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Subject of the Month  

A monthly display in the Purdy/Kresge Library featuring resources on specific thematic subjects.
Last Updated: Oct 30, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Native American Literature Print Page

November 2014

American Indian Heritage Image for November 2014

Selector: Emily Brush  

"For all children, it is time to know and acknowledge the truths of history. Only then will they come to have the understanding and respect for each other that now, more than ever, will be necessary for life to continue."

- Oyate "About Us"


Print References


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A Broken Flute - Doris Seale; Beverly Slapin (Editor)
Call Number: Purdy-Kresge Library Oversize E 77.4 .B76 2005
ISBN: 0759107785
Publication Date: 2005-08-04
Evaluates hundreds of children's and young adult books on the Native American experience, culture, and traditions.

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Keepers of the Animals - Michael J. Caduto; Joseph Bruchac; John Kahionhes Fadden (Illustrator); Vine Deloria (Introduction by)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398.208997 C115k
ISBN: 1555913865
Publication Date: 1997-07-14
These traditional Native American stories along with related activities show parents and teachers how to teach children the importance of wildlife in Native American traditions. As the stories unfold and the activities come to life, the importance of our connections to animals became apparent. Features traditional Native American stories. Includes field-tested activities appropriate for all ages. Connects wildlife ecology and environmental issues. Fosters creative thinking and the synthesis of knowledge and experience. The stories in this book present some of the basic perspectives that Native North American parents, aunts and uncles use to teach the young. They are phrased in terms that modern youngsters can understand and appreciate, along with eye-catching illustrations and photographs throughout. Look for other Fulcrum books in this series: Keepers of the Earth, Keepers of Life and Keepers of the Night.

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American Indian Themes in Young Adult Literature - Paulette Fairbanks Molin
Call Number: Purdy-Kresge Library PS 173 .I6 M65 2005
ISBN: 0810850818
Publication Date: 2005-04-20
This book analyzes American Indian characters and themes in young adult literature, outlining plots and evaluating content from a native perspective. Teachers, librarians, parents, and young adult readers seeking information about American Indian-themed literature for young adults will want to consult this resource. It points out works that foster misinformation and stereotypes, but examines the growing number of authors that counteract such messages as well. The book also includes a bibliography that will lead audiences to further reading.

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Multicultural Programs for Tweens and Teens - Linda B. Alexander (Editor); Nahyun Kwon (Editor)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Z 718.3 .M85 2010
ISBN: 0838935826
Publication Date: 2010-01-01
"Multicultural Programs for Tweens and Teens" is a one-stop resource that encourages children and young adults to explore different cultures. The 50, flexible programming ideas allow you to choose a program specific to your scheduling needs; create an event that reflects a specific culture; and, recommend further resources to tweens and teens interested in learning more about diverse cultures.

Native American Youth Literature Websites

American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

  • Oyate
    "For Indian children growing up in the 21st century, it is as important as ever for them to know who they are and learn about the histories that they come from. For all children, it is time to know and acknowledge the truths of history. Only then will they come to have the understanding and respect for each other that now, more than ever, will be necessary for life to continue. "

    - Oyate "About Us"
  • American Indians in Children's Literature
    Established in 2006, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society.

The American Indian Experience Database

  • American Indian Experience
    The American Indian Experience offers access to an online library, featuring more than 150 volumes of scholarship and reference content, hundreds of primary documents, and thousands of images. From Pre-contact to the present day, from the Inuit of the north to the Seminoles of Florida, AIE is meant for anyone wishing to learn more about America's Native Peoples.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

 Book Trailer for Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

The trailer was the winning entry for the 2011 King County Library System's Read Flip Win Contest.

