What if you lived on a beautiful island before the time that Europeans came to the New World? This book is set in just that time and place.
Morning Girl and her brother, Star Boy, live in a close-knit family and clan on an idyllic island. But they are as different as night and day. Set in Taino culture, the story follows both children as they discover who they are and how they belong to their family and their world.
Michael Dorris; the author, is a member of the Modoc tribe and an exceptional writer as well as a trained anthropologist. His portrayal of life in this early Native American setting is both accurate and unforgettable. This is a beautifully written and memorable book with an interesting historical twist at the end.
Written by Michael Rose Ramirez
There’s a certain magic to hummingbirds that makes them popular in folktales wherever they are found. But how did this unusual bird first come to be?
The hummingbird myth from Taino cultures tells of a beautiful young girl and a brave young man. Unfortunately their parents did not feel they should be friends and so they are separated.
Do they find a way to be together? And how does the hummingbird come into the story? This tale of young love and devotion weaves a magical tale around a beautiful creature and may make you think twice the next time you see hummingbird in real life!
Written and Illustrated By George L. Crespo
If you lived on an island, the sea would probably be an important part of any legend or creation tale. This creation tale; retold and illustrated by George Crespo, was collected over 500 years ago by a Spanish friar who came to the island now known as Puerto Rico.
Author, painter and sculptor; George Crespo, changed a few minor details but kept a powerful story of how the ocean came into being. The story involves a family, a great hunter, a big storm and four boys who could not do as they were told.
How did one giant expanse of land turn into a series of islands in a deep blue sea? You’ll have to check out “How The Sea Began” to get the full story!
Retold/Written By Robert D. San Souci, Illustrated by Daniel San Souci
This is a beautiful Cinderella story, retold from an Ojibwa legend and set in the woodlands of the Northern Central United States. In this story readers meet a small girl who is the youngest daughter of a warrior whose wife has died. While the father is away, her older sisters are cruel and force her to do all their work. Since she does all the family’s cooking over a wood fire, they tease her and call her “Sootface”.
One day the village’s daily life is interrupted by a remarkable announcement. A nearby young medicine man I looking for a bride. Handsome and powerful, this young warrior can even make himself invisible. Only the woman who can see him and can answer a riddle about his bow and arrows will prove she is pure in heart and can share his life. The rest of the story unfolds perfectly, accompanied by lovely illustrations with an eye to authentically portraying the details of clothing, shelter and other aspects of Ojibwa life.
A wonderful tale of how remaining true to one’s self eventually becomes it’s own meaningful reward.
Once, an Ojibwa man whose wife had died raised three daughters alone. The two older girls were lazy and bad-tempered, and made their youngest sister do all the work. When the flames from the cooking fire singed her hair or burned her skin, they laughed and called her Sootface.
While she worked, Sootface dreamed that one day she would find a husband. Then a mighty warrior with the power to make himself invisible decides to marry. Only a woman with a kind and honest heart could see him, and be his bride.
Though her sisters ridicule her, Sootface sets off to try her luck, never looking back. Her courage and good nature bring her the husband she has longed for.
Written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
Illustration by Ellen Beier
Little Virginia is making her way from her house to the school in the cold South Dakota winter. Like her siblings and many friends, she’s excited about gifts of new coats and warm winter wear that will soon arrive from the East. What is Christmas like on a Lakota Reservation? This lovely book shares a warm story that Virginia remembers from the holidays of her childhood, complete with a Christmas miracle of a wonderful new coat that perfectly met her needs.
Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve was born on the Rosebud Reservation and writes beautifully about Native American culture. She has won the Spirit of Crazy Horse Award and the National Humanities Medal for her outstanding work for both children and adult readers.
Suggested Reading Level – Ages 5 and up
Virginia's coat is too small and hardly protects her from the frigid South Dakata winter. As Christmas approaches, all the children on the Sioux reservation look forward to receiving boxes full of clothing sent by congregations in the East. Virginia spots a beautiful gray fur coat but holds back tears as it is claimed by one of her classmates. Later, virginia can't believe what Mama brings home. Based on an event from the author's childhood, this picture book captures the true spirit of Christmas.
