Loading Library Hours...

Native American Children’s and Young Adult Literature

S-Collection Home  > Find Children’s Books > S-Collection Bibliographies > Native American Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Most books are located in the School (S-) Collection (Room 101, Main Library) of the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL). However, books may also be located at the Center for Children’s Books and older books may be located in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (Room 346, Main Library), or in the Oak Street Facility. To verify the location of an item, search for the book in the Library Catalog. If you require assistance locating an item, please ask for assistance at the SSHEL Information Desk.

Online Resources

  • American Indians in Children’s Literature This blog offers “a critical discussion of American Indians in children’s books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society-at-large.” In addition to the main postings, the site offers links to related articles on the web, lesson plans, first-person accounts of working with Native-American themed children’s books, links to critical book reviews, and links to the websites of Native American authors and writers. The blog is updated regularly and offers a searchable archive.
  • American Indian Library Association The American Indian Library Association (AILA) biennially honors the youth literature with the “very best writing and illustrations by Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples of North America.” Authors or illustrators may win the American Indian Youth Literature award in the categories Best Picture Book, Best Middle Grade Book, and Best Young Adult Book. The winners and honorees for 2022 are available on the main webpage. In addition to the book awards, the AILA FAQ page links to a list of resources relating to Native American youth literature and library services for Indigenous Communities.
  • Native American Children’s and Young Adult Books This site provides annotated lists of children’s and young adult contemporary and historical works with Native American themes and/or by Native American authors and illustrators, sorted by genre. Also included is a brief, annotated list of resources for teachers and librarians.

Print Resources

S.016.97300497 K957a 1995
American Indian Reference and Resource Books for Children and Young Adults. 2nd ed. Barbara J. Kuipers. 1995.

The first part of this guide discusses how to evaluate literature about Native Americans and how to use it in schools. The second part is a bibliography arranged by subject according to major Dewey class numbers. Each annotated entry includes subject headings and reading level. Subject and author/title indexes, a list of related bibliographies, and publishers’ addresses are also provided. This book is also available online through the UIUC online collection.

Q. 016.3058997 B787
A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children (Contemporary Native American Communities No. 14). Beverly Slapin and Doris Seale (ed). 2005.
This work is a collection of essays, articles, poems, book reviews, resources, illustrations, and selection criteria regarding Native American depictions and issues in children’s literature. Included is a bibliography of books by and about Native Americans that the authors recommend for use with children, with grade levels and tribal information included.

016.8108 Y82c
Children’s and Young Adult Literature by Native Americans: A Guide for Librarians, Teachers, Parents, and Students.. Sherry York. 2003.

This volume provides bibliographic information for approximately 390 books by Native American authors, organized by type: fiction, folklore, storytelling and drama, poetry, and nonfiction. Each title’s entry includes a brief summary, subject headings, interest and reading levels, journals in which the title was reviewed, awards, and notes (such as inclusion in reading programs or relevant websites). Brief author information, a list of publishers, and an index are also included.

S.978.00497 K541
Kids Explore the Heritage of Western Native Americans. Westridge Young Writers Workshop. 1995.

This book gives children a good introduction to Native North American culture by relating real-life stories about members of various Indian tribal nations. Provides a rich blend of text, photos, and young people’s observations, drawing on folk stories, Native arts, and history.

Q. S.810.9 B435n
Native American Picture Books of Change: The Art of Historic Children’s Editions. Rebecca C. Benes. 2004.
This text provides clear descriptions of and sample illustrations from historic picture books illustrated by Native Americans, including those produced by the government for Indian schools. The 106 color plates and 44 black and white illustrations center on “change,” or the adaptations in Native communities following the wars of the 18th and 19th centuries. References and an index are included.

S.016.813 An24n
Native Americans in Fiction: A Guide to 765 Books for Librarians and Teachers, K-9. Vicki Anderson. 1994.

This text provides bibliographic information on 765 works of fiction. The guide is arranged alphabetically by tribe and each entry includes a brief annotation with information about author, title, and grade level.

S. 016.8108 C883n
Native North Americans in Literature for Youth: A Selective Annotated Bibliography for K-12. Alice Crosetto and Rajinder Garcha. 2013.
This guide presents annotated entries for fiction and non-fiction books featuring Native American characters and culture, emphasizing works published from 1995-2013 and selecting books with realistic and authentic portrayals of native culture.  Each entry provides a citation for the work, ISBN number, grade levels of audience, a brief annotation, and relevant review quotations and awards.  The chapters group the citations by geographic region, history, religion, social life and traditions, nation, oral literature, biographies, fiction, and reference.  The book offers resources for educators, media and internet resources as well as a list of books featuring Native Americans that have won awards.  Author and editor, illustrator and photographer, title, nations, series, subject, book award, and grade/level indexes are included.

011.62 C812P
Peoples of the American West: Historical Perspectives through Children’s Literature.Mary Hurlbut Cordier and María A. Pérez-Stable. 1989.

This volume analyzes approximately 100 children’s literature books set in the American West beyond the Mississippi River, from the 1530s to the early 1900s. The first part of the text provides an introduction and discussion. The second part contains book annotations with publication information; reading level; location and date of the story; race, sex, age, and nationality of the main characters; a synopsis; commentaries on the illustrations and strengths of the book; and items for discussion. References and an author/title/illustrator index are included.

810.9 Su81r
Roots and Branches: A Resource of Native American Literature Themes, Lessons, and Bibliographies. Dorothea M. Susag. 1998.

This resource offers teachers an opportunity to learn and to teach Native American literature in context. Lessons, units, and activities keyed to grade level offer practical support. Detailed annotated bibliographies direct the teacher to a wealth of other historical, cultural, and educational resources.