Diversity within children’s books is important, and educating and teaching Indigenous history and culture should begin at a young age.
IndigiNews education and child welfare storyteller, Jenessa Joy Klukas, has compiled a list of Indigenous children’s books throughout her years working within the early childhood education sector. Now IndigiNews is sharing with you a selection of six books to include in your child’s library, written and illustrated by Indigenous peoples.
These books are suitable for a variety of ages and explore a variety of topics—from getting dressed for the weather to empowering children through story—with many exciting choices for the children in your life.
By Richard Van Camp. Illustrated by Julie Flett.
Age Range: 0-2
Little You, written by Tłı̨chǫ writer Richard Van Camp, is a board book perfect for the baby and toddlers in your life. With warm tones, “Little You” talks about the wonder of your child, and the beautiful potential of children. There are also two bilingual editions: Plains Cree/English and Ojibwa/English.
My Heart Fills with Happiness
By Monique Gray Smith. Illustrated by Julie Flett.
Age Range: 0-2
My Heart Fills with Happiness, is a board book that discusses the joys of life: family, drumming, dancing, and more. It also has beautiful illustrations that include Indigenous drumming and Indigenous regalia.
Getting Dressed: Bilingual Inuktitut and English Edition
By Inhabit Education. Illustrated by Amiel Sandland
Age Range: 0-3
Getting Dressed is a fantastic bilingual book that features Inukitut and English printing. It brings readers through the process of a child getting ready to go outside in the winter. Inhabit Education is a Nunavut-based publisher, providing educational resources that reflect the cultural context of Nunavut from a team that includes experienced Inuktut language specialists.
Phyllis’s Orange Shirt
By Phyllis Webstad. Illustrated by Brock Nicol.
Age Range: 4+
Phyllis’s Orange Shirt introduces the origin story of how Orange Shirt Day came to be. Phyllis’s grandmother buys her a bright orange shirt, but upon arrival at her new school her shirt is taken away. This book is a fantastic age-appropriate way to open the topic of so-called residential “schools” with your children.
The Girl and the Wolf
By Katherena Vermette. Illustrated by Julie Flett.
Age Range: 4-7
While picking berries in the woods, a girl gets separated from her mother. She comes across a friendly wolf who decides to help her using his sense of smell. The book concludes with the girl leaving out tobacco to thank the wolf for his kindness.
The Way Creator Sees You
By Shayla Raine. Illustrated by Shayla and Anwar Hussain.
Age Range: 4+
“The Way Creator Sees You,” is a book of poetry to help empower Indigenous children. It is a story about a young boy whose Grandmother teaches him about where his hair and his name came from. Author Shayla Raine shared her inspiration for this book with IndigiNews, when “The Way Creator Sees You” was released independently earlier this month.