Annotated Bibliography – Fiction

The bibliographies on this website are based upon books I have personally read, told stories from, or books recommended by friends, professors, and you, the blog readers!  If you have a comment, or wish to recommend a book or tale, please do not hesitate to comment or email me!  This site is meant to be used and to grow.

If you are a StoryTeller,  always credit the Indian Nation the story comes from, and the individual who told it to you if possible.

Bruchac, J., “Crazy Horse’s Vision.”  New York, Lee & Low. 2000.  Ages 4 and up,  32 pp.

A stirring tale of the boyhood of Curly,  later known by his white name, Crazy Horse.  .  The story tells of the attack on the Lakota by the US Army over a dead cow. How the Native chief, Conquering Bear, tried to appease the farmer with a generous offer, but it was refused.  The book gives a hard look at treatment of the Native Americans, especially by the Army, but does it in an age appropriate manner. The illustrations by S.D. Nelson are vibrant and reflect the Native subject with historical accuracy With a non-fictional section in the rear of the book, this is a not only a great story, but well documented.

Bruchac, J., “Lasting Echoes: An Oral History of Native American People.”  New York, Silver Whistle. 1997.  Ages 7 and up, 148 pp.

Bruchac has assembled stories from Native Americans about their past, their heritage, their Nations.  Bruchac acts as a storytelling editor, selecting quotes from famous Indians to intersperse with the text.  Paul Morin did the painting and assemblage of the book.  Very moving, like reading a documentary, images came to my mind and floated past as the dead came to life to tell their tales.  Parts could be used in Storytelling or as background information when reading other works.

Dominic, G.,  “First Woman and the Strawberry:  A Cherokee Legend.”  USA, Troll Publications. 1996.  Ages 4 and up, 32 pp.

Half fiction and half non-fiction – interesting. this is a wonderful story for telling during strawberry season, or perhaps in the doldrums of winter when the sky is gray and you need a story that brings light and life to your Storytime!  The non-fiction part of the book is well documented with an extensive bibliography.  The Fiction portion is a colorful retelling of the Native legend and is beautifully and historically accurately illustrated by Charles Reasoner. Great book for Storytime, Storytelling, or puppeteering!

Erdrich, L., “The Birchbark House.”  New York, Hyperion, 1999.  Ages 9 and up, 244 pp.

Louise Erdrich (Ojibwa) writes about 1 year in the life of Omakaya, an Ojibwa girl who is on her path to adulthood, yet still a small girl.  It is a coming of age book, Oymakaya discovers facts about herself and her life.  The pace is relatively slow moving, although there are many exciting parts.  The story, like life, comes around in a circle.  “The Birchbark House” seems to be a historically accurate telling of everyday Ojibwa life.  Reluctant readers may enjoy listening to the audio book, which is beautifully performed. Pairs well with Little House on the Prairie. First in a trilogy.


Gridley, M., “Indian Legends of American Scenes.”  Chicago, M.A. Donohue. 1969.  Ages 8 and up.  127 pp.

This book ties natural formations to the appropriate Native tale of it’s creation.  Every tale is about a natural place.  It is interesting that some of the tales, like the creation of Devil’s Tower, have a twin.  In this case, it is the creation of El Capitan in California. Perfect for your Storytelling about a certain formation.  Most states are represented.  What a great tie-in to a felt board (with photographs).  You could use your puppets to tell the tales.

Hausman, G., “How Chipmunk Got Tiny Feet.”  Mexico, Harper Collins. 2005.  Ages 7 and up, 64pp.  ISBN 006022907

Hausman collected these Native stories from Native peoples from Arizona and New Mexico.  The stories all take place in the past when animals could “walk and talk like human beings.”  Beautiful illustrations by Ashley Wolff help create the magic of these oral stories. This would be a wonderful book to use with puppets, or tell as a storyteller, continuing the oral tradition and history of the stories.

Highwater, J.,  “Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey.”  Philadelphia.  J.B. Lippincott.  1977.  Ages 10 and up. ISBN 0397317506

Jamake Highwater has created Anpao, his protagonist who represents the Indian Hero. Anpao is, as he calls him, his “Ulysses.”  The tales are credited to the appropriate nation in the “Notes on Sources.”  The tales are quite good, and as Highwater says he has done nothing more than other storytellers who have related tales.

Jagendorf, M., “Kwi-Na the Eagle and Other Stories.” Morristown, NJ. Silver Burdett Co. 1967.  Ages 4 and up, 95 pp. LC 67-16759

A great book for Native American stories for Storytelling.  Written by an Austrian immigrant who became a folklorist, the tales are said to have been collected on the road, traveling around the US.   This is an old book, and it does tell which nation the tale is from, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the tales.  It is a nice book, with a glossary of pronunciation, one of it’s nicest features!

