Featured books by Joseph Bruchac

A Boy Called Slow

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Rocco Baviera
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Like most Lakota Sioux boys, Slow yearns for the special vision or manly deed that will inspire his permanent, adult name. Encouraged by splendid stories of his father's bravery, wisdom and leadership, Slow focuses his energy on becoming a warrior. Friends gradually begin to associate his name with careful deliberation. When the moment of his manhood arrives, Slow rides heroically against Crow warriors, earning the name Tatan'ka Iyota'ke (translated, on the final page, as Sitting Bull). — Publishers Weekly

Between Earth and Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Thomas Locker
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction, Myths and Legends

Bruchac frames 11 legends of Native American sacred places with a conversation between Little Turtle and his uncle, Old Bear, who says, "There are sacred places all around us…They are found in the East and in the North, in the South and in the West, as well as Above, Below, and the place Within."…The text is printed in stanzas, enhancing the image of prose poems.

Buffalo Song

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Bill Farnsworth
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

For thousands of years, massive herds of buffalo roamed across much of North America, but by the 1870s, fewer than fifteen hundred animals remained. With reverent care, Walking Coyote and his family endeavored to bring back the buffalo herds, one magnificent creature at a time. Here is the inspiring story of the first efforts to save the buffalo, an animal sacred to Native Americans and a powerful symbol of the American West.

Children of the Longhouse

By: Joseph Bruchac
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this coming-of-age story, the children of the longhouse are 11-year-old Ohkwa'ri and Itsi:tsia. Twin brother and sister, they live in a Mohawk town in the traditional homelands of what is now eastern New York State in 1491. Reflecting the balance between male and female roles in Iroquois society, the book's chapters alternate between the events and perspectives of Ohkwa'ri and Itsi:tsia, who very definitely see things differently. Bruchac seamlessly incorporates an impressive amount of information about pre-contact Mohawk culture, society, and beliefs, and tells a good story as well. — Oyate

Crazy Horse's Vision

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Product Description: Joseph Bruchac tells the compelling story of how a young boy named Curly seeks a vision in the hope of saving his people — and grows into the brave and fierce warrior Crazy Horse. Sioux artist S. D. Nelson's paintings, in the traditional ledger style of the Plains Indians, evokes the drama and the tragedy of this important American figure.

Dog People: Native Dog Stories

By: Joseph Bruchac
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In Dog People: Native Dog Stories, the voice of an Abenaki storyteller takes children back 10,000 years to the days when children and dogs had especially close relationships. In these Native American adventure stories, children and dogs together must use their wits to survive the dangers of the natural world. — Midwest Book Review

Eagle Song

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Dan Andreasen
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Danny Bigtree's family has moved to a new city, and Danny can't seem to fit in. He's homesick for the Mohawk reservation, and the kids in his class tease him about being an Indian — the thing that makes Danny most proud. Can Danny, drawing on his Mohawk heritage, find the courage to stand up for himself?

How Chipmunk Got His Stripes

By: James Bruchac, Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Ariane Dewey, Jose Aruego
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Myths and Legends

When Bear brags and Chipmunk teases, the results are an angry bear and a striped chipmunk. Animated language and colorful illustrations tell a Native American pourquoi story — a tale that explains why — that's perfect for sharing aloud.

Keepers of the Night: Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children

By: Joseph Bruchac, Michael J. Caduto
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Nonfiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Myths and Legends

In Native cultures, the night is a crucial part of the Great Circle and balance in the universe. In the tradition of the best-selling Keepers of the Earth and Keepers of the Animals, this collection offers unique ideas about understanding the natural world by looking at it through a nocturnal lens. Resources and activities include legends and myths, puppet shows, stargazing guides, campfire topics, and traditional dances.

Native American Games and Stories

By: James Bruchac, Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Kayeri Akweks
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

An important credo of Native life states that you can learn while you play and play while you learn. Readers can pore over intriguing stories and play these fun-filled games as they learn how global thought and beliefs can transcend their own lives. Sample themes, stories, and games include the Ball Players in the Sky (Passamaquoddy); Gluskabe Brings the Summer (Abenaki); and Nanabush and the Ducks (Anishinabe).

