Top 10 Books For Indigenous Month

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time to recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. In honour and recognition of Indigenous month, I am sharing some old and new favorite indigenous picture books from my collection.

NOTE: For those of you who have or plan to register for a GEARPICKS PACK picture book subscription service or ADD ON PACK for the 2023-24 school year, I will be including several of these newer titles in your subscription boxes so please check the descriptors.

Âmî Osâwâpikones Dear Dandelion – SJ Okemow

A simply gorgeous book about finding beauty in everything, being grateful for all, and taking care of the world around us. Beautiful illustrations and simple text. (Publisher: Annick Press, Date: May 23 2023 )

GEARPICKS ADD ON PACK Selection – Connecting to Land

Walking Together – Elder Albert Marshall

A beautiful story that explores the respectful relationship between people and nature for the benefit of all. This book encourages sharing, living, and existing together and is a great book to introduce young children to be mindful of their impact on earth. (Publisher: Annick Press, Publication Date: April 4 2023)

GEARPICKS ADD ON PACK Selection – Connecting to Land

Forever Our Home – Tonya Simpson

A beautiful lullaby of the Cree author sung to her child. The illustrations are soft and lovely and pair wonderfully with the text celebrating the ancestral relationship between Indigenous children and the land that is forever their home. (Publisher: Orca Book Publishers, Publication Date: May 16, 2023)

GEARPICKS ADD ON PACK Selection – Connecting to Land

When We Had Sled Dogs: A Story from the Trapline – ācimowin ohci wanihikīskanāhk – Ida Tremblay

Inspired by Elder Ida Tremblay’s childhood memories, and told in English with Woodland Cree words and phrases, the story follows the seasonal cycle of trapline life in Northern Saskatchewan. (Publisher: Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, Publication Date: May 1, 2019)

Tanna’s Owl – Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley

I love this story about a little Inuit girl’s hard work and effort taking care of a baby owl. I really liked that it introduced the concept of never really being able to own something that is a part of nature, and of taking care of something even when you don’t particularly want the responsibility – an important message not always found in children’s books about pets. (Publisher: Inhabit Media, Publication Date: Jan. 7, 2020)

Still This Love Goes On – Buffy Sainte-Marie

This song-lyrics turned picture book by Canadian Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and gorgeously illustrated by Julie Flett celebrates seasons, nature, and community. A beautiful story of hope and change. (September 2, 2022 by Greystone Kids)

Finding My Dance – Ria Thundercloud

Professional Indigenous dancer Ria Thundercloud tells the true story of her path to dance and how it helped her take pride in her Native American heritage. (Published September 13, 2022 by Penguin Workshop)

Berry Song – Michaela Goade

While a grandmother teaches her grandchild how to forage berries and other foods, she also enriches her with Tlingit culture, lore, and traditions her grandchild will be able to pass on. GORGEOUS illustrations and who knew there were so many different kinds of berries?? (Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Publication Date: July 19 2022 – Caldecott Honour book 2023)

On The TrapLine – David A. Robertson

A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit the trapline; a place where people hunt and live off the land, and the special place where Moshom grew up. Beautiful story that honors our connections to the past and our grandfathers and fathers. (Publisher: Tundra Books, Publication Date: May 4 2021)

The Barren Grounds – David A. Robertson

The first of a middle grade series is a cross between The Chronicles of Narnia and Indigenous folklore. It tells the story of Morgan and Eli, two indigenous children who happen upon a magical world in the attic of their foster home. Love the fantasy-sci-fi element! This book is a favorite for class read-alouds and Literature circles. (Publisher: Puffin Canada, Publication Date: Aug. 31 2021)

Birdsong – Julie Flett

I am a huge fan of Canadian illustrator and author Julie Flett. Her lovely story celebrates nature, the changing seasons and an intergenerational friendship between a little girl and her elderly neighbour. When Katherina moves from her home by the sea, she finds her new life very different. She starts to explore her new surroundings and gets to know her elderly neighbour, Agnes. (Publisher: Greystone Kids, Publication Date: Sept. 30 2019)

When We Are Kind – Monique Gray Smith

This lovely, heart warming story is a perfect anchor book for teaching Powerful Understanding (deepening my understanding of others). It is a simple story about being kind, and features Indigenous children. While it is important to share stories about indigenous experiences, culture and beliefs, I also look for books that focus on more diverse themes that feature indigenous characters. (Publisher: Orca Book Publishers, Publication Date: Oct. 13 2020)

Pow Wow Day – Traci Sorell

While 8 year old River is not able to join in the dance at the celebration because of a recent illness, readers learn alongside her as she discovers the richness of powwows and the importance of community. Vivid and hopeful story. (Publisher: Charlesbridge, Publication Date: Feb. 8 2022)

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you found one or two new books to add to your indigenous collection!

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