Home & Classroom Teaching: Native American Children’s-Teens’ Books & Resources

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

With tremendous appreciation of all the teachers and child-caregivers who’re navigating this difficult time, I have assembled a list of Native children’s and young adult (teen) books along with supplemental educational and/or entertaining resources.

It reflects only a few highlights from the quickly growing, engaging body of literature for young readers, created by Native creators.

The books were selected in part due to their curriculum tie-in potential and in part due to the tie-in activities,

Continue Reading Home & Classroom Teaching: Native American Children’s-Teens’ Books & Resources »

Native Voice: David Heska Wanbli Weiden on Writing Inclusive Books For Kids

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m happy to welcome David Heska Wanbli Weiden to Cynsations.

David is the author of Spotted Tail, illustrated by Jim Yellowhawk and Pat Kinsella (Reycraft Books, 2019), a middle grade biography which traces the life of his tribe’s famous Lakota leader.

David, your book has received many accolades. Congrats on winning a Spur Award for the Best Juvenile Nonfiction book in 2019 from the Western Writers of America,

Continue Reading Native Voice: David Heska Wanbli Weiden on Writing Inclusive Books For Kids »

Native Voices: Co-Authors Dr. Debbie Reese & Dr. Jean Mendoza On Writing History

By Kim Rogers

Today we’re chatting with Dr. Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo) and Dr. Jean Mendoza (Euro-American, U.S.) about their middle grade book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People (Beacon Press, 2019), which is an adaptation of Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Beacon Press 2015).

Congratulations on the acclaim your book has received!

Continue Reading Native Voices: Co-Authors Dr. Debbie Reese & Dr. Jean Mendoza On Writing History »

Native Voices: Christine Day on I Can Make This Promise

By Kim Rogers

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Day (Upper Skagit) for Cynsations. Her debut middle grade novel, I Can Make This Promise (HarperCollins 2019), was inspired by her own family history and tells the story of twelve-year-old old Edie who discovers her family secrets and finds her own Native American identity.

What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, logistical) in bringing I Can Make This Promise to life?

Continue Reading Native Voices: Christine Day on I Can Make This Promise »

Native Voices: Kevin Noble Maillard on Writing Fry Bread

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m excited to welcome Kevin Noble Maillard to Cynsations. Kevin is a professor of law at Syracuse University, a journalist, and a member of the Seminole Nation. His debut picture book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story is illustrated by Pura Belpré-award winner and Caldecott Honor-recipient Juana Martinez-Neal (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, Oct. 2019 ).

What was your initial inspiration for writing Fry Bread?

Continue Reading Native Voices: Kevin Noble Maillard on Writing Fry Bread »

Native Vision: Weshoyot Alvitre on Illustrating At The Mountain’s Base

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Weshoyot Alvitre to Cynsations.

At the Mountain’s Base (Kokila, 2019) is illustrated by Weshoyot and written by Cherokee author Traci Sorell.

Weshoyot is Tongva (Los Angeles Basin) and is well established within the Indigenous art community.

A comic book artist and illustrator, she has contributed to numerous Eisner award-winning books,

Continue Reading Native Vision: Weshoyot Alvitre on Illustrating At The Mountain’s Base »

Author Interview: Annie Boochever on Alaska Native Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich

By Traci Sorell

Rarely do we see biographies of Native people post-1900, so the biography of Elizabeth Peratrovich, Fighter in Velvet Gloves (University of Alaska Press, 2019), by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich, Jr. (Tlingit) is a welcome addition in children’s literature.

The book recently represented the state of Alaska at the National Book Festival in Washington,

Continue Reading Author Interview: Annie Boochever on Alaska Native Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich »

Native Voice: Traci Sorell on At the Mountain’s Base & Indian No More

By Kim Rogers

For my first interview with Cynsations, I welcome author Traci Sorell! First off, so:ti:c?a to you and Cynthia Leitich Smith for this opportunity. I am thrilled and honored to join Cynsations as a reporter covering Native books for children and teens.

Traci, your debut picture book, We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge,

Continue Reading Native Voice: Traci Sorell on At the Mountain’s Base & Indian No More »

New Cynsations Reporter Kim Rogers

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Kim Rogers joins the Cynsations team as a reporter covering children’s-YA writing, illustration, publishing and other book news from Indigenous authors and illustrators.

Welcome to Cynsations! Could you tell us about your vision for Native voices coverage here at the blog? Why did you decide to take on this role in the conversation of books?

First off I’d like to say that I am so excited and honored to join Cynsations.

Continue Reading New Cynsations Reporter Kim Rogers »

Native Voice: Anthony Perry on Growing as a Writer

By Traci Sorell

Tony, I’m delighted to welcome you to Cynsations! You have written a detailed, well-paced historical middle grade novel, Chula the Fox (White Dog Press, 2018), set in the Chickasaw homelands of what is now Mississippi in the 1700s.

Congratulations on winning the 2019 Ben Franklin Award Gold Medal from the Independent Book Publishers Association and the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal for Multicultural Fiction in the Juvenile-Young Adult category for your debut work!

Continue Reading Native Voice: Anthony Perry on Growing as a Writer »