Native American Heritage Month, or American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, is celebrated annually in November. Native American Heritage Month recognizes the diverse cultures of Native Americans, honors their experiences and contributions to the United States, and raises awareness about the present and historical inequities they experience. November was chosen as it’s typically a time for celebration and gratitude at the end of a harvest.
Before Congress and George H.W. Bush designated the month-long observation in 1990, there were advocates calling for Native Americans to be recognized. The first formal appeal was created by Arapahoe and President of the Congress of the American Indian Association, Rev. Sherman Coolidge. In 1915, Coolidge issued a proclamation declaring the second Saturday of May American Indian Day. In 1986, Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing President Reagan to proclaim November 23-30, 1986, as "American Indian Week." In 1990, the timeframe was expanded by President George H.W. Bush, who declared November National American Indian Heritage Month.
The Chicago area is on the ancestral homelands of many Indigenous tribes including the Council of the Three Fires, comprised of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. Potawatomi, the original inhabitants of Wilmette are committed to preserving their culture for future generations. Today, tribal members from over 150 different tribes reside in urban and rural areas of Illinois. Learn more about whose land you inhabit by visiting Native Land Digital.
EVENTS AT THE LIBRARY
The Power of Native Women
Classics & Contemporary Book Discussion: The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich
2nd and 3rd Grade Book Club: Jo Jo Makoons: Snow Day by Dawn Quigley
Indigenous Peoples History of Chicagoland
Celebrating Indigenous Voices
In this gripping, horror-laced debut, a young Cree woman’s dreams lead her on a perilous journey of self-discovery that ultimately forces her to confront the toll of a legacy of violence on her family, her community and the land they call home.
When Mackenzie wakes up with a severed crow's head in her hands, she panics. Only moments earlier she had been fending off masses of birds in a snow-covered forest. In bed, when she blinks, the head disappears.
Night after night, Mackenzie’s dreams return her to a memory from before her sister Sabrina’s untimely death: a weekend at the family’s lakefront campsite, long obscured by a fog of guilt. But when the waking world starts closing in, too—a murder of crows stalks her every move around the city, she wakes up from a dream of drowning throwing up water, and gets threatening text messages from someone claiming to be Sabrina—Mackenzie knows this is more than she can handle alone.
Traveling north to her rural hometown in Alberta, she finds her family still steeped in the same grief that she ran away to Vancouver to escape. They welcome her back, but their shaky reunion only seems to intensify her dreams—and make them more dangerous.
What really happened that night at the lake, and what did it have to do with Sabrina’s death? Only a bad Cree would put their family at risk, but what if whatever has been calling Mackenzie home was already inside?
"Once I opened VenCo, I was propelled through an entire night of charmed reading. Cherie Dimaline creates a world utterly fantastical, yet real. VenCo is funny, tense, and cracking with a dark, divine energy." ---Louise Erdrich, New York Times bestselling author of The Sentence
For fans of The Once and Future Witches and Practical Magic, comes an incredibly imaginative, highly anticipated new novel featuring witches, magic, and a road trip across America--from Cherie Dimaline, the critically acclaimed author of Empire of Wild.
Métis millennial Lucky St. James is barely hanging on when she learns she'll be evicted from the tiny Toronto apartment she shares with her cantankerous but loving grandmother Stella. But then one night, something strange and irresistible calls out to Lucky. She burrows through a wall to find a tarnished silver spoon, humming with otherworldly energy, etched with a crooked-nosed witch and the word SALEM.
Lucky is familiar with the magic of her indigenous ancestors, but she has no idea that the spoon connects her to a teeming network of witches across North America who have anxiously awaited her discovery.
Enter VenCo, a front company fueled by vast resources of dark money (its name is an anagram of "coven.") VenCo's witches hide in plain sight wherever women gather: Tupperware parties, Mommy & Me classes, suburban book clubs. Since colonial times, they have awaited the moment the seven spoons will come together and ignite a new era, returning women to their rightful power.
But as reckoning approaches, a very powerful adversary is stalking their every move. He's Jay Christos, a roguish and deadly witch-hunter as old as witchcraft itself.
