12 Native American Authors to Read During Native American Heritage Month

12 Native American Authors to Read During Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, which honors the cultures and traditions of Native Americans. It’s the perfect time to share the outstanding contributions Native Americans have made and to learn more about the issues facing these communities today. Here at Bookish, we plan to celebrate by reading! (Shocking, we know.) We hope you do too. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite books by Native American authors to get you started. We recommend picking these books up, not just this month but all year long.

There There by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange, who belongs to the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes, takes readers to the Big Oakland Powwow in this novel where various vibrant characters’ lives converge.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa author Louise Erdrich tells the story of a crime that reverberates through a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation in The Round House.

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

In this horror novella by Blackfeet author Stephen Graham Jones, a boy finds rooms in his home that he never knew about. The resulting story is chilling and powerful.

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke Nation, and she tells readers how she became a poet in her memoir, Crazy Brave. Kirkus called this book “lyrical” and “soul-stirring,” and we know you’ll agree.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse incorporates elements of her Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo heritage into her fantasy writing. Her debut novel is Trail of Lightning, a supernatural and apocalyptic novel about a Navajo reservation overrun by monsters after an environmental disaster.

Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

In her award-winning collection of poetry Whereas, Layli Long Soldier (who is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation) shares important and timely insights about Native American identity and the ways in which Native Americans have been treated by the United States government.

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith’s young adult novel follows Louise Wolfe, who (like Smith) is a member of the Muscogee Nation, as she juggles senior year responsibilities and fights against prejudice after her school’s inclusive musical brings out an ugly side of her mostly-white high school.

When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz’s award-winning debut poetry collection takes an in-depth look at Diaz’s relationship with her family, her brother’s drug addiction, and life growing up on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation.

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

In the foreword, First Nations editor Lisa Charleyboy calls this anthology “a love letter to all young Indigenous women.” This moving book collects the art, poetry, and prose of Indigenous women throughout North America and covers everything from identity to Standing Rock to social media.

Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth

Beatles fans won’t want to miss this one. In his YA novel Onondaga author Eric Gansworth introduces readers to two teens living on the Tuscarora Reservation in the 1980s who decide to show off their rock and roll chops by entering a Battle of the Bands.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III, illustrated by Jim Yellowhawk

Joseph Marshall III explores the story of Lakota leader Crazy Horse in this middle grade novel about a boy on a journey across the Great Plains with his grandfather to learn about his family’s heritage.

Buffalo Bird Girl by S. D. Nelson

Sioux author S.D. Nelson’s picture book tells the story of the childhood of Buffalo Bird Woman (Waheenee-wea)—whose transcribed reminiscences of life as a young member of the Hidatsa tribe in the 1840s inspired the book’s text.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Another Native American book I love is “The Laughing Boy” by Oliver LaFarge! It’s a good one. “A thousand White Women” and “The Vengeance of Mothers” by Jim Fergus are also great. Thanks for the list, I am putting all these on my library list.

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