Category Archives: readers’ advisory

Native American Resources

November is Native American Heritage Month (also sometimes worded as National American Indian Heritage Month or American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month). Are you looking for good materials to share with your students?

If you’re looking for children’s books, two great places to start are the organization Oyate and the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature. Both websites offer reviews from a Native American perspective as well as additional resources.

Sometimes these perspectives are very different from ones you find elsewhere. For example, you can read the reactions of Native American children to Newbery Award winners and Newbery Honor books like Caddie Woodlawn and The Courage of Sarah Noble. For a more contemporary example, blogger Debbie Reese has a critical review of Stolen Words (which had a starred review from Kirkus and a positive review in the Horn Book Guide).

What can you offer readers instead? Both of these websites also suggest all kinds of books that they highly recommend (also here), many of them by Native American authors and featuring the art of Native American illustrators. There are also tools you can use as you consider books that might not be listed on either website, commentary on current events and more.

Another source for good books is the website for the American Indian Youth Literature Award.

You might want to also take a look at the library’s online resources including FreedomFlix and TrueFlix, or some of these online resources and places to visit:

American Indian Center (Chicago, IL)

Field Museum (Chicago, IL)

Isle a la Cache Museum (Romeoville, IL)

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (Evanston, IL)

National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.)

(The books depicted at the top of the article are In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III, Mission to Space by astronaut John B. Herrington and When We Were Alone by David Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett.)

New Indie Comics

Dodo by Felipe Nunes
Six-year-old Laila doesn’t understand why she’s pulled out of school and away from the rest of her friends following her parents’ separation. Now, she spends most of her time observing the park next to her house. When Laila spots a mysterious bird, a dodo named Ralph, the two form an unlikely friendship until Ralph starts to cause trouble and Laila finds the chaos around her growing. While cleaning up Ralph’s messes, Laila begins to understand the complexity of friendship, love, loss, and how to stand on her own.

Kid Beowulf: The Blood-bound Oath by Alexis E. Fajardo
Inspired by the epic poem Beowulf, Kid Beowulf follows the journey of 12-year-old twin brothers, Beowulf and Grendel, as they travel to distant lands and meet fellow epic heroes therein.

Scarlet Hood by Mark Evans
Scarlet’s the new girl in town, having just moved to Norway with her parents. But a merciless bully called Greta the Cruel taunts her daily, making every day at school a misery. Then Scarlet’s grandmother gives her a magical hood that carries her back to the age of the Vikings–and a fire-breathing dragon. Kids will love this enchanting story about confronting your fears, discovering your inner powers, and finding strength in kindness.

Stories about ghosts and death

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
After seventh-grader Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat, he observes the aftermath of his death and meets the ghosts of other fallen black boys including historical figure Emmett Till. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.

The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders
Emily’s world is shattered after her sister dies and she finds she misses her sister’s teddy bear, Bluey, almost as much as her sister. Then Emily dreams of talking toys who have a message from Bluey, but soon discovers that magic from the toy world is spilling out into the real world with disastrous consequences. Emily must decide whether finding Bluey is worth risking the lives of those she loves.

The Story Collector by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
Eleven-year-old Viviani has spent her whole life in the New York Public Library. When Viviani becomes convinced that the library is haunted, new girl Merit makes fun of her. So Viviani decides to play a harmless little prank, roping her best friend Eva to help. But what begins as a joke quickly gets out of hand, and soon Viviani and her friends have to solve two mysteries: Is the Library truly haunted? What happened to the stamp collection? It’s up to Viviani, Eva, and Merit to find out.

New series: Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream

Do you love sports stories? This new series features a fourth-grade Pakistani American Muslim boy who plays basketball.

Power Forward by Hena Khan
Fourth-grader Zayd yearns to play basketball on the Gold Team, but when he skips orchestra rehearsal to practice, his parents forbid anything basketball-related, and tryouts are coming soon.

On Point by Hena Khan
Zayd is so excited to finally be on the Gold Team in basketball but when the team starts struggling and his best friend quits to play football he must step up for his team.

Quick Pick

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss
Left at the Mostly Silent Monastery as a toddler and home-schooled by a retired nun, twelve-year-old Bicycle rides cross-country to meet a famous cyclist who she hopes will be her first friend. 9780823440078

New series: Lucy’s Lab

Have you been longing for more early chapter books about a girl who loves science? Try this new series! On Lucy’s first day of second grade, she’s excited to meet her new teacher, Miss Flippo, and find out everything’s she’s going to learn about this year in school. And when Miss Flippo tells the class that they’re going to have their very own science lab, complete with lab coats and goggles, Lucy can’t wait to start exploring.

Nuts About Science by Michelle Houts
While learning about habitats in second grade, Lucy convinces her school to plant a new tree as a home for squirrels.

Solids, Liquids, Guess Who’s Got Gas? by Michelle Houts
Lucy learns all about states of matter, and a school field trip and the Fall Harvest Festival gives her the chance to put her new knowledge to good use.

If you liked A Fiery Friendship…

A Dark Descent by Lisa Fiedler
The Ages of Oz series continues following the adventures of young Glinda in this prequel to The Wizard of Oz.