Great Indigenous Books by Indigenous Authors for Kids

A banner image that reads Indigenous stories for kids written by Indigenous authors

It has always been a challenge to find books and resources that give an accurate portrayal of Indigenous history and Indigenous life. However the number of books published about Indigenous Peoples written by Indigenous authors has exploded in recent years – especially for elementary-aged children. It’s an honour to read about different perspectives and experiences for many different cultural groups and communities. Here is a list of some Indigenous books by Indigenous authors for elementary students.

INDIGENOUS LIFE

Learning to Carve Argillite by Sara Flora Davidson and Robert Davidson
Age Range: Grade 1-3
A boy learns from his father and grandfather how to carve, based on Haida artist Robert Davidson’s childhood. 

The cover of the book Learning to Carve Argillite.

Jigging for Halibut with Tsinii by Sarah Florence Davidson and Robert Davidson
Age Range: Grade 1-3
A boy learns from his grandfather about jigging for halibut, based on Haida artist Robert Davidson’s childhood. 

The cover of the book Jigging for Halibut with Tsinii.

The Kids Book of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada by Diane Silvey
Age Range: 8-12
Author Diane Silvey was a member of the Sechelt Band (Coast Salish). This detailed and beautifully illustrated book shows an in-depth look at Canada’s Indigenous Peoples for the elementary age group.

At the Heart of It by Raymond Taniton and Mindy Willett
Age Range: Grade 1-2
Author Raymond Taniton shows readers how to make a traditional Dene drum and speaks about the importance of traditions and shares other information about his people.

The cover of the book At the Heart of it.

The Delta is My Home by Tom McLeod and Mindy Willet
Age Range: Grade 2-7
11-year-old Tom McLeod tells us about his home in the MacKenzie Delta and why he loves to live on the land.

The cover of the book The Delta is my Home.

Living Stories : Godi Weghàà Ets’ eèda by Philip Zoe and Therese Zoe 
Age Range: Grade 4-7
 Author Therse Zoe translates stories and traditional wisdom of elders.

The cover of the book Living Stories.

We Feel Good Out Here by Julie-Ann André
Age Range: Grade 4-7
Author Julie-Ann André shares about her family’s story and the story of her land. 

The cover of the book We Feel Good Out Here.

Come and learn with me = Éwo, séh kedjdjh Éwo, séh kedjdjh by Sheyenne Jumbo 
Age Range: Grade 4-7.
Sheyenne, 9 years old, teaches about her community in the fall, the season of the moose

The cover of the book Come and Learn With Me

Sharing Our Truths / Tapwe by Eileen Beaver, Henry Beaver and Mindy Willett 
Age Range: Grade 3-7.
Learn about building a tipi, trapping a beaver, laying the grandfather stones for a fire, smudging, and harvesting salt.

The cover of the book Sharing Our Truths

Proud to be Inuvialuit/Quviahuktunga Inuvialuugama 
Age Range: Grade 2-7
James, an Inuvialuit residing in  Tuktoyuktuk, NWT, shares about harvesting and preparing a beluga whale, a traditional and integral part of Inuvialuit culture and history.
-> See our review of this book

The cover of the book Proud to be Inuvialuit.

Blueberry Patch / Meennunyakaa by Jennifer Leason 
Age Range: Grade 1-3
An elder shares his experience of blueberry picking in Duck Bay, MB, in the 1940’s. Written in English and Anishinaabemowin.

Cover of the book Blueberry Patch.

A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell 
Grade PK-4.
A family learns from their grandmother on an outing to forage for herbs and mushrooms. 

The cover of the book A Day with Yayah.

A Walk on the Shoreline by Rebecca Hainnu 
Grade K-3.
Learn with Nukappia all about the shoreline.

Cover of the book Walk on the Shoreline.

No borders = Kigliqangittuq by Darla Evyagotailak 
Grade 4-8.
Learn about the life of a 16 year old Inuk girl, Darla Evyagotailak. Learn about the communities of Kugluktuk, Nunavut and Ulukhaktok, NWT.

Cover of the book No Borders.

Arctic Adventures: Tales from the Lives of Inuit Artists by Raquel Rivera 
Age Range: Grade 2-3.
Stories from the lives of 4 Inuit artists including information about each artist and a reproduction of one of their works.

Cover of the book Arctic Adventures.

A Walk on the Tundra by Rebecca Hainnu 
Age Range: Grade 3-5.
Follow Inuujaq, a little girl, and her grandmother as they take a walk on the tundra and Inuujaq discovers the importance of the plants to the Inuit people. Includes a field guide and information about Arctic plants.

Cover of the book A Walk on the Tundra.

Fishing with Grandma by Susan Avingaq 
Age Range: Grade 1-3.
Join Grandma and her two grandchildren as she takes them on a fishing adventure and teaches them everything they need to know to fish on their own.

Cover of the book Fishing with Grandma.