American Indian Youth Literature Award

American Indian Library Association

"The awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts. Additional information about the"

- ALIA website


Picture of the Display


Young Adult Books

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie; Ellen Forney (Illustrator)
Call Number: Juvenile Fiction Al28ab
ISBN: 0316013692
Publication Date: 2009-04-01
Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie's YA debut, released in hardcover to instant success, recieving seven starred reviews, hitting numerous bestseller lists, and winning the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

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Code Talker - Joseph Bruchac
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Fiction B83co
ISBN: 9780803729216
Publication Date: 2005-03-17
Throughout World War II, in the conflict fought against Japan, Navajo code talkers were a crucial part of the U.S. effort, sending messages back and forth in an unbreakable code that used their native language. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with their code, they saved countless American lives. Yet their story remained classified for more than twenty years. But now Joseph Bruchac brings their stories to life for young adults through the riveting fictional tale of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker. His grueling journey is eye-opening and inspiring. This deeply affecting novel honors all of those young men, like Ned, who dared to serve, and it honors the culture and language of the Navajo Indians.

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I Am Apache - Tanya Landman
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Fiction L2355ia
ISBN: 9780763636647
Publication Date: 2008-08-26
A young woman seeks to avenge her brother's death by becoming an Apache warrior — and learns a startling truth about her own identity. After watching helplessly as Mexican raiders brutally murder her little brother, fourteen-year-old Siki is filled with a desire for vengeance and chooses to turn away from a woman's path to become a warrior of her Apache tribe. Though some men, like envious Keste, wish to see Siki fail, she passes test after test, and her skills grow under the guidance of her tribe's greatest warrior, Golahka. But Keste begins to whisper about Siki's father's dishonorable death, and even as Siki earns her place among the warriors, she senses a dark secret in her past — one that will throw into doubt everything she knows. Taking readers on a sweeping and suspenseful journey through the nineteenth-century American Southwest, Tanya Landman draws on historical accounts to imagine the Black Mountain Apache as a tribe in a fight for survival against the devastating progress of nations.

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Flight - Sherman Alexie
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library PS 3551 .L35774 F57 2007
ISBN: 0802170374
Publication Date: 2007-04-17
The best-selling author of multiple award-winning books returns with his first novel in ten years, a powerful, fast and timely story of a troubled foster teenager -- a boy who is not a "legal" Indian because he was never claimed by his father -- who learns the true meaning of terror. About to commit a devastating act, the young man finds himself shot back through time on a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He resurfaces in the form of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, inhabits the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Big Horn, and then rides with an Indian tracker in the 19th Century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all he's seen. This is Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant -- making us laugh while breaking our hearts. Simultaneously wrenching and deeply humorous, wholly contemporary yet steeped in American history, 'Flight' is irrepressible, fearless, and again, groundbreaking Alexie.


Middle Grade Books

Louise Erdrich

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As Long As the Rivers Flow - Larry Loyie; Constance Brissenden; Heather D. Holmlund (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy-Kresge Library Juvenile Biography L957A1
ISBN: 0888994737
Publication Date: 2003-02-18
Describes the summer of Larry Loyie with his family before he is forcibly taken to a government-sponsored residential school.

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The Birchbark House - Louise Erdrich (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Fiction Er287b
ISBN: 0786814543
Publication Date: 2002-06-03
"[In this] story of a young Ojibwa girl, Omakayas, living on an island in Lake Superior around 1847, Louise Erdrich is reversing the narrative perspective used in most children's stories about nineteenth-century Native Americans. Instead of looking out at 'them' as dangers or curiosities, Erdrich, drawing on her family's history, wants to tell about 'us', from the inside. The Birchbark House establishes its own ground, in the vicinity of Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House' books." --The New York Times Book Review

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Sees Behind Trees - Michael Dorris
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Fiction D737se 1999
ISBN: 0786813571
Publication Date: 1999-05-18
The best adolescent fiction offers more than an escape from teenage turmoil; it instructs as it entertains, giving young readers a view into lives--fictional though they may be--outside their own. Without sentimentality or preachiness but with clear awareness of this power, Michael Dorris tells the story of Walnut, a young Native American boy. Because Walnut can't see well, he has difficulty meeting the challenges, especially feats of skill with bow and arrow, that prove he is ready to receive a new name and become an adult. When a sympathetic uncle invents a new contest to "see what can't be seen," the boy's other senses bring success and earn him the name Sees Behind Trees. Dorris could easily stop there, but he nudges the youngster onward through a series of trials that show adulthood is about more than getting there. (Ages 8 and up)

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As Long As the Rivers Flow - Paula Gunn Allen; Patricia Clark Smith
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 970.00497 Al54as
ISBN: 0590478699
Publication Date: 1996-10-01
Profiles of 9 Native Americans, including Geronimo, Will Rogers, and Maria Tallchief.

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Soft Rain - Cornelia Cornelissen
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Fiction C815so 1999
ISBN: 0440412420
Publication Date: 1999-11-09
In Soft Rain, a 9-year-old Cherokee girl finds herself in the same situation as Sweet Leaf as soldiers arrive one day to take her and her mother to walk the Trail of Tears, leaving the rest of her family behind. It all begins when Soft Rain's teacher reads a letter stating that as of May 23, 1838, all Cherokee people are to leave their land and move to what many Cherokees called "the land of darkness". . .the west. Soft Rain is confident that her family will not have to move, because they have just planted corn for the next harvest. Because Soft Rain knows some of the white man's language, she soon learns that they must travel across rivers, valleys, and mountains. On the journey, she is forced to eat the white man's food and sees many of her people die. Her courage and hope are restored when she is reunited with her father, a leader on the Trail, chosen to bring her people safely to their new land.


Children's Books

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The Sun's Daughter - Patrice Sherman; R. Gregory Christie (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398 .2089975 Sh55su
ISBN: 0618324305
Publication Date: 2005-03-28
Once there was a time when the people of the earth did not have to tend the fields, for the Sun’s daughters—Maize, Pumpkin, and Red Bean—walked among them, leaving lush crops wherever they stepped. But then headstrong Maize disobeyed her mother and was trapped by cold, lonely Silver, and the Sun vowed not to touch the earth again until Maize was returned. How the tiny pewee bird saved Maize and kept the people from starving is eloquently told in this tale, which, though based on an Iroquois legend, parallels the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter. The lovely, unusual images in the text are dramatically complemented by R. Gregory Christie’s masterful paintings. Afterword.

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Morning on the Lake - Jan Bourdeau Waboose; Karen Reczuch (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy-Kresge Library Wills Juvenile PE W1113m
ISBN: 1550743732
Publication Date: 1997-09-01
In the first of three linked stories, a young boy and his grandfather set out in a birchbark canoe early one spring morning. Together, they discover the peaceful beauty of the lake. In the second story, the sun rises high in the summer sky as they climb a rocky cliff for a bird's-eye view of the land. And, finally, as an autumn night descends, they venture into the woods. Under the patient and gentle guidance of his grandfather, the boy gradually comes to respect the ways of nature and to understand his own place in the world.

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The Legend of the Lady Slipper - Margi Preus (Retold by); Lise Lunge-Larsen (Retold by); Andrea Arroyo (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398. 2089973 L972l
ISBN: 0395905125
Publication Date: 1999-03-26
The lady slipper grows in the northern woods to mark the courage and strength of a small girl who lived there long ago - a girl who saved her people from a terrible disease by listening carefully to the whispering snow, the rumbling ice, and the dancing northern lights. Illustrated with paintings as graceful and delicate as the lady slipper itself, this unforgettable retelling shows how a child's lost slippers became one of nature's most lovely spring flowers.

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Spider Spins a Story - Jill Max; Robert Annesley (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398.208997 Sp42
ISBN: 0873586115
Publication Date: 1997-07-01
Beautifully illustrated with the exceptional artwork of six Native American illustrators, this collection of spider legends and myths is endorsed by tribal authorities. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the American Indian Theater Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Full color.

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The Snail Girl Brings Water - Geri Keams; Richard Ziehler-Martin (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398.2089972 K192g
ISBN: 087358662X
Publication Date: 1998-09-01
When the People emerge from below the earth into the world we live in today, they discover there is no fresh water. Someone must go back down into the old world below the sea to bring back some pure water so that First Woman can sing her song of magic and make many streams and rivers flow. Snail Girl saves the day in this retelling of a traditional Navajo creation myth.