To find the last spoon, Lucky and Stella embark on a rollicking and dangerous road trip to the darkly magical city of New Orleans, where the final showdown will determine whether VenCo will usher in a new beginning...or remain underground forever.
A wildly imaginative and compulsively readable fantasia of adventure, history, Americana, feminism, and magic, VenCo is a novel only the supremely gifted Cherie Dimaline could write.
"Crackling with magic, mystery, adventure, and intrigue, VenCo is a captivating tribute to the bonds of families we are born into and the ones that we create, and a delightful testament to the power of all womankind."-- Nikki Erlick, New York Times bestselling author of The Measure
The Berry Pickers
2023 Barnes & Noble Discover Prize Winner
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals of Excellence
A four-year-old Mi’kmaq girl goes missing from the blueberry fields of Maine, sparking a mystery that will haunt the survivors, unravel a family, and remain unsolved for nearly fifty years
"A stunning debut about love, race, brutality, and the balm of forgiveness." —People, A Best New Book
July 1962. A Mi’kmaq family from Nova Scotia arrives in Maine to pick blueberries for the summer. Weeks later, four-year-old Ruthie, the family’s youngest child, vanishes. She is last seen by her six-year-old brother, Joe, sitting on a favorite rock at the edge of a berry field. Joe will remain distraught by his sister’s disappearance for years to come.
In Maine, a young girl named Norma grows up as the only child of an affluent family. Her father is emotionally distant, her mother frustratingly overprotective. Norma is often troubled by recurring dreams and visions that seem more like memories than imagination. As she grows older, Norma slowly comes to realize there is something her parents aren’t telling her. Unwilling to abandon her intuition, she will spend decades trying to uncover this family secret.
For readers of The Vanishing Half and Woman of Light, this showstopping debut by a vibrant new voice in fiction is a riveting novel about the search for truth, the shadow of trauma, and the persistence of love across time.
"A harrowing tale of Indigenous family separation . . . [Peters] excels in writing characters for whom we can’t help rooting . . . With The Berry Pickers, Peters takes on the monumental task of giving witness to people who suffered through racist attempts of erasure like her Mi’kmaw ancestors." —The New York Times Book Review
Never Whistle at Night
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A bold, clever, and sublimely sinister collection that dares to ask the question: “Are you ready to be un-settled?”
“Never failed to surprise, delight, and shock.” —Nick Cutter, author of The Troop and Little Heaven
Featuring stories by:
Norris Black • Amber Blaeser-Wardzala • Phoenix Boudreau • Cherie Dimaline • Carson Faust • Kelli Jo Ford • Kate Hart • Shane Hawk • Brandon Hobson • Darcie Little Badger • Conley Lyons • Nick Medina • Tiffany Morris • Tommy Orange • Mona Susan Power • Marcie R. Rendon • Waubgeshig Rice • Rebecca Roanhorse • Andrea L. Rogers • Morgan Talty • D.H. Trujillo • Theodore C. Van Alst Jr. • Richard Van Camp • David Heska Wanbli Weiden • Royce K. Young Wolf • Mathilda Zeller
Many Indigenous people believe that one should never whistle at night. This belief takes many forms: for instance, Native Hawaiians believe it summons the Hukai’po, the spirits of ancient warriors, and Native Mexicans say it calls Lechuza, a witch that can transform into an owl. But what all these legends hold in common is the certainty that whistling at night can cause evil spirits to appear—and even follow you home.
These wholly original and shiver-inducing tales introduce readers to ghosts, curses, hauntings, monstrous creatures, complex family legacies, desperate deeds, and chilling acts of revenge. Introduced and contextualized by bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones, these stories are a celebration of Indigenous peoples’ survival and imagination, and a glorious reveling in all the things an ill-advised whistle might summon.
NOMINATED FOR THE 2021 HUGO AWARDS AND THE 2020 NEBULA AWARDS FOR BEST NOVEL
From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.
A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.