Kawagley, D., “Yupik Stories.” Salt Lake City, UT.  AMU Press. 1975.  Ages 10 and up. 184 pp.

These are stories of the Yupiat, retold by native Dolores Kawagley, who also illustrated the work with wonderfully clear and simple pen and ink illustrations.  The stories are related and written down by Kawagley, but are attributed to the individuals who told her their stories.

Lyback, J., “Indian legends of Eastern America.”  Chicago.  Lyons and Carnahan. 1963. Ages 7 and up. 180 pp. LC 6221457

A nice selection of stories, altough most are very short, what I like are the tie-ins to real places which explain natural formations.  This book contains a glossary at the end to aid in the pronunciation of Native American Nation’s names, some of which are no longer in use.

Manitonquat, “The Children of the Morning Light:  Wampanoag Tales.” New York. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1994.  Ages 8 and up.  72 pp.  ISBN 9780027659054

Storyteller Manitonquat (Medicine Story) tels his stories reluctantly in this book.  His objection is that a story in a book is “frozen,” it no longer has the life breathed into it by the Storyteller.  The good part is that the story is saved and can be brought back to life through telling.  These are tales worth telling and retelling. Manitonquat tells his stories with modern vernacular and a lot of humour!  I love the fact that we get a story about sharks and porpoises!

Martin, F.  “Raven-who-sets-things-right:  Tales of the Northwest Coast.”  NY, Harper and Row. 1951. LC 742631.

Dorothy McEntees illustrations show many different artworks from the Indian Nations of the Northwest Coast.  The tales are wonderful.  It is unfortunate that so many books were written so long ago and may be lost.

Melzack, R., “Raven Creator of the World:  Eskimo Legends Retold by Ronald Melzack.” Boston. Little, Brown and Company. 1970.  Ages 8 and up.  91 pp.  LC  70122535

Although the author does point out that the Eskimos call themselves the “Innuit – which means simply ‘the people.’  We know them as ‘Eskimos,’ an Indian name which means ‘eaters-of-raw-meat.’,” he continues calling them Eskimos.  Such is 1970, and the mindset.   The book is nicely done, however, and the tales are great stories!

Messenger, C. & Katz, S., “When the Shadbush Blooms.”  Berkely, CA, Tricycle Press. 2007.  Ages 4 and up, 32 pp.

A well told story with the past and present shown in images side-by-side.  The tale is about life, how little it truly changes – and how much.  The Indians in the book know when the Shad will run, because that’s when the Shadbush blooms.  Although it does touch on the stereotype of Indians being at one with nature, I think this is a true stereotype.  Native Americans had to be at one with nature, in order to live off the land.  The side-by –side presentation is a beautiful look at historically accurate drawings of the Indians of the past going about their daily business, and the Indian children of today doing the same tasks, sometimes in a more modern fashion, but sometimes not.

Mullett, G., “Spider Woman Stories.”  Tucson, University of Arizona Press. 1979.  Ages 4 and up.  142 pp.  ISBN 0816506698

The Hopi have many tales and regard the Spider Woman as a trickster or a Grandmother.  These tales have been rewritten as prose, and according to the forward, are not accurate re-tellings, but very nice interpretations of the stories.

Newcomb, F., “Navajo Bird Tales: Told by Hosteen Clah Clee.” Wheaton, IL, Theosophical Publishing House. 1970.  Ages 5 and up. 125 pp.  ISBN 0835600173

Navajo storytelling nicely and simply illustrated by Na-Ton-Sa-Ka.  The book is set to read as a tale, beginning as a tale told about the storyteller.  It is a fun thing, and I tell you that 5 year olds could listen to the book, but you should be 7 or 8 to read it alone.  As with most Native American tales, they are best told, not read!

Raczek, L.,  “Rainy’s Powwow.”  Flagstaff, AZ.  Rising Moon.  1999.  Ages 6 and up, 32 pp.

Dancing is a Native American tradition showing reverence for the world around us, and is a very spiritual and personal form of expression.  Does the dancer choose the dance or does the dance choose the dancer?  Rainy finds out in a book illustrated by Gary Bennett.  She explores three styles and when it is time to choose, she wonders how she can. This is an informative and moving book, containing a short glossary of terms and explanations of the dances and dance costumes for the reader.  This would be a great book to read before a Native American Dancer visited.