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The Rough-Face Girl - Rafe Martin; David Shannon (Illustrator)
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398 .2089973 M365r
ISBN: 0399218599
Publication Date: 1992-04-29
In an Algonquin village by the shores of Lake Ontario, many young women have tried to win the affections of the powerful Invisible Being who lives with his sister in a great wigwam near the forest. Then comes Rough-Face Girl, scarred from working by the fire. Can she succeed where her beautiful, cruel sisters have failed?

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The Boy Who Lived with the Bears - Joseph Bruchac
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398 .2089975 B83b
ISBN: 0060212888
Publication Date: 1995-09-01
The Parabola Storytime series is a collection of stories and myths by the leading storytellers of Native American tribes. Originally produced by "Parabola" magazine in audio format, many of these stories appear here in written form for the first time, with the permission of tribal elders, and are enhanced by artwork authentic to the tradition. These stories evoke the beauty, wisdom, and living spirit of surviving oral traditions. In these six Iroquois tales, animals showcase the best of human emotions and spirit. Buzzard flies to the Creator to bring back clothes for all the birds. Tiny Chipmunk takes on massive and powerful Bear in a challenge to determine whether or not the sun will keep rising. In the title story, a young boy has lost his human family and finds love in the home of the Bears. Wise and foolish, cowardly and brave animals teach humans how to live better lives, while providing entertainment. This replaces 006021287X.

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The Trail of Tears - Joseph Bruchac
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 975.0049755 B83t
ISBN: 0679990526
Publication Date: 1999-09-21
In 1838, settlers moving west forced the great Cherokee Nation, and their chief John Ross, to leave their home land and travel 1,200 miles to Oklahoma. An epic story of friendship, war, hope, and betrayal. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Spirit of the Cedar People - Chief Lelooska; Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff
Call Number: Purdy Kresge Library Juvenile Non-Fiction 398.208997 L539sp
ISBN: 0789425718
Publication Date: 1998-09-15
Echoes of the Elders was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. Now, Spirit of the Cedar People is a second volume of myths and legends drawn from the oral tradition of the Northwest Coast Indians. A companion audio CD features the voice of the chief reading these powerful stories. An ALA Notable Children's Book. Full color.



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Sherman Alexie - Jeff Berglund (Editor); Jan Roush (Editor)
Call Number: eBook Available Online
ISBN: 1607810085
Publication Date: 2010-12-31
Sherman Alexie is, by many accounts, the most widely read American Indian writer in the United States and likely in the world.  A literary polymath, Alexie's nineteen published books span a variety of genres and include his most recent National Book Award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Now, for the first time, a volume of critical essays is devoted to Alexie's work both in print and on the big screen.  Editors Jeff Berglund and Jan Roush have assembled twelve leading scholars of American Indian literature to provide new perspectives on a writer with his finger on the pulse of America. Interdisciplinary in their approach to Alexie's work, these essays cover the writer's entire career, and are insightful and accessible to scholars and lay readers alike.  This volume is a worthy companion to the work of one of our nations's most recognized contemporary voices.  

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Multicultural Literature and Response - Lynn Atkinson Smolen; Ruth A. Oswald
Call Number: eBook Available Online
ISBN: 9781598844757
Publication Date: 2010-12-01
When multicultural literature is integrated into the curriculum, it enriches the context for learning in important ways, validating the cultures of individual students and developing understanding and respect across the student population. Consider that minority students make up almost half of public school enrollment, and it becomes clear why multicultural literature is such an effective teaching tool.

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Flying with the Eagle, Racing the Great Bear - Joseph Bruchac
Call Number:
ISBN: 9781555917753
Publication Date: 2011-06-21
In every American Indian culture, there comes a time in each boy's life when he must walk forth on his own, leave his home and the protection of his family to prove to himself and to his people that he can survive and grow. Traditional stories passed down from father to son were often used to offer examples of the positive qualities of manhood. Flying with the Eagle, Racing the Great Bear is a continent-spanning collection of sixteen such thrilling tales in which young men must face great enemies, find the strength and endurance within themselves to succeed, and take their place by the side of their elders. Joseph Bruchac is a traditional storyteller and writer whose work often reflects his Abenaki Indian ancestry and his lifelong interest in American Indian history and culture. Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and Storyteller of the Year from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, he is the author of more than one hundred and twenty books for children and adults.


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