were happy to go to the missions! It contains a short history ("Background"), a detailed time line (each year has a paragraph of information), an excerpt from the account given by one man telling how the missionaries got his people to go to Mission San Diego, a biography of Toypurina (sister to the leader of her village, she lead a revolt against the missionaries), activities, a short bibliography, glossary, and even a list of tribal organizations and their contact info.

This book is available at  humboldt.k12.ca.us/kt_usd/K-T/indianeducation/index.htm. This material was created by the KT Indian Education Program. They also create and sell many other great Native American cultural curriculum materials.
 

5. Recommended
Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture, and Values Through Storytelling
by Joseph Bruchac, Fulcrum Pub., 2003
from the School Library Journal review:
"Part cultural lesson, part history, and part autobiography, the book contains a wealth of information. Each chapter begins with an epigraph from a Native source; some chapters end with an annotated list of recommended reading. Each chapter also contains stories..."

 

6. Have not found recommendations or rejections by Native American authorities for this book
Native Americans Today : Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8  by Arlene Hirschfelder, Yvonne Beamer Teacher Ideas Press, 2000

from the Booklist review:
"...a comprehensive guide ...terminology..., stereotypes, and some things to avoid...clear guidance about topics of study and activities. ...each chapter including objectives, activities, enrichment ideas, and short, easily understood readings on related subjects. Well-organized, straightforward, and filled with a rich variety of resources...

 

Also, a good read for anyone Gr. 5 through Adult
The Warriors by Joseph Bruchac, Darby Creek Publishing; 2003
Jake has been raised with his extended family on an Iroquois reservation. Then, Jake's mother, who has been away at law school and building a career, takes Jake off of the reservation to live with her and to attend a prestigious private boy's school in a city. Jake learns that, unknown to his mother, he has been accepted into the school because he is Native American and the school's most important sport is Lacrosse. Jake learns that the predominantly white student body has little or no knowledge of other ethnic groups or cultures. He also discovers that his coach teaches Lacrosse as a blood sport, with inaccurate, biased, racist stories of the supposed origins of the game and of native life. Information about Iroquois history, Lacrosse and different cultures are woven into the story. The way Jake deals with his problems and the introduction to the sport create a good read that will attract many readers who might not otherwise be interested in cultural subject matter.

Hope this list is of interest,
Alanna



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