Indigenous Children’s Lit Resources
Whether you are honing your to-be-read list or building a library or school collection, the following resources on indigenous literature offer a great starting point.
Canadian Children’s Book Centre
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) produces a number of themed book lists and in 2014 they compiled this list featuring First Nations, Métis, and Inuit books. The next year, CCBC also produced a more detailed guide with reviews of each work and several author interviews. Both lists showcase indigenous fiction and nonfiction published in Canada and are especially strong resources for Inuit children’s literature.
Native American Children’s Literature Recommended Reading List
This brochure features high-quality picture books, novels, and graphic novels for a variety of age ranges, from preschool to high school. Compiled by the First Nations Development Institute and Dr. Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo), a leading researcher and advocate for Native American children’s literature, the reading list highlights works with indigenous characters by indigenous authors. Created last November for Native American Heritage Month, the list kick-started the #nativereads hashtag.
Dr. Reese also operates the website American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL), which posts an annual list of best books by and about First Nations:
Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature
The Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) and philanthropist William Burt sponsor this annual award for indigenous YA writing in Canada. First presented in 2013 to the late Richard Wagamese, the winner is chosen from three finalists. As part of the award, several thousand copies of the winning book are shipped to indigenous communities throughout Canada each year. You can see a list of past finalists here. These titles hold strong appeal for teens in particular, and include a few crossover YA/adult books as well.
Based in Nanaimo, BC, Strong Nations is an indigenous publisher and retailer of books and educational materials. I included this resource with Canadian teachers in mind, because you can browse indigenous titles specifically recommended by provincial and national educational committees.
This list of resources is short and sweet (and primarily Canadian-focused), so if you know of other reading lists, websites, or markets for indigenous kid-lit, please do add them in the comments below!
Russell F. Hirsch lives in Vancouver, Canada where he spends a lot of time writing YA fantasy, tying knots, and trying to think up picture books in Klingon. He studies in the MA Children’s Literature Program at the University of British Columbia and also blogs about books and films on his website russellfhirsch.com.