A book that you want to share with everyone you know and one that you are desperate to keep in your own possession. A masterful debut and a new and thrilling voice for readers across the globe. --Sarah Jessica Parker, on Instagram
It's 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny. After Justine's father abandoned the family, Lula became a devout member of the Holiness Church - a community that Justine at times finds stifling and terrifying. But Justine does her best as a devoted daughter until an act of violence sends her on a different path forever.
Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine--a mixed-blood Cherokee woman-- and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma's Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn't easy, and Reney feels unmoored from her family in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world--of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces, like wildfires and tornados--intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home.
In lush and empathic prose, Kelli Jo Ford depicts what this family of proud, stubborn, Cherokee women sacrifices for those they love, amid larger forces of history, religion, class, and culture. This is a big-hearted and ambitious novel of the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters by an exquisite and rare new talent.
Postcolonial Love Poem
WINNER OF THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE IN POETRY
FINALIST FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY
Natalie Diaz’s highly anticipated follow-up to When My Brother Was an Aztec, winner of an American Book Award
Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages—bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers—be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: “Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden.” In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.
Diaz defies the conditions from which she writes, a nation whose creation predicated the diminishment and ultimate erasure of bodies like hers and the people she loves: “I am doing my best to not become a museum / of myself. I am doing my best to breathe in and out. // I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible.” Postcolonial Love Poem unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope—in it, a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love.
A History of My Brief Body
Lambda Literary Award, Finalist / A Best Book of 2020 --Kirkus Reviews, Book Riot, CBC, Globe and Mail, Largehearted Boy.
Stunning... Happiness, this beautiful book says, is the ultimate act of resistance. --Michelle Hart, O, The Oprah Magazine
The youngest ever winner of the Griffin Prize mines his personal history in a brilliant new essay collection seeking to reconcile the world he was born into with the world that could be.
For readers of Ocean Vuong and Maggie Nelson and fans of Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot, A History of My Brief Body is a brave, raw, and fiercely intelligent collection of essays and vignettes on grief, colonial violence, joy, love, and queerness.
Billy-Ray Belcourt's debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. Piece by piece, Billy-Ray's writings invite us to unpack and explore the big and broken world he inhabits every day, in all its complexity and contradiction: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it; first loves and first loves lost; sexual exploration and intimacy; the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.
A National Indie Bestseller
TIME's Best 100 Fantasy Books of All Time
An NPR Best Book of 2020
A Booklist's Top 10 First Novel for Youth
A BookPage Best Book of 2020
A CPL Best of the Best Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020
A Buzzfeed Best YA SFF Book of 2020
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2020
An AICL Best YA Book of 2020
A Kirkus Best YA Book of 2020
A Tor Best Book of 2020
Deeply enjoyable from start to finish. --NPR
Utterly magical. --SyFyWire
Atmospheric and lyrical...a gorgeous work of art. --BuzzFeed
One of the best YA debuts of 2020. Read it. --Marieke Nijkamp
FIVE STARRED REVIEWS
★ A fresh voice and perspective. --Booklist, starred review
★ A unique and powerful Native American voice. --BookPage, starred review
★ A brilliant, engaging debut. --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ A fast-paced murder mystery. --Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ A Lipan Apache Sookie Stackhouse for the teen set. --Shelf-Awareness, starred review
A Texas teen comes face-to-face with a cousin's ghost and vows to unmask the murderer.
Elatsoe--Ellie for short--lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals--most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.
Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and its dark past. But will the nefarious townsfolk and a mysterious Doctor stop her before she gets started?
A breathtaking debut novel featuring an asexual, Apache teen protagonist, Elatsoe combines mystery, horror, noir, ancestral knowledge, haunting illustrations, fantasy elements, and is one of the most-talked about debuts of the year.
In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman's relentless errors.
Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading with murderous attention, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.
The Sentence begins on All Souls' Day 2019 and ends on All Souls' Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools and occult trends, "starter witch kits" of sage, rose quartz, and tarot cards packaged together in paper and plastic. Following a decade of abuse, addiction, PTSD, and heavy-duty drug treatment for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder, she felt drawn to the real spirits and powers her dispossessed and discarded ancestors knew, while she undertook necessary work to find love and meaning.
