Indigenous Peoples’ Day is October 11th , and it is a day to bring acknowledgment to the Native population where we commemorate and celebrate their history and culture. These books make excellent choices throughout the month of October but are also great to keep in your classroom to visit throughout the year.
I’m sharing all of these books on video as well. Check out the National Indigenous Peoples’ Day Books on my Youtube channel.
National Indigenous Peoples’ Day Books
Josie Dances by: Denise Lajimodiere
Josie Dances is a coming of age story that highlights the traditions and beauty of the Ojibwe culture. This is a great story about the patience, practice, community, and tradition as the community helps Josie prepare to dance at the tribal powwow for the first time. Josie Dances includes a helpful glossary with explanations and pronunciations of Ojibwe words, great for helping your students learn a bit more about their language.
Sharice’s Big Voice by: Sharice Davids
Sharice’s Big Voice is an autobiographical picture book where we learn about the events that occurred in Sharice’s life leading her to become a congress woman. Sharice is one of the first native women to be in congress. This is an inspiring and encouraging story that reminds us how important it is to follow your path and although there may be obstacles, all things are possible when you set your mind to it. At the end of the book there is information about the Ho-Chunk nation where your students can learn more about the culture.
Zonia’s Rainforest by: Juana Martinez-Neal
Zonia’s Rain Forest is a beautiful picture book that tells the story about an Asháninka girl’s day of play in the rainforest. She spends her days running with the jaguars and spending time with the sloths but one day the rainforest is in trouble and it calls out to Zonia. A great story to highlight the importance of bonding with nature and why we must take care of our rainforests. The back matter of Zonia’s Rainforest includes a translation in Asháninka while also providing information about the Asháninka community and rain forest resources.
We are Still Here! by: Traci Sorell
We are Still Here is a nonfiction book documenting the challenges, struggles, and policies that Native Nations have faced and the ways they are continuing to fight for their rights even today. The back matter includes terms, a glossary, and timelines which allow your students to continue their research of the topics the twelve children discussed throughout this story. This is a companion book to We Are Grateful.
When We are Kind by: Monique Gray Smith
When We are Kind is a simple yet impactful picture celebrating the simple acts of everyday kindness. This story is great for fostering discussions around what it means to be kind and how we feel when we are kind and when others are kind to us. If you are looking for other stories about kindness, check out this previous post including some of my favorite kindness books.
Bowwow Powwow by: Brenda J. Child
Bowwow Powwow is a celebration of the traditions of powwows seen through the eyes of a Ojibwe girl. It’s a beautiful introduction to the different elements of a powwow and it will help readers understand the significance of the Ojibwe powwow traditions.
Jingle Dancer by: Cynthia L. Smith
Jingle Dancer is another story celebrating the tradition of powwows. Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared over generations by the women in her family. Jenna hopes to dance at the powwow but she has a problem with the missing jingles from her dress. A story with beautiful text that highlights the importance of turning to family and community.
This is How I Know by: Brittany Luby
This is How I Know is a descriptive story discussing the changing of all seasons. A child and grandmother explore their surroundings, taking pleasure in the familiar sights that each new season brings. You can find more about this story in my Fall Read Alouds post.
Fry Bread by: Kevin Nobel Maillard
Fry Bread is more than just a story of food. It includes vivid descriptions of the shape, color, and the flavor. Fry Bread brings family and friends together to honor ancestry and tradition. You can learn more about this beautiful #ownvoices story and more in my Thanksgiving Read Alouds post.
We Are Grateful by: Traci Sorell
We Are Grateful follows a Cherokee family and their community throughout the seasons of the year. This story includes gorgeous illustrations and is packed with great information. Your students will enjoy this one! You can check out my Thanksgiving Read Alouds post to learn more about this story and others!
We are Water Protectors by: Caroline Lindstrom
We are Water Protectors is a gorgeously illustrated book that is a great way to start important conversations about the environment, water conservation, activism, or Indigenous cultures. Learn more about this story and some of my other favorites in my Best of 2020 Read Aloud post.
Which National Indigenous Peoples’ Day book will you read aloud this month?