Celebrating Native American and Alaska Native History and Culture
Through children’s books, interviews with children's authors, activities, and educational resources, we celebrate and learn about Native American and Alaska Native history and culture. November is Native American Heritage Month, but we encourage sharing these authors, books, and histories throughout the year and across the curriculum.
Find information about:
Talking about diversity and representation with Native American children’s book authors
Listen as these celebrated Native American book creators talk about seeing themselves in books, their own experiences growing up, universal stories, and why diverse books are so important as mirrors and windows for kids and communities.
Our interviews with award-winning Native American authors
- Joseph Bruchac (Between Earth & Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places)
- Cynthia Leitich Smith (Ancestor Approved)
- Traci Sorrel (We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga)
Booklists from Reading Rockets
- Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples of North America: Award-Winning Books
- Native American Traditional Tales and Legends
- Stories and Voices of Contemporary Native Americans
- All Native American Heritage titles (Book Finder)
- American Indian Alaska Native Heritage (Colorín Colorado)
American Indian Library Association Awards
The American Indian Library Association recognizes exceptional books in three categories: young adult, middle school, and picture books. The awards are given every two years. To find great titles about Native Americans and Alaska Natives and their heritage, browse the American Indian Youth Literature Awards lists ›
Children’s book publishers: Native American focus
- Heartdrum: books by Native American authors for kids 8+ (Harper Collins)
- Lee & Low Books: Native American interest
- Star Bright Books
Tips for Choosing Culturally Appropriate Native Books and Resources
Learn how to make well-informed choices about the Native books you use in your classroom, as well as some of the myths and stereotypes you may encounter in representations of Native stories, people, history, and culture. (Colorín Colorado)
Native Children's and Young Adult Books and Resources
These bibliographies and resources are drawn largely from articles and books published between 1995 and 2021. While award-winners and bestsellers are included, part of the goal is to feature underappreciated gems. (Cynthia Leitich Smith)
American Indians in Children’s Literature
Established in 2006 by Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo, American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) provides critical analysis of Indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books.
Learning about Native American heritage: resources for the classroom, home, and community
Native American Heritage Month
In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994. Learn more at the federal government’s Native American Heritage Month website and in this introduction to Native American Heritage Month.
Teaching respect for Native peoples
Thoughtful suggestions on celebrating Native peoples and avoiding harmful stereotypes, from Cynthia Leitich Smith, children’s author and curator of Heartdrum, the Native-focused imprint of Harper Children’s.
November is Native American Heritage Month
Teach students an accurate and more complete history of Native and Indigenous peoples in celebration of Native American Heritage Month — and all year long! Discover lots of information from experts at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to help guide your classroom explorations. Featured articles include: With and About: Inviting Contemporary American Indian Peoples Into the Classroom and Q&A: Native knowledge 360 degrees. (Learning for Justice)
Teacher and librarian resources for Native American children’s and young adult books
This resource page from author Cynthia Leitich Smith is a rich collection of articles and podcasts to learn more about sharing Native American books and voices in the classroom and deepening children’s knowledge about Native peoples and Nations. Examples include: “Readers Are Realizing Their Hunger for Our Stories”: Native Literature for Kids and Teens and Let’s Indigenize Our Bookshelves and Fully Welcome Native Kids as Readers.
Diné educator Delores Noble-Parker: Using language roots to grow stronger readers
Delores Noble-Parker grew up in the Diné (Navajo) Nation in the Southwestern United States. Her generation was in the middle of a massive cultural shift between the traditional Diné culture that predominantly spoke the Diné language and a modern culture trying to stamp out the language. In this interview with Colorín Colorado, Noble-Parker draws upon her experience as a bilingual teacher and administrator to speak about her approaches for success in the classroom.
Native American information, activities, lesson plans, and stories
Federal Government: Native American Heritage Month for Teachers
Find selected resources for teachers from the Library of Congress, National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, and Smithsonian Institution.
National Museum of the American Indian: Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) Educational Resources
Search for classroom resources by grade, Nation, themes and topics, and school subject. You'll find lessons, guides, handouts, posters, and video.
Smithsonian Education: Native American Heritage Teaching Resources
Explore resources on ethnic heritage, world music, history, and the arts. Visitors can learn about Native women, environmental issues, confronting stereotypes, Native literature, and more. Educational materials and lesson plans are also provided.
NEH EDSITEment: American Indian History and Heritage
This Teacher’s Guide introduces students to the cultures and explore the histories of some groups within the over 5 million people who identify as American Indian in the United States, with resources designed for integration across humanities curricula and classrooms throughout the school year.
AFT’s Share My Lesson: Indigenous Peoples Lesson Plans and Resources
Pre-K to grade 12 digital resources to deepen students’ understanding of Native American history and culture by exploring ways of life, art, music and dance, nature and climate change, sovereignty and rights, addressing racism, and more.
PBS LearningMedia: Native American Heritage Collection
Take a look at Indigenous art, history, and culture as told through the historians, artists, students, and scientists in this featured resource collection.
PBS KIDS Molly of Denali
This series follows the adventures of Molly, an Alaska Native girl, as she helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post in their Alaskan village. Viewers are introduced to the rich history and modern-day experience of family life in the heart of the Alaskan tundra through the eyes of Molly, her parents, and her friends. Designed to help kids develop skills around informational text such as using a map and following an instruction manual, this is the first nationally distributed children's series in the U.S. to feature an Alaska Native lead character.
- New PBS Kids Show 'Molly of Denali' Is First to Feature a Native American Lead (WTTW, Chicago)
- How ‘Molly of Denali’ helps Native American children feel seen (Los Angeles Times)
PBS NewsHour: Canvas Arts