November is Native American Heritage Month. Below is a collection of preschool-age books that celebrate Native American heritage every parent will enjoy sharing with their child.
A picture book that introduces Navajo culture and traditions, First Laugh – Welcome Baby! traces a family’s attempt to make their new baby laugh for the first time. Similarly, in Navajo tradition, whoever achieves the first laugh receives the honor of hosting a laughing ceremony.
Fry bread, a Native American comfort food, is at the center of this wonderful book. Similarly in the book family members joyfully make fry bread at a large family gathering. Likewise, the author uses the event to describe the importance of Native American tradition, identity, and art.
Presenting a much loved Cherokee legend in an easy-to-read format with lovely paintings, Bruchac tells of a quarrel between a husband and wife that results in the wife leaving in anger. But the wife slows her departure when the Sun sends down delicious berries, the first strawberries, and the couple reunites.
In this beautifully illustrated book, the author embraces her Cree ancestry and describes the Cree tribe’s relationship with nature by telling the story of a blueberry picking walk with a little boy and his grandmother. Likewise, during their trip, they meet Ant, Fox, and Spider, and leave berries behind to feed hungry birds.
With gorgeous illustrations and a timely message, We Are Water Protectors gives a Native American perspective on the need to protect Mother Earth. Beginning with a grandmother’s wisdom, “water is the first medicine’. Likewise, the story ends with an afterword describing the environmental efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, We Are Water Protectors speaks of the need to guard the planet’s resources.
Sorell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, centers this beautifully illustrated book around otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) the word used by the Cherokee to express gratitude. Certainly, We Are Grateful describes modern Native American life and the Cherokee community’s embrace of every season’s gifts and challenges.
With illustrations by Alex Stephenson, The First Fire tells the Cherokee legend of the Water Spider. When animals were to have ruled the world, the Creator gave them fire by striking a tree on an island with lightning. Of course, the animals did not know how to bring the fire across the water to their land. Likewise, Water Spider transferred the fire, ensuring his place in Cherokee culture.