Pushing up the Sky: Seven Native American Plays for Children

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Teresa Flavin
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Genre: Fiction

Bruchac adapts seven traditional tales from various tribes into plays for children. Each play is introduced with a brief tribal background, a list of characters, suggestions for props and scenery, and recommended costumes. Representing tribes from Bruchac's own Abenaki to the Cherokee, Tlingit, and Zuni, the plays are mostly pourquoi tales, explaining how mosquitos came into the world or why stars are visible at night.

Raccoon's Last Race

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Ariane Dewey
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Watching a raccoon's unwieldy movements, you'd think that it always walked that way. Not so, according to an Abenaki tale, vividly retold and illustrated by this father & son duo. Learn how Azban, a self-absorbed, conceited raccoon is responsible for the way all raccoons move as they do in this humorous and engaging tale.

Seasons of the Circle: A Native American Year

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Robert F. Goetzl
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

From Maliseet hunters following moose tracks in the snow in January to a Lakota elder's winter tales during a cold December evening, this lyrical tribute to American tribal nations cuts across the seasons…Bruchac's prefatory note introduces the traditions and cycles comprising many Native American lives, and an appended section explains each illustration. Also included are a map locating the various tribal nations and a chart listing the name of each month as it is known by each of three American tribal nations. — Booklist

Squanto's Journey

By: Joseph Bruchac
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Squanto, the young Indian who helped the Pilgrims survive the winter in a new country, narrates his story. Detail about in both the text and in an author's note as well as in evocative, idealized illustrations.

The Arrow Over the Door

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: James Watling
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

For young Samuel Russell, the summer of 1777 is a time of fear. The British Army is approaching, and the Indians in the area seem ready to attack. To Stands Straight, a young Abenaki Indian scouting for King George, Americans are dangerous enemies who threaten his family and home. When Stands Straight's party enters the Quaker Meetinghouse where Samuel worships, the two boys share an encounter that neither will ever forget. Told in alternating viewpoints, this chapter book is based on a true story.

The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Ann Vojtech
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Genre: Fiction, Myths and Legends

Seeing that man is sorry after arguing with his wife, Sun sends the first strawberries to the land. The sweet fruit slows the wife down, allowing her husband to catch up and apologize. To this day, strawberries remind people to be kind to each other. Rich illustrations add interesting details to this fluid telling of a traditional legend.

The Heart of a Chief

By: Joseph Bruchac
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Chris's life is complicated. At school, he's been selected to lead a project on sports teams with Indian names. At home, where his father is battling alcoholism on the Penacook reservation, the Indians are divided about building a casino. It would destroy the beautiful island Chris thinks of as his own. What can one sixth-grade boy can do in the midst of so many challenges?

The Milky Way: A Cherokee Tale

By: Joseph Bruchac, Gayle Ross
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Myths and Legends

Have you ever wondered how the Milky Way came to be? According to a Cherokee legend, it started when an old couple learned that their corn was being stolen by a Great Spirit dog. To get away, the spirit dog jumps into the sky, spilling the corn. And we can still see the results today in the night sky.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Thomas Locker
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

To many Native Americans, the 13 cycles of the moon represent the changing seasons and the passage of time. Each moon has its own special name that, while varying among the tribal nations, is consistent with the legend that the 13 scales on Old Turtle's back hold the key to these moons. The authors present 13 poems that take readers through the year, from the "Moon of Popping Trees" — when the "cottonwoods crack with frost" — to the "Big Moon" of the Abenakis. — Publishers Weekly

Turtle's Race with Beaver

By: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by: Ariane Dewey
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When Beaver arrives at Turtle's pond home, Turtle graciously offers to share the space. Instead, Beaver challenges her to a race and Turtle decides to take charge of the matter. Beaver — and listeners — will gain insight and want to participate in the lively telling as they gain clues from the animated, colorful illustrations.

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox