While recognizing fine books about Native Americans/American Indians should be a year-round deal, celebrating Native American/American Indian Heritage Month in November is a great time to discuss these awesome biographies of Native Americans/American Indians:
Although more comprehensive biographies of Sitting Bull exits, this picture book biography offering (unfortunately out of print) by one of the best authors about Native American cultures and history is a short yet strong look at the childhood of the great Hunkpapa chief who led the defeat of General Custer. The storytelling quality of the text makes this an excellent read aloud for elementary school children.
If you need to diversify your Christmas books collection, you definitely need The Christmas Coat. Young Virginia is eagerly awaiting packages from Theast (The East), as are the other children in her Sioux community. Being the daughter of the Episcopal priest means that she must let the others choose first; a hard lesson for any child, especially when a beautiful winter coat is included in the delivery. This is a remarkable story about patience and the spirit of giving and selflessness. The illustrations are endearing and loving.
James Rumford’s picture book biography of the inventor of the Cherokee writing system is a must-have for collections of Native American biographies for children. Despite the initial suspicions and distrust felt by some in his community about the establishment of a Cherokee alphabet, Sequoyah was determined to preserve the heritage of his people. Not only is the story told in both English and Cherokee, but a table of the Cherokee alphabet and additional information about Sequoyah are included.
Maria Tallchief tells her inspiring life story in this distinguished biography (published when she was 75) sure to entice dance fans and young students of Native history alike. When Tallchief was a child, the performance of Osage traditional dance was illegal, yet her grandmother ensured that she saw clandestine performances. As it ends at the beginning of her illustrious professional career, readers wanting to have a more detailed outlook on her life will need to consult additional sources of information. However, Tallchief’s childhood and young adulthood is enchantingly brought to life through her words and Gary Kelley’s magnificent illustrations.
Do you have any biographies of Native Americans/American Indians to recommend? Let us know in the comments!