8 Books featuring Indigenous Voices | Sol Book Box


8 Books featuring Indigenous Voices


So, remember the classic Thanksgiving story we all grew up with? You know, the one with the Pilgrims and the Native Americans sharing a big, happy feast? Well, turns out, it’s missing a few crucial details.

As a former teacher, I get it. We've been telling a sanitized version of the tale—one that creates a picturesque scene of unity and harmony, neglecting the adverse impact of colonization on Indigenous communities, including forced relocations, loss of land, and cultural suppression. I'm raising my hand here, admitting I've been part of spreading this myth while in the classroom. In fact, it wasn’t really until I had my own child and learned about my own indigenous background (Our family is actually related to Julio C. Tello, who holds the distinction of being Peru's most renowned archaeologist and a figure of great significance to indigenous communities.) that I really started to question the who, where, how, what and why of the Thanksgiving story.

While initially delving into such a complex and sensitive topic felt daunting, we soon realized how remarkably capable children are of understanding subjects that adults often find challenging. It is a bit like taking a deep breath before jumping into a necessary conversation. In the end, we saw it as a choice between letting our child believe a misleading narrative or sharing a challenging yet authentic truth. We opted for truth, believing that an honest understanding of history paves the way for a more empathetic and informed future. And we used authentically relevant books to guide us along the way.

We broadened our perspective for November, moving beyond a sole focus on Thanksgiving to instead embrace the significance of Native American Heritage Month in the United States. This dedicated time allows us to celebrate and recognize the rich histories, diverse cultures, and invaluable contributions of Native American and Indigenous peoples.

Below you can find a list of books that feature Indigenous voices. They encompass stories that embody joy, cultural pride, overcoming everyday challenges, fun, and the celebrations of family and friendship.

Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello

by Monica Brown (author) and Elisa Chavarri (illustrator)

A fascinating bilingual picture book biography of Peruvian archaeologist and national icon Julio C. Tello, who unearthed Peru's ancient cultures and fostered pride in the country's Indigenous history.

La Selva de Zonia

by Juana Martinez-Neal (Author, Illustrator)

Every morning, the rainforest calls to Zonia, and every morning she answers. But one day, Zonia sees something frightening: the forest needs her help.

Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del Arcoíris

by Linda Elovitz Marshall (author) and Elisa Chavarri (illustrator)

The story is set in the indigenous Mayan village of Guatemala and follows a young girl named Ixchel. The book beautifully weaves together themes of tradition, creativity, and the importance of following one's dreams.

Somos guardianes del agua (We Are Water Protectors)

by Carole Lindstrom (Author), Michaela Goade (Illustrator)

Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.

Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua

by Gloria Amescua and Duncan Tonatiuh

This book introduces readers to Luz Jiménez, a historical figure and daughter of the Nahua people. Amescua and Tonatiuh skillfully weave a narrative that explores Luz's life and cultural heritage, offering a glimpse into the rich traditions of the Nahua community.

Serpiente emplumada y los cinco soles: Un Mito Mesoamericano

by Duncan Tonatiuh (Author, Illustrator)

The brilliant author and illustrator, Duncan Tonatiuh presents a Mesoamerican creation myth, weaving together the tale of the Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns. Through his distinctive illustrations and storytelling, Tonatiuh brings to life the ancient myths of Mesoamerica, offering readers a cultural and historical journey that transcends time.


by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten, illustrated by Garry Meeches Sr.

An important picture book honoring both the history and tradition that surrounds the story of the first Thanksgiving.

Powwow Day

by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

In this uplifting, contemporary Native American story, River is recovering from illness and can’t dance at the powwow this year. Will she ever dance again?

Additional information explains the history and functions of powwows, which are commonplace across the United States and Canada and are open to both Native Americans and non-Native visitors.

PS - If you're looking for more authentic books in Spanish for your reader, try one of our book boxes!



Karina Batchelor is a proud Latinx mama from Miami, la ciudad magica. She's a longtime educator, writer, and creative who holds multiple degrees in varied areas of study. Her qualifications have seen her excel across the US and the UK in various sectors of the education and theatre industry. You can often find her with a cafecito in hand at the nearest library, her homeschooling cooperative, or at the theatre, where she works as a professional dramaturg.

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