6 Read Aloud Books by Native Authors

November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month! To help you celebrate and honor the important contributions of native and indigenous people, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite books by native authors that are perfect read-alouds for your classroom. Reading aloud to young children promotes emerging literacy and language developmentbut it is also a perfect way to demonstrate a timeless native tradition. Long before we had the written word, we passed down stories and important lessons orally. Many native tribes continue this practice even today. As you share these native read-aloud books with your class, why not honor this tradition by inviting your class to retell these stories to each other? Scholastic put together a great lesson plan for teaching storytelling to students

Books with Accelerated Reader Quizes

At the Mountain’s Base 
By Traci Sorell; Illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre
AR Quiz No. 506310

A family, separated by duty and distance, waits for a loved one to return home in this lyrical picture book celebrating the bonds of a Cherokee family and the bravery of history-making women pilots.

Chukfi Rabbit’s Big, Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale
By Greg Rodgers; Illustrated by Leslie Stall Widener
AR Quiz No. 167336 

Chukfi Rabbit likes to avoid work at all costs. When Bear, Turtle, Fox, and Beaver decide to build a new house for Ms. Possum, Chukfi Rabbit is too busy to lend a hand. That is until he learns there will be a feast to celebrate their hard work at the end.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
By Robbie Robertson: Illustrated by David Shannon
AR Quiz No. 178805

Musical icon Robbie Robertson learned Hiawatha’s story as part of his Iroquois oral tradition. He now shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

Jingle Dancer
By Cynthia Leitich Smith; Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu 
AR Quiz No. 41520

Jenna, a modern-day Muscogee girl in Oklahoma, wants to honor her family’s tradition by jingle dancing at the next powwow. The only problem is, where will she find enough jingles for her dress? 

Additional Native read-alouds

Fry Bread A Native American Family Story
By Kevin Noble Maillard; Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family.

Johnny’s Pheasant
By Cheryl Minnema; Illustrated by Julie Flett 

An encounter with a pheasant (which may or may not be sleeping) takes a surprising turn in this sweetly serious and funny story of a Native American boy and his grandma.

Sharing these native read-aloud books with your students or others you might find is an excellent way to model cultural inclusion in your classroom. For other ideas on building classroom culture in a virtual setting, try one of these books highlighted in our round-up of culture-building read-aloud books.

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