Ten Picture Books that Celebrate Indigenous Peoples #pb10for10

August 10 is a day to celebrate! Thanks to Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere’s annual Picture Book 10 for 10 event, educators and readers from all around share their lists of 10 picture books they can’t live without. Some people share their favorites, others share a list with a specific theme. It’s a time to reflect on old favorites, gather LOTS of new favorites and start to think about what books you must have to share with your class. This year, you can see all of the #pb10for10 lists on Mandy’s blog at Reflect and Refine. Get your library card ready or click on the link that will take you to Bookshop, or another independent bookstore to buy these books.

A little background on my post this year… For the past several years, I’ve done a lot of thinking and learning about the land we live on and the people who were on this land first. I’ve read An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States and reflected on what the history books taught me in school and acknowledged the tremendous amount of unlearning and re-educating that I need to do. I’ve been searching out Indigenous authors and illustrators and learning from experts like Debbie Reese how to look at books and curriculum critically. Last year, I flew to Vancouver and was in awe at the beautiful artwork that is seen throughout the airport. There is such a profound respect, honoring and celebrating of First Peoples in Canada. It’s evident in art, the curriculum that includes Indigenous knowledge, content and perspectives and the land acknowledgments that are spoken at gatherings and are taught, spoken and displayed in schools. Imagine if this became a widespread ritual in communities throughout the United States. Children and families would begin to learn the history of the land they currently live on and the stories of Native communities. They would be inspired to take action and build relationship with the land and Indigenous Peoples, honor Native communities and support reconciliation and decolonization.

I am writing this post on the traditional land of the Pamunkey peoples, past and present. Children often believe that Indigenous Peoples lived “long ago” and their struggles occurred “long ago”. I am committed to disrupting this narrative, starting by acknowledging the land in which I work and play, and continuing to learn and teach about the Pamunkey people and their stolen land on which myself, my students and our school community now occupy, as well as the lands and Indigenous Peoples beyond our community. One place I can do this work, is in the books I read aloud in our classroom.

My #pb10for10 is a collection of #ownvoices books that celebrate Indigenous Peoples, their land, their joy, their struggles and their stories. Enjoy!

The land that surrounds us is part of who we are; it reflects our histories.”

Native Governance Center
One of the many incredible pieces of art in the Vancouver airport
“Pacific Passage,” featuring the “Hetux” or Thunderbird

We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers, written and illustrated by Julie Flett

The Water Walker, written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson

Bowwow Powwow, written and illustrated by Brenda J. Child

We Are Grateful, Otsaliheliga, illustrated by Frane Lessac, written by Traci Sorrell

Stolen Words – Kimotināniwiw Itwêwina, written by Melanie Florence, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, translated by Dolores Sand

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, written by Kevin Noble Maillard

We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade, written by Carole Lindstrom

My Heart Fills With Happiness, written by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett

When We Are Kind, written by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt

The Circle of Caring and Sharing, written by Theresa “Corky” Larsen-Jonasson, illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner

Our history has left out many of these voices and difficult truths. I invite you to learn the history, bring these voices, people, books, stories, food, culture and art into your classrooms and learn about the land where you live, work and play. This is a good starting point, and there are many more resources here.

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