San Souci, R., “Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story,” New York, Delacorte Press.  1994.  Ages 4-12, 32 pp.

Beautifully illustrated by Daniel San Souci, “Sootface” is the Ojibwa version of Cinderella. The author notes that he has encountered the story mostly from Northern Central tribes, Ojibwa, Algonquin and Micmac, although he had also heard it from a Pueblo in the Southwest.  The story is classic, but this version has some very nice enhancements and the images seem to be historically accurate.

Savageau, C., “Muskrat Will be Swimming.”  Flagstaff, AZ, Northland Publishing. 1996.  Ages 4 and up, 32 pp.

“Lake Rats.”  That’s what the kids at school call the people of the lake, because they live in trailers, old cellars and all-season cabins formerly used by tourists.  Savageau tells the story of a girl who hates the name, until her Grandfather talks to her about the Story of the Great Turtle and How Muskrat brought the Earth to Turtle, so the Woman from the sky.   A touching tale of live and let live, individuality and seeing the forest through the trees.  Another book to use to show we are all different, yet the same.

Smith, C., “Indian Shoes.”  New York, Harper Collins. 2002.  Ages 8-12, 66 pp.

A collection of stories about an Indian boy growing up with his revered Grandfather and the interactions they share.  The book reads like short vignettes, glimpses into his home life and thoughts – which are like any boys.  The book can again be used to show how we are the same, we all live, laugh, love, cry, and even die.

Tingle, T., “Crossing Bok Chitto:  A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom.”  El Paso, TX, Cinco Puntos Press.  2006.  Ages 4 and up, 32 pp.

Tim Tingle retells the story of the night the Choctaw nation helped their African American friends cross the Bok Chitto River, the river that separated the plantations from the freedom of the Choctaw nation.  A wonderful tale about friendship and freedom. Beautifully illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges, the woods are so close and the quiet hits your ears like a tin drum.  You can smell the plantation owners nearby!

Wheeler, B., “Where Did You Get Your Moccasins?”  Winnipeg, CN.  Penguin Publishers. 1986.   Ages 3-12, 18pp.

An inquisitive class asks where a young boy got his moccasins.  This is a cumulative, or building book, repeating the answers and fostering the understanding of another culture.  Illustrated by Herman Bekkering in charcoal, conveying some of the innocence as the girls and boys of the class ask questions.  This is a factual book and gives readers information on the process for tanning and creating moccasins.  The book is straightforward and easy to read .  It would be an easy book to encourage participation, and discuss how important moccasins and shoes are to people.  In my programming, I have a museum docent come to the library with a display of moccasins.

Programming/Teaching Materials

Dennis, Y. & Hirschfelder, A., “Children of Native America Today.”  Watertown, MA, Charlesridge.  2003.  Ages 7 and up, 64pp.

Filled with photos of each of the tribes discussed, this book truly gives a view of Indian life today, showing children being children – not Indian children, not white children, just children.

Griffin-Pierce, T.,  “The Encyclopedia of Native America.”  New York, Michael Freedman. 2005.  Ages 8 and up, 192 pp.

Historic photographs and modern images document the lives of Native Americans, and create a visual reference for information seekers. Useful for dispelling stereotypes and for helping Indian children find themselves through their past.

Hirschfelder, H. & Beamer, Y., “Native Americans Today: Resources and activities for educators Grades 4-8”.  Englewood, CO, Teacher Ideas Press. 2000.  Grades 4-8 (ages 8-14) 243pp.

A very useful book for those with Indian children in the classroom or library, for it is aimed at that group.  The book has some good parts

Slapin, B. & Seales, D.,  “Through Indian Eyes: The Native American Experience in Books for Children.”  Berkely, CA, Oyate. 1999  246 pp.

An excellent resource, Through Indian Eyes gives reviews of problematic books, the Oyate criteria for discerning which are problematic and why, and websites to use for further information.

Thompson, S.E., “Holiday Symbols and Customs.”  Detroit, MI., Omnigraphics.  2003

This book is available in a few different editions, and is an invaluable reference for the librarian or teacher

Trottier, M., “Native Crafts: Inspired by North America’s First Peoples.”  Niagara, NY, Kids Can Press, Ltd.  2000.

The crafts in this book are inspired by Native people, with little blurbs about from which tribe or tribes the crafts came.  The skill levels and equipment are geared towards middle school or higher, and would be more appropriate for an art class which could take several weeks to complete a project.  With some imagination, however, some of the crafts could be adapted to elementary school age children. There are some problem crafts, notable making drums and peacepipe, both of which are sacred to the Indians.


Published on December 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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