How I Survived: Four Nights on the Ice by Serapio Ittusardjuat 
Age Range: Grade 2-6.
Serapio Ittusardjuat tells about his 4 nights spent on the ice when his snowmobile broke down. Learn about the traditional skills and knowledge he used to survive 4 nights on the ice in the Arctic.

Cover of the book How I Survived Four Nights on the Ice.

Kisimi Taimaippaktut Angirrarijarani/Only in My Hometown by Angnakuluk Friesen and Ippiksaut Friesen 
Age Range: Grade PK-2.
Join sisters Angnakuluk Friesen and Ippiksaut Friesen and learn about what it’s like to grow up in an Inuit community in Nunavut.

Cover of the book Only in My Hometown.

Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story (#1) by Donald Uluadluak 
Age Range: Grade 1-3.
Inspired by stories of an elder from Arviat, Nunavut. This book teaches about the traditional dog-rearing practices from the times when Inuit relied on dogs for transportation and survival.

Cover of the book Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story

Kamik’s First Sled (#2) by Matilda Sulurayok 
Age Range: Grade 1-3.
Inspired by stories from Arviat, Nunavut, elder Matilda Sulurayok. Learn about basic dog-rearing practices.

Cover of the book Kamik's First Sled.

Kamik Joins the Pack (#3) by Darryl Baker 
Age Range: Grade 1-3.
Learn about Jake and his puppy Kamik as they learn from their elders all about how to be part of a winning sled dog team.

Cover of the book Kamik Joins the Pack.

Kamik Takes the Lead by (#4) by Darryl Baker 
Age Range: Grade 1-3.
Learn from author and musher Darryl Baker about preparing a dog team for a race.

Cover of the book Kamik Takes the Lead

HISTORY

Encounter by Brittany Luby 
Grade PK-3.
An imagined story of a first encounter between a European sailor and a Stadaconan fisher. Based on a journal entry by explorer Jacques Cartier from his first expedition to North America in July 1534.

Cover of the book Encounter.

The Tiny Voyageur: A Young Girl’s Discovery of Métis History by Rebekah Wilson
Age Range: Grade K-4.
A young girl goes on a time traveling adventure back in time. She learns about Métis traditions, the Michif language, and accompanies her great-great grandfather on a fur trade.

Cover of the book The Tiny Voyageur.

RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

The Orange Shirt Story: The True Story of Orange Shirt Day or for the French edition: L’histoire du chandail orange by Phyllis Webstad 
Age Range: Grade 2-7.
Read about the true story of Phyllis and her orange shirt that was taken from her at a residential school. Learn about Orange Shirt Day.

Cover of the book The Orange Shirt Day

Phyllis’s Orange Shirt by Phyllis Webstad 
Age Range: Grade PK-2.
An adaptation for younger children ages 4-6 of the Orange Shirt Story. The story of what inspired Orange Shirt Day, when Phyllis’ orange shirt was taken away at a residential school.

Cover of the book Phyllis's Orange Shirt

Dear Canada: These are My Words or for the French edition: Cher Journal : Les mots qu’il me reste by Ruby Slipperjack 
Age Range: Grade 4-7.
Set up as a diary format, this book tells the story of a 12 year old’s experience at a residential school in Northern Ontario in 1966.

Cover of the book These Are My Words.

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson 
Age Range: Grade 1-3.
A young girl learns from her grandmother about the grandmother’s experiences at a residential school.
-> See our review of this book

Cover of the book When We Were Alone.

The Train by Jodie Callaghan 
Age Range: Grade 1-4.
Ashley learns from her great-uncle about when he and the other children from their community were told to board the train to go to a residential school where their lives were changed forever.

Cover of the book The Train.

I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe 
Age Range: Grade 1-2.
A poem about Mi’kmaw Elder Rita Joe’s childhood story of losing her language while a resident of a residential school.

Cover of the book I Lost My Talk.

My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Stirling 
Age Range: Grade 4-7.
A story about life in a residential school in the 1950’s and a girl who survived it.

Cover of the book My Name is Seepeetza.

As Long As the Rivers Flow by Larry Loyie 
Age Range: Grade 4-8.
The story of author Larry Loyie and his last summer with his Cree tribe before being taken to residential school.

Cover of the book As Long as the Rivers Flow.

Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell 
Age Range: Grade PK-2.
The story of the last 4 days of Shi-shi-etko before leaving for residential school.

Cover of the book Shi-shi-etko.

Shin-Chi’s Canoe by Nicola I. Campbell 
Age Range: Grade PK-2.
While at residential school, Shin-Chi finds solace in a toy canoe from his grandfather and in dreaming of returning home.

Cover of the book Shin-Chi's Canoe.

Stolen Words by Melanie Florence 
Age Range: Grade 1-3.
The story of a little girl and her grandfather and the impact of the residential school system.

Cover of the book Stolen Words.

I hope this list is helpful as you seek to find books about Indigenous peoples by Indigenous authors. Are you looking for more Indigenous Education Resources? We have a post with many more ideas.

Lisa Marie Fletcher
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