Indigenous People's Day
The second Monday in October (formerly Columbus Day) is now being celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day. I realize that there are people still acknowledging and celebrating Columbus Day. But I figure he’s had his day in the sun. Also, I think it’s worth pointing out that EVERY DAY is indigenous people’s day if you’re an indigenous person.
Anyway, I’ve decided that a good way for me to spend my time is to research books by and about Native Americans rather than continuing to tell Columbus’s story. Fortunately, when I attended ChLA in June, I learned of Dr. Debbie Reese’s American Indians in Children’s Literature blog and I had the good fortune to hear Dr. Reese speak. I was also able to interview her for my podcast and have been profoundly affected, in a good way. More to come on that.
Meanwhile, I have pulled just a few titles from her website to share with you here. There are so many lists on her site! Take a look! It’s a very rich resource.
The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz and Sharol Graves - which I first learned about in this video - has been rereleased by Lee and Low (many resources on their site as well!) and I am looking forward to getting this new copy. I think this will be a great way to talk through the history of the land we inhabit. And to do so in a less euro-centric way. I have struggled with this every single year at Thanksgiving when the little coloring pages that the girls bring home from school don’t do justice to the true story. But I never quite know how to talk it through. Hoping this book will help.
Fall in line, Holden! by Daniel W. Vandever - published by Salina Bookshelf - this book tells the story of a young Navajo boy who struggles in boarding school to stick to the schedules and standards imposed on him, but whose imagination and creativity help him rise above his struggle. If you’re not already familiar with the practice of sending native children to boarding schools, check the author’s note of the NEXT book I’m going to tell you about …
You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith and Danielle Daniel - published by Orca Book Publishers in Canada. I’m not even going to try to rewrite what the publisher says here; I’m just going to quote it outright…
Last but certainly not least is We Are Grateful Otsaliheliga by Tracy Sorrel and Frané Lessac, published by Charlesbridge. This is out just last month and isn’t on Debbie Reese’s website yet but I have no doubt it’ll be on the Best Books of 2018 list on Dr. Reese’s site. This book features the Cherokee language - even the written in Cherokee (not just written in English); it’s really beautiful.
I encourage you to visit and bookmark Dr. Reese’s blog and look for these and other books - and look for #ownvoices wherever possible! Thank you, Dr. Reese, for your invaluable resource!
PS: Here’s another article I found very helpful - with more book suggestions!