6 Books for Native American Heritage Month 2023

Happy Native American Heritage Month! We encourage everyone to seek out books written by Indigenous creators to celebrate this month and beyond.

Head over to Indigenous Reads Rising for a variety of best practices articles and suggestions on where to find more books by Native authors and illustrators.

Check out our recommendations by Native storytellers for readers of every age.

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

By Chief Jake Swamp (Kahniakehaka or Mohawk Nation)
Illustrated by Erwin Printup (Cayuga/Tuscarora)

A traditional Haudenosaunee celebration of the beauty and spirit of Mother Earth, as told by a contemporary Mohawk chief. Also available in Spanish as Gracias te damos: una ofrenda de los Nativos Americanos al amenecer de cada día . View the teacher’s guide.

Indio no más

By Charlene Willing McManis (Umpqua/Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) & Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation)

Winner of the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle Grade Book

⭐ “What begins as a story of displacement quickly turns into a story of childhood fun and antics colored by Umpqua culture and the racial tensions of the civil rights movement set in the lively and culturally diverse city of L.A.” — Booklist, starred review

⭐ “Readers will be moved as they become invested in Regina’s predicament. Is she still Indian, American, or both—and what does that mean for her and her family?” — School Library Journal, starred review

View the Teacher’s Guide.

The Moonlit Vine

By Elizabeth Santiago (Taíno)

⭐ “A beautiful ode to Puerto Rican history . . . Santiago’s writing sparkles.” —Booklist, starred review

⭐ “Deeply moving, beautifully written, and inspiring.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Available in Spanish as Claro de luna. View the teacher’s guide.

Stone River Crossing

By Tim Tingle (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)

⭐ “This vital story will deepen readers’ understanding of the nation’s complex history.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

⭐ “Builds and twists, until the tension and intensity will have readers at the edge of their chairs.” —Booklist, starred review

⭐ “Richly descriptive and leavened with humor, Tingle’s complex novel offers valuable insights into rarely told history.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

View the teacher’s guide.

When the Shadbush Blooms

By Carla J. S. Messinger (Turtle Clan Lenape)
Illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden (Wolf Clan Mohawk)

“This book is a many-layered treasure.” —Dr. Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children’s Literature

View the teacher’s guide.

Where Wonder Grows

By Xelena González (Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan)
Illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia

A 2023 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winner

⭐ “Simply dazzling.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

⭐ “Lyrical words . . . emphasize the intergenerational ties that bind the characters and show Indigenous knowledge in the process of being passed down. Garcia’s portraits center affectionate familial gestures alongside mural-like views of sunset skies and evocative representations of fire, earth, air, and water.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Available in Spanish as Donde las maravillas crecen. View the teacher’s guide.

Additional Resources

READ: Teaching Native American Heritage Month: In Conversation with Editor Elise McMullen-Ciotti (Cherokee Nation)

WATCH: A Discussion of Contemporary Native Children’s Literature Webinar