In this collection of intertwined essays, she writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch. She interlaces stories from her forebears with cultural artifacts from her own life--Twin Peaks, the Oregon Trail II video game, a Claymation Satan, a YouTube video of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham--to explore questions of cultural inheritance and the particular danger, as a Native woman, of relaxing into romantic love under colonial rule.
My Heart Is a Chainsaw
In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.
“Some girls just don’t know how to die…”
Shirley Jackson meets Friday the 13th in My Heart Is a Chainsaw, written by the author of The Only Good Indians Stephen Graham Jones, called “a literary master” by National Book Award winner Tananarive Due and “one of our most talented living writers” by Tommy Orange.
Alma Katsu calls My Heart Is a Chainsaw “a homage to slasher films that also manages to defy and transcend genre.” On the surface is a story of murder in small-town America. But beneath is its beating heart: a biting critique of American colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and gentrification, and a heartbreaking portrait of a broken young girl who uses horror movies to cope with the horror of her own life.
Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.
Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges…a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.
"A haunted work, full of voices old and new. It is about a family's reckoning with loss and injustice, and it is about a people trying for the same. The journey of this family's way home is full--in equal measure--of melancholy and love."
--Tommy Orange, author of There There
A RECOMMENDED BOOK FROM
USA Today * O, the Oprah Magazine * Entertainment Weekly * Harper's Bazaar * Buzzfeed * Washington Post * Elle * Parade * San Francisco Chronicle * Good Housekeeping * Vulture * Refinery29 * AARP * Kirkus * PopSugar * Alma * Woman's Day * Chicago Review of Books * The Millions * Biblio Lifestyle * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly * LitHub
Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago--from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson
In the fifteen years since their teenage son, Ray-Ray, was killed in a police shooting, the Echota family has been suspended in private grief. The mother, Maria, increasingly struggles to manage the onset of Alzheimer's in her husband, Ernest. Their adult daughter, Sonja, leads a life of solitude, punctuated only by spells of dizzying romantic obsession. And their son, Edgar, fled home long ago, turning to drugs to mute his feelings of alienation.
With the family's annual bonfire approaching--an occasion marking both the Cherokee National Holiday and Ray-Ray's death, and a rare moment in which they openly talk about his memory--Maria attempts to call the family together from their physical and emotional distances once more. But as the bonfire draws near, each of them feels a strange blurring of the boundary between normal life and the spirit world. Maria and Ernest take in a foster child who seems to almost miraculously keep Ernest's mental fog at bay. Sonja becomes dangerously fixated on a man named Vin, despite--or perhaps because of--his ties to tragedy in her lifetime and lifetimes before. And in the wake of a suicide attempt, Edgar finds himself in the mysterious Darkening Land: a place between the living and the dead, where old atrocities echo.
Drawing deeply on Cherokee folklore, The Removed seamlessly blends the real and spiritual to excavate the deep reverberations of trauma--a meditation on family, grief, home, and the power of stories on both a personal and ancestral level.
"The Removed is a marvel. With a few sly gestures, a humble array of piercingly real characters and an apparently effortless swing into the dire dreamlife, Brandon Hobson delivers an act of regeneration and solace. You won't forget it." --Jonathan Lethem, author of The Feral Detective
Joy Harjo, the first Native American to serve as U.S. poet laureate, invites us to travel along the heartaches, losses, and humble realizations of her poet-warrior road. A musical, kaleidoscopic, and wise follow-up to Crazy Brave, Poet Warrior reveals how Harjo came to write poetry of compassion and healing, poetry with the power to unearth the truth and demand justice.
Harjo listens to stories of ancestors and family, the poetry and music that she first encountered as a child, and the messengers of a changing earth--owls heralding grief, resilient desert plants, and a smooth green snake curled up in surprise. She celebrates the influences that shaped her poetry, among them Audre Lorde, N. Scott Momaday, Walt Whitman, Muscogee stomp dance call-and-response, Navajo horse songs, rain, and sunrise. In absorbing, incantatory prose, Harjo grieves at the loss of her mother, reckons with the theft of her ancestral homeland, and sheds light on the rituals that nourish her as an artist, mother, wife, and community member.
Moving fluidly between prose, song, and poetry, Harjo recounts a luminous journey of becoming, a spiritual map that will help us all find home. Poet Warrior sings with the jazz, blues, tenderness, and bravery that we know as distinctly Joy Harjo.
ONE OF THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR--THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
WINNER OF THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, NPR, Time, O, The Oprah Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Globe, GQ, The Dallas Morning News, Buzzfeed, BookPage, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLER
Tommy Orange's "groundbreaking, extraordinary" (The New York Times) There There is the "brilliant, propulsive" (People Magazine) story of twelve unforgettable characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day. It's "the year's most galvanizing debut novel" (Entertainment Weekly).
As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow--some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent--momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle's memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss.
There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. It's "masterful . . . white-hot . . . devastating" (The Washington Post) at the same time as it is fierce, funny, suspenseful, thoroughly modern, and impossible to put down. Here is a voice we have never heard--a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with urgency and force. Tommy Orange has written a stunning novel that grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide. This is the book that everyone is talking about right now, and it's destined to be a classic.
Native Voices for Children
No Place Like Home
A middle-grade novel by James Bird about homelessness and hope.
When home is a car, life is unpredictable. School, friends, and three meals a day aren't guaranteed. Not every town has a shelter where a family can sleep for a night or two, and places with parking lots don't welcome overnight stays.
Opin, his brother Emjay, and their mother are trying to get to Los Angeles, where they hope an uncle and a new life are waiting. Emjay has taken to disappearing for days, slowing down the family's progress and adding to their worry.
Then Opin finds a stray dog who needs him as much as he needs her, and his longing for a stable home intensifies, as his brother's reckless ways hit a new high. Opin makes a new friend in the shelter, but shelters don’t allow dogs...
Will anything other than a real home ever be enough?
My Powerful Hair
From the award-winning and bestselling author of We Are Water Protectors comes an empowering picture book about family history, self-expression, and reclaiming your identity
Our ancestors say our hair is our memories,
our source of strength and power,
a celebration of our lives.
Mom never had long hair--she was told it was too wild. Grandma couldn't have long hair--hers was taken from her. But one young girl can't wait to grow her hair long: for herself, for her family, for her connection to her culture and the Earth, and to honor the strength and resilience of those who came before her.
From Carole Lindstrom, author of the New York Times bestseller and Caldecott Medal winner We Are Water Protectors, and debut illustrator Steph Littlebird comes an empowering and healing celebration of hair and its significance across Indigenous cultures.
Forever Our Home
★"This solemn and serene volume should be considered a first purchase. Essential for most collections, and with its wildlife-centric art, it's also a perfect read-aloud for Earth Day."--School Library Journal, starred review
A lullaby of reconciliation and reclamation, celebrating the ancestral relationship between Indigenous children and the land that is forever their home.
Under glowing morning sun and silvery winter moon, from speckled frogs croaking in spring to summer fields painted with fireweed, this meditative lullaby introduces little ones to the plants and animals of the Prairies and the Plains. Featuring stunning artwork by celebrated artist Carla Joseph, Forever Our Home is a beautiful and gentle song about our spiritual connection to the land.
Âmî Osâwâpikones (Dear Dandelion)
A debut picture book that celebrates self-love, care, and resilience with one of the most widespread plants--the dandelion.
Both a love letter to the dandelion and a call to love ourselves in a difficult world, Âmî Osâwâpikones reminds us that we are not defined as others see us. Following our young protagonist and the dandelions through the seasons, we are reminded that we are resilient, we are healers, we are funny, and we are loved.
From National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson, a kaleidoscopic middle-grade adventure that mixes the realism of a Cherokee boy's life with the magic of Cherokee lore
Ziggy has ANXIETY. Partly this is because of the way his mind works, and how overwhelmed he can get when other people (especially his classmate Alice) are in the room. And partly it's because his mother disappeared when he was very young, making her one of many Indigenous women who've gone mysteriously missing in recent times. Ziggy and his sister Moon want answers, but nobody around can give them.
Once Ziggy gets it in his head that answers may be found in a nearby cave, there's no going back. Along with Moon, Alice, and his best friend Corso, he sets out on a mind-bending adventure. His story is tied to all of the stories of the Cherokee that have come before him... and his searching may lead him to Nunnehi, wise and playful spirits who help Cherokees in need.
Ziggy might not have any control over the past... but if he learns the lessons of the storyteller, he may be able to better shape the future... by shaping how the past is told.
Anishinaabe culture and storytelling meet Alice in Wonderland in this coming-of-age graphic novel that explores Indigenous and gender issues through a fresh yet familiar looking glass.
Aimée, a non-binary Anishinaabe middle-schooler, is on a class trip to offer gifts to Paayehnsag, the water spirits known to protect the land. While stories are told about the water spirits and the threat of the land being taken over for development, Aimée zones out, distracting themselves from the bullying and isolation they've experienced since expressing their non-binary identity. When Aimée accidentally wanders off, they are transported to an alternate dimension populated by traditional Anishinaabe figures in a story inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
To gain the way back home, Aimée is called on to help Trickster by hunting down dark water spirits with guidance from Paayehnsag. On their journey, Aimée faces off with the land-grabbing Queen and her robotic guards and fights the dark water spirits against increasingly stacked odds. Illustrated by KC Oster with a modern take on their own Ojibwe style and cultural representation, Rabbit Chase is a story of self-discovery, community, and finding one's place in the world.
The Second Chance of Benjamin Waterfalls
A middle-grade novel by James Bird about a boy sent to his Ojibwe family to straighten out his life.
Benjamin Waterfalls comes from a broken home, and the quickest fix he’s found for his life is to fill that emptiness with stuff he steals and then sells. But he’s been caught one too many times, and when he appears before a tough judge, his mother proposes sending him to “boot camp” at the Ojibwe reservation where they used to live.
Soon he is on his way to Grand Portage, Minnesota, to live with his father – the man Benny hasn’t seen in years. Not only is “boot camp” not what he expects, but his rehabilitation seems to be in the hands of the tribal leader’s daughter, who wears a mask. Why? Finding the answer to this and so many other questions prove tougher than any military-style boot camp. Will answers be enough for Benny to turn his life around and embrace his second chance?
Race to the Sun
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Indigenous fantasy writer Rebecca Roanhorse's thrilling adventure about a Navajo girl who discovers she's a monsterslayer.
*Fans of Hugo and Nebula winner Roanhorse will appreciate her fast-paced prose, page-turning chapter endings, and most of all, strong female protagonist.--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he's Mr. Charles, her dad's new boss at the oil and gas company, and he's alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he's a threat, but her father won't believe her.
When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says Run!, the siblings and Nizhoni's best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . .
Timeless themes such as the importance of family and respect for the land resonate in this funny, fast-paced, and exciting quest adventure set in the American Southwest.
Endorsed by Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, soon to be a series on Disney+.
Still This Love Goes On
"A love letter to family, home, and Indigenous traditions ... This story reminds readers of the joy we experience upon returning to those whom we love and who love us."--Kirkus ★ Review
From Cree-Métis artist Julie Flett and Academy Award-winning icon Buffy Sainte-Marie comes a celebration of Indigenous community, and the enduring love we hold for the people and places we are far away from.
Based on Sainte-Marie's song of the same name, Still This Love Goes On combines Flett's breathtaking art with vivid lyrics to craft a stunning portrait of a Cree worldview. At the heart of this picture book is a gentle message about missing our loved ones, and the promise of seeing each other again.
This gem of a picture book features:
- Sheet music of Buffy Sainte-Marie's beloved song
- Notes from Sainte-Marie and Flett about their inspiration for the song and illustrations
Brimming with love for community and the land, Still This Love Goes On is destined to be read and sung for generations
May We Have Enough to Share
Award-winning author Richard Van Camp wrote this book to express his gratitude for all that surrounds him and his family.
The strength of their connections, the nature that provides for them, the love that is endless. Complemented by photos from photographers who celebrate their own gratefulness on the collective blog Tea & Bannock, the simple verse in May We Have Enough to Share is the perfect way to start or end your little one's days in gratitude.
An encounter with a pheasant (which may or may not be sleeping) takes a surprising turn in this sweetly serious and funny story of a Native American boy and his grandma
"Pull over, Grandma! Hurry!" Johnny says. Grandma does, and Johnny runs to show her what he spotted near the ditch: a sleeping pheasant. What Grandma sees is a small feathery hump. When Johnny wants to take it home, Grandma tries to tell him that the pheasant might have been hit by a car. But maybe she could use the feathers for her craftwork? So home with Grandma and Johnny the pheasant goes . . .
It's hard to say who is most surprised by what happens next--Grandma, Johnny, or the pheasant. But no one will be more delighted than the reader at this lesson about patience and kindness and respect for nature, imparted by Grandma's gentle humor, Johnny's happy hooting, and all the quiet wisdom found in Cheryl Minnema's stories of Native life and Julie Flett's remarkably evocative and beautiful illustrations.
We All Play
A BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR: New York Times, Washington Post, New York Public Library, Kirkus Reviews, Globe and Mail, Horn Book, and Boston Globe
STARRED Reviews in Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, The Horn Book, School Library Journal
A 2022 Best Book for Babies
From Julie Flett, the beloved author and illustrator of Birdsong, comes a joyous new book about playtime for babies, toddlers, and kids up to age 7.
Animals and kids love to play! This wonderful book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world. Beautiful illustrations show:
- birds who chase and chirp!
- bears who wiggle and wobble!
- whales who swim and squirt!
- owls who peek and peep!
- and a diverse group of kids who love to do the same, shouting:
We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna
At the end of the book, animals and children gently fall asleep after a fun day of playing outside, making this book a great bedtime story. A beautiful ode to the animals and humans we share our world with, We All Play belongs on every bookshelf.
This book also includes:
- A glossary of Cree words for wild animals in the book
- A pronunciation guide and link to audio pronunciation recordings
In this Native American story, Kara and Amanda are best-friend cousins. Then Kara leaves the city to move back to the Rez. Will their friendship stay the same?
Kara and Amanda hate not being together. Then it's time for the family reunion on the Rez. Each girl worries that the other hasn't missed her. But once they reconnect, they realize that they are still forever cousins. This story highlights the ongoing impact of the 1950s Indian Relocation Act on Native families, even today.
This tender story about navigating change reminds readers that the power of friendship and family can bridge any distance.
Sisters of the Neversea
In this beautifully reimagined story by NSK Neustadt Laureate and New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek), Native American Lily and English Wendy embark on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage to a fairy-tale island known as Neverland...
Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters. But with their feuding parents planning to spend the summer apart, what will become of their family--and their friendship?
Little do they know that a mysterious boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A boy who intends to take them away from home for good, to an island of wild animals, Merfolk, Fairies, and kidnapped children, to a sea of merfolk, pirates, and a giant crocodile.
A boy who calls himself Peter Pan.
In partnership with We Need Diverse Books
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.
Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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 (plus one scrappy rez dog).
They are the heroes of their own stories.
Featuring stories and poems by: Joseph Bruchac, Art Coulson, Christine Day, Eric Gansworth, Carole Lindstrom, Dawn Quigley, Rebecca Roanhorse, David A. Robertson, Andrea L. Rogers, Kim Rogers, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Monique Gray Smith, Traci Sorell, Tim Tingle, Erika T. Wurth, and Brian Young. In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.
****Four starred reviews!****
From the U.S.'s foremost Indigenous children's author comes a middle grade verse novel set during the COVID-19 pandemic, about a Wabanaki girl's quarantine on her grandparents' reservation and the local dog that becomes her best friend
Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She's there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There's a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration.
Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family and community safe: She protects her grandparents, and they protect her. She doesn't go outside to play with friends, she helps her grandparents use video chat, and she listens to and learns from their stories. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian's family knows that he'll protect them too.
Told in verse inspired by oral storytelling, this novel about the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the ways Malian's community has cared for one another through plagues of the past, and how they keep caring for one another today.
The Barren Grounds
Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in an epic middle-grade fantasy series from award-winning author David Robertson.
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. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything -- including them.
A People Magazine Best Book Fall 2021
From celebrated Indigenous author Thomas King and award-winning Métis artist Natasha Donovan comes a powerful graphic novel about a family caught between nations.
Borders is a masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other.
Borders explores nationhood from an Indigenous perspective and resonates deeply with themes of identity, justice, and belonging.
Jo Jo Makoons
Hello/Boozhoo--meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this first book in an all-new chapter book series by Dawn Quigley celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is.
Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn--about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly.
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...
The Heartdrum imprint centers a wide range of intertribal voices, visions, and stories while welcoming all young readers, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes. In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.
We Are Still Here!
Twelve Native American kids present historical and contemporary laws, policies, struggles, and victories in Native life, each with a powerful refrain: We are still here!
Too often, Native American history is treated as a finished chapter instead of relevant and ongoing. This companion book to the award-winning We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga offers readers everything they never learned in school about Native American people's past, present, and future. Precise, lyrical writing presents topics including: forced assimilation (such as boarding schools), land allotment and Native tribal reorganization, termination (the US government not recognizing tribes as nations), Native urban relocation (from reservations), self-determination (tribal self-empowerment), Native civil rights, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), religious freedom, economic development (including casino development), Native language revival efforts, cultural persistence, and nationhood.
I Sang You Down from the Stars
A New York Times bestseller!
This unique baby book sings with Native cultural detail, while striking a universal chord in its celebration of the blossoming of love that comes with expecting and welcoming a new baby--with art by New York Times bestselling illustrator and Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade
As she waits for the arrival of her new baby, a mother-to-be gathers gifts to create a sacred bundle. A white feather, cedar and sage, a stone from the river . . .
Each addition to the bundle will offer the new baby strength and connection to tradition, family, and community. As they grow together, mother and baby will each have gifts to offer each other.
Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Michaela Goade, two Indigenous creators, bring beautiful words and luminous art together in a resonant celebration of the bond between mother and child.
We Are Water Protectors
Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Medal
#1 New York Times Bestseller
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption—a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.
Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .
When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth
And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.
Winner of the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
A 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor Winner
“A wonderful and sweet book . . . Lovely stuff.” —The New York Times Book Review
Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.
Fry bread is food.
It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.
Fry bread is time.
It brings families together for meals and new memories.
Fry bread is nation.
It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.
Fry bread is us.
It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.
A 2020 Charlotte Huck Recommended Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Picture Book of 2019
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019
A School Library Journal Best Picture Book of 2019
A Booklist 2019 Editor's Choice
A Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book of 2019
A Goodreads Choice Award 2019 Semifinalist
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of 2019
A National Public Radio (NPR) Best Book of 2019
An NCTE Notable Poetry Book
A 2020 NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
A 2020 ALA Notable Children's Book
A 2020 ILA Notable Book for a Global Society
2020 Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year List
One of NPR's 100 Favorite Books for Young Readers
Nominee, Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award 2022-2022
Nominee, Illinois Monarch Award 2022
On the Trapline
A picture book celebrating Indigenous culture and traditions. The Governor General Award--winning team behind When We Were Alone shares a story that honors our connections to our past and our grandfathers and fathers.
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, "Is this your trapline?" Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago -- a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child's wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.
Virtual Events Across the Country
These virtual programs are not hosted by Wilmette Public Library. Please contact the organization in charge of the event to verify details and register.
Native Seed Stories in Michigan: Food Sovereignty From the Ground Up
Reader’s Advisory: Native American and Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month
Brave Girls Virtual Storytime: Jingle Dancer