Brothers & Sisters: American Indian Heritage

From a brother and sister who get lost on the Plains under the giant night sky to sisters who are sent to an off-reservation school together, these stories capture the deep bonds of siblings and their many adventures together.

As Long as the Rivers Flow

Illustrated by: Heather D. Holmlund
Age Level: 9-12

Loyie shares a quiet but powerful first-person account of his last summer before he and his siblings were taken away from their family. Most of the story focuses on what was otherwise a normal seasonal routine for the Cree people of that era, with the family moving from their main cabin to their summer "camp" for a few weeks…When the children learn that they must go to the residential school or their parents will be imprisoned, and they are physically loaded onto the back of a truck by strangers, the sense of separation and loss is keenly felt. — School Library Journal

Caribou Song

Illustrated by: John Rombough
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Joe and Cody are young Cree brothers who follow the caribou all year long, tucked into their dog sled with Mama and Papa. To entice the wandering caribou, Joe plays his accordion and Cody dances. They are so involved with their dancing and music that they don't hear the roaring of the approaching herd of caribou. What should be a moment of terror turns into something mystical and magical, as the boys open their arms and their hearts to embrace the caribou spirit. Winner of the 2014 American Indian Youth Literature Award.

Chickadee

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons have spent every day side by side and have done everything together since they were born — until the day the unthinkable happens and the brothers are separated. Desperate to reunite, Chickadee and his family must travel across new territories, forge unlikely friendships, and experience both unexpected moments of unbearable heartache as well as pure happiness. And through it all, Chickadee has the strength of his namesake, the chickadee, to carry him on.

Children of the Longhouse

Age Level: 9-12

In this coming-of-age story, the children of the longhouse are 11-year-old Ohkwa'ri and Itsi:tsia. Twin brother and sister, they live in a Mohawk town in the traditional homelands of what is now eastern New York State in 1491. Reflecting the balance between male and female roles in Iroquois society, the book's chapters alternate between the events and perspectives of Ohkwa'ri and Itsi