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​Rebecca's Native American Heritage Month ListPhoto of staff member Rebecca

Meet Rebecca

Rebecca is an outreach librarian with the Phoenix Public Library system. She grew up in Massachusetts in a blended family, and her stepmother's Passamaquoddy ancestry sparked her interest in American Indian cultures and histories. In college, she followed the lead of indigenous American students as they advocated for a Native Studies program, took service-learning trips, and celebrated culture.

Meet her list

Rebecca created this list to highlight contemporary Native American writers, filmmakers, and scholars. There's a lot of media about Native Americans, but the best media about Native Americans is by Native Americans. Be sure to explore our catalog and ask our librarians about more contemporary native writers! We even have some books in native languages.

First laugh : welcome, baby!First Laugh: Welcome, Baby!

by Rose Ann Tahe

In Diné (or Navajo) tradition, a baby's first laugh is cause for celebration! Who doesn't love to make a baby giggle? Read along as each family member tries to be the lucky one who will host the First Laugh Ceremony. Includes additional information for parents and teachers.

Doesn't Fall Off His HorseDoesn't Fall Off His Horse

by Virginia A. Stroud

There are many different naming traditions among different tribal nations. In this book, a little Kiowa girl hears the story of how her great-grandpa got his name. Listening to stories of older family members is one way to celebrate heritage. Good for beginning readers.

When the shadbush bloomsWhen the Shadbush Blooms

by Carla Messinger

In this picture book, a Lenni Lenape girl compares her ancestor's traditions with the way her family lives now. Each page describes a month in the traditional Lenape calendar. As with naming traditions, calendars vary across tribal nations and/or regions. Includes notes about language and culture, for teachers and parents.

Fry Bread : A Native American Family StoryFry Bread: A Native American Family Story

by Kevin Noble Maillard

This brand new book has critics jumping for joy! It's a good, rhyming readaloud for young children. The illustrations show Native people with different skin tones and hair textures. There's a long list of Native nations on the inside covers. The author's note contains tons of information on the history, culture, and even criticism of fry bread for parents and teachers who want to go in-depth.

Molly of DenaliMolly of Denali

Have you seen this show on PBS yet? It's voiced by Native American and First Nations actors and the writing is advised by a panel of indigenous people familiar with Athabascan culture. Phoenix Public Library is adding eBooks for beginning readers, based on the show, as they come out.

​TThe American Indian Rights Movementhe American Indian Rights Movement

by Eric Braun

This children's nonfiction book introduces the American Indian Rights Movement. It starts off with Standing Rock, then delves into the American Indian Movement of the 1960s-1970s. It covers a wide range of current issues, too. 

Indian no moreIndian No More

by Charlene Willing McManis

The Indian Relocation Program of the 1950s dissolved many smaller tribal nations, and subsidized tribal members to move from the reservations to the cities. This book tells the story of a 10-year-old Umpqua girl who finds herself forced to deal with these changes to her family and lifestyle. Based on the author's real-life childhood experiences.

Code talker : a novel about the Navajo Marines of World War TwoCode Talker: a Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two

by Joseph Bruchac

There are over 500 Native languages in the United States, and about a dozen of them were used during World War I and World War II to send secret messages. This book tells the story of a 16-year-old boy recruited as a Navajo code talker with the U.S. Marines.  

#NotYourPrincess : voices of Native American women#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women

A gorgeous collection of poems, photos, art, and short essays by young indigenous women from different North American tribal nations. Meet athletes, leaders, activists, artists, and professionals through this book – all native women, all destroying stereotypes. 

We Shall Remain : America Through Native EyesWe Shall Remain: America through Native Eyes

This PBS series is a great way to start learning about major historical events and their relevance to present-day people. Topics include After the Mayflower, Tecumseh, the Trail of Tears, Geronimo, and Wounded Knee. 

Smoke signalsSmoke Signals

Based on one of Sherman Alexie's stories from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, this classic piece of Native American cinema features an all-Native cast and crew. Smoke Signals delivers a road trip buddy movie in which one young Coeur d'Alene man searches for answers about his father. Hey, Victor! Pass the popcorn.

New poets of Native nationsNew Poets of Native Nations

When you find a poem you love, it changes your life. One of the best ways to find new poets is to look through an anthology. New Poets of Native Nations presents a diverse array of styles and subjects, all written by Native poets who hit the scene after 2000. Includes poems from National Book Award finalist Layli Long Soldier, local writer and ASU professor Natalie Diaz, and 19 others! 

The Sioux Chef's indigenous kitchenThe Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen

by Sean Sherman

You won't find fry bread in this recipe book. The Sioux Chef focuses on healthy, local ingredients. From food truck fare to dishes for ceremonial feasts, these recipes use ingredients hunted, foraged, farmed, and raised on this continent. Includes recipes from guest chefs and plenty of mouthwatering photos.

There there : a novelThere There

by Tommy Orange

This book of fiction tells the stories of 12 native people attending the Big Oakland Powwow. Reading Tommy Orange is like going to a rowdy poetry slam, where the poets are so good you keep shouting "What!" and "Okay!" and snapping your fingers until they tingle. The list of awards this book has won just keeps growing,  so check it out for yourself.

Where the dead sit talkingWhere the Dead Sit Talking

by Brandon Hobson

This National Book Award 2018 Finalist is narrated by a teenager in the foster care system. It's morbid, yet beautiful. It's set in the Cherokee nation in the 1980s, and although it's not a scary book, it might haunt you.

There are so many more materials in our collection that celebrate Native culture and heritage. Take a tour of the Arizona room, check out a culture pass for the Heard museum, come to one of our special events, and just get to know your neighbors. See you at the library!

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