Written and Illustrated By Paul Gobel
Paul Goebel’s story and illustrations take you into the wonderful world of the Plains with it’s canyons, cactuses, wild weather and beautiful Native American customs and introduces you to a girl who loves wild horses.
The Amazon.com review of this book sums up the subject matter beautifully: “For most people, being swept away in a horse stampede during a raging thunderstorm would be a terrifying disaster. For the young Native American girl in Paul Goble’s 1979 Caldecott-winning masterpiece, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, it is a blessing. Although she loves her people, this girl has a much deeper, almost sacred connection to her equine friends. The storm gives her the opportunity to fulfill her dream–to live in a beautiful land among the wild horses she loves. With brilliant, stylized illustrations and simple text, Paul Goble tells the story of a young woman who follows her heart, and the family that respects and accepts her uniqueness.”
A wonderful combination of a great story and stellar illustrations, this is a great book to share with young children or to read aloud.
Suggested Reading Level – Preschool-Grade 2
"There was a girl in the village who loved horses... She led the horses to drink at the river. She spoke softly and they followed. People noticed that she understood horses in a special way."
And so begins the story of a young Native American girl devoted to the care of her tribe's horses. With simple text and brilliant illustrations. Paul Goble tells how she eventually becomes one of them to forever run free.
By Kate Waters
Everyone knows the stereotyped images of the First Thanksgiving – but what was it really like? And what was it like from the perspective of the Native Americans who shared their bounty and knowledge with the “coat-men” who arrived and lived nearby.
This beautifully photographed book shares the hopes, dreams and daily tasks and adventures of a young boy of the Wampanoag tribe. Aside from an engaging story and photographs taken with the assistance and advice of the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimouth Plantation, there is also a glossary of terms and additional information about the Wampanoag people, many of whose descendents still live in the area of Massachusetts and Rhode Island (United States). This is a wonderful “living history” book to share with kids of all ages.
Suggested Reading Level – Grades 2 – 5
Chosen to become a special warrior prince in 1627, Tapenum prepares himself for the great honor by hunting, fishing, and sharing a day with friends and family, in a story that is complemented by photographs of Plymouth Plantation.
Knots on a Counting Rope is the story of a Native American grandfather talking to his grandson, Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses, about how he was born and how he has grown. Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses was born frail and with no vision, but he has gotten stronger and now rides his own horse, Rainbow, and has trained her to race. The grandfather is a nurturing figure in the story who adores his grandson and has never held him back.
This is a sweet story about the love between a grandfather and his grandson who is blind, and how the grandson is richer and stronger because of this relationship
Suggested Reading Level – Preschool and up
In this poignant story, the counting rope is a metaphor for the passage of time and for a boy's emerging confidence in facing his blindness.
(Folktale Retold) By Joseph Bruchac, Illustrations by Anna Vojtech
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS BOOK
Suggested Reading Level – Ages 3 and up
Find it (new or used) on Amazon here: The First Strawberries (Picture Puffins)
Retold By Nancy Van Laan
Illustrations by Beatriz Vidal
There are many wonderful Native American stories of how the world began and how things we know got to be that way. This is the legend of the courageous crow, as retold from Lenape (Leni Lenape) folk legends. The books begins as all the woodland creatures find themselves engulfed in an enormous snowstorm. Someone must step forward and help. They must fly to the sun and bring back fire. Who will take on this daunting task and what will happen to them in their quest?
This book is beautiful, exciting and a wonderful lesson about how courage and service to those you love can truly save the day!
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS BOOK
Have you ever done something that required great courage? What was it?
Was Crow a hero? Why?
Do you think Crow was afraid when he set out on his journey? If so, why did he continue?
If you were one of the other woodland creatures, could you come up with another way to save your family and friends? Tell the story or write your own legend about it.
Suggested Reading Level – 4 and up (or preschool and up)
Illus. in full color. This story of how the Rainbow Crow lost his sweet voice and brilliant colors by bringing the gift of fire to the other woodland animals is "a Native American legend that will be a fine read-aloud because of the smooth text and songs with repetitive chants. The illustrations, done in a primitive style, create a true sense of the Pennsylvania Lenape Indians and their winters."--School Library Journal.