Native American Heritage Month 2016

#NativeReads

First Nations Development Institute Celebrates Native American Heritage Month 2016
with the Native American Children's Literature Recommended Reading List

It's time to celebrate Native American Heritage Month 2016, and First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has a great new educational resource this year!

"We feel it is important to provide an opportunity for people to learn more about Native experiences from a culturally and historically accurate perspective,” said First Nations President & CEO Michael E. Roberts (Tlingit). "We have a responsibility to educate others by sharing authentic resources about Native histories, cultures and peoples.  To that end, we are offering a list that we refer to as  #NativeReads.  All of the books are written by Native authors and have been vetted by a Native expert."

First Nations partnered with Debbie Reese, Ph.D. (Nambé Pueblo), to hand pick the Native American Children's Literature Recommended Reading List. The idea is to encourage a “national read” and discussion about these important Native narratives. Dr. Reese, known for her expertise in the field of Native children’s literature, is an educator and has served on many national literacy boards. She is the editor and publisher of the American Indian in Children's Literature website. (The artwork at the top of this page is a portrait of reading list curator Dr. Debbie Reese. The artist, Julie Flett, is also the author of Wild Berries, one of the featured books.)

>> CLICK HERE TO GET THE READING LIST <<

The books are essential reading for young ones in Head Start and preschool, to elementary and middle schoolers. For high school students there are even Native comic books. The reading list is full of wonderful, culturally authentic stories and cover art. There is also a list of "Ten Ways to Make A Difference" with these books during Native American Heritage Month.

In October, First Nations began its celebration of Native American Heritage Month by specifically featuring five children's books from the list of 30. They are described below. There is an accompanying Discussion Guide for each of these five books.

 

FEATURED BOOKS

 

Wild Berries  by Julie Flett (Cree-Métis) for Head Start and Preschool

Wild Berries is a delightful story about Clarence and his grandma, picking blueberries in the woods. Written and illustrated by Cree-Métis artist Julie Flett, it embodies the significance of relationships between elders and children, and the teachings that are passed from one generation to the next. Every page in the bilingual text includes words such as grandma, bears and spider in Cree as well as in English. Publisher: Simply Read Books.

Find the Discussion Guide Here.

Learn More About the Author:  http://www.julieflett.com/books

 

Jingle Dancer  by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee (Creek) - for Early Elementary Grades K-3

Jingle Dancer is, at once, celebratory and meditative. Jenna, a Muscogee (Creek) girl living in a suburban neighborhood, is going to do the Jingle Dance for the first time. Native women in her family and community help her, gifting her with story and items she needs for the regalia she’ll wear when she dances. The story, set in the present day, dispels the idea that Native people no longer exist. It also demonstrates that Native ways of being are part of the lives of Native children, families, and their nations, today. Illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu and Cornelius Van Wright. Publisher: Harper Collins.

Find the Discussion Guide Here.

Learn More About the Author: http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2013/03/event-report-feral-nights-eternal.html

 

 

 

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse  by Joseph Marshall III (Sicangu Lakota) - for Middle Grades 4-7

In Joseph Marshall’s In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse, Jimmy, a Lakota boy, is being teased by other kids because he’s got blue eyes and brown hair. On a road trip with his grandpa, Jimmy learns that his great-great grandfather, Crazy Horse, also had brown hair. Along the way his grandfather gives him a Native point of view on the sites they visit, thereby teaching him an important lesson about biased presentations of history and the realities of war and conflict. Illustrated by Jim Yellowhawk. Publisher: Abrams Books.

Find the Discussion Guide Here.

Learn More About the Author: http://www.josephmarshall.com/

 

If I Ever Get Out of Here  by Eric Gansworth (Onondaga) - for High School Grades 8-12

If I Ever Get Out of Here is told from the point of view of Lewis Blake, a Tuscarora tribal member who knows about his tribes’ nationhood and all that Native nationhood entails. His knowledge is the norm, for him and others in his family and community. That knowledge is unknown by others in the story, like George – a white boy Lewis meets when he starts a new year at a non-reservation school. Through Lewis and his family, George and his family (and readers of If I Ever Get Out of Here) acquire a great deal of information about Native peoples. Gansworth also illustrated the book, with the jacket art and design by Christopher Stengel. Publisher: Scholastic.

Find the Discussion Guide Here.

Learn More About the Author: http://www.ericgansworth.com/

 

 

Super Indian Volume One  by Arigon Starr (Kickapoo) - Comics and Graphic Novels

In recent years, graphic novels and comics have shot to the top of bestseller lists. Some have won prestigious awards, too, with good reason. The genre itself appeals to the ever-growing interest in visual storytelling. Native writers are part of this genre, too, creating graphic novels and comic books in historical and modern fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. Kickapoo writer Arigon Starr brings a distinctive sense of humor to her story about Hubert (who kind of looks like Clark Kent) and how he got his super powers (eating tainted commodity cheese). Starr also illustrated the book. Publisher: Wacky Production Unlimited.

Find the Discussion Guide Here.

Learn More About the Author:  http://www.arigonstarr.com/

 

 

The full #NativeReads list including the "Ten Ways You Can Make a Difference" is available as a free PDF download at this link. It includes these five featured books plus the additional books for children and young people.

 

About Dr. Debbie Reese

Dr. Debbie Reese is an enrolled member of Nambé Pueblo and the curator of the Native American Children's Literature Recommended Reading list. She is an expert in the field of Native children’s literature, an educator and has served on many national literacy boards. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Dr. Reese is the editor and publisher of the American Indians in Children's Literature website. Photo by Della Nohl (White Earth Ojibwe).