Honoring Native and Indigenous Voices: Books for Older Kids

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Books by and about Native and Indigenous people and communities for kids ages 8 and up.

  • Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids


    Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. Ages 8-12.

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  • Sisters of the Neversea

    2021 by Smith, Cynthia Leitich

    In this magical, modern twist on Peter Pan, which centers a mixed Creek and British family, stepsisters Lily and Wendy are spirited away to Neverland by a mysterious boy and must find a way back to the family they love. Ages 8-12.

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  • Fire Keeper's Daughter

    2021 by Boulley, Angeline

    In this debut novel, 18-year old Daunis Fontaine wrestles with the drugs and crime that are harming her Ojibwe community. Beautifully written, this is a coming of age story about family, community, and love. Ages 14 and up.

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  • Rez Dogs

    2021 by Bruchac, Joseph

    This novel in verse takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic when a girl who is visiting her grandmother and grandfather on their reservation has to stay due to travel restrictions. When a dog mysteriously shows up, it becomes clear that he sees his job as protecting the girl and her family. Ages 8-12.

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  • I Can Make This Promise

    2019 by Day, Christine

    A young girl discovers the truth behind her mother's, and her own, Native American roots, and learns about friendship, family, and the realities that lie behind the mistreatment of Native peoples throughout history. Ages 8-12.

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  • I Am Not a Number

    2016 by Dupuis, Jenny Kay

    A personal account of what if really felt like to be ripped away from your family and everything you know, forced to attend a residential school where you were not even allowed to keep your name. The subdued color illustrations match the somber mood. Ages 9-12.

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  • Indian No More

    2019 by McManis, Charlene Willing

    When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, what she experiences along the way--stereotypes, racist attacks, and rampant discrimination--make her yearn to understand her identity despite being so far from home. Ages 8-12.

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  • An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

    2019 by Mendoza, Jean

    This book tells the history of the U.S. from the Indigenous perspective, moving beyond the common rhetoric of white discovery and dynamism. With lots of primary resources, visuals, and recommended book lists for all reading levels, this is an important book for everyone to read. Ages 14 and up.

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  • Apple in the Middle

    2018 by Quigley, Dawn

    Apple Starkington just wants to fit in at school and at home in her own family. But after losing her mom and feeling responsible for her death, being called derogatory names at school, and trying to find her place in her non-indigenous family, Apple is ready to give up and turn her back on her Native heritage. Can she find a way to bridge both worlds? Ages 12 and up.

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  • The Used-to-Be Best Friend

    2021 by Quigley, Dawn

    Indigenous 7-year-old Jo Jo narrates her experiences of home and school on a fictional Ojibwe reservation, where she lives with her mother and grandmother. Life is confusing sometimes. Her best friend at school might not be her best friend anymore. Her best friend at home, a cat named Mimi, ignores her most of the time. But this funny, spirited girl is ready to take on the world. Cartoon drawings help move the story along. Ages 7-12.

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  • Hearts Unbroken

    2018 by Smith, Cynthia Leitich

    After Louise Wolfe's boyfriend disrespects her Native heritage, she dumps him and focuses the rest of her senior year on family, friends, and the school paper. Though Lou feels seen at school and through her work on the paper, can she overcome the racial and cultural tensions that remain at the heart of her small Kansas town? Ages 14 and up.

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  • Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask

    2021 by Treuer, Anton

    From the acclaimed Ojibwe author and professor Anton Treuer comes an essential book of questions and answers for Native and non-Native young readers alike. Ages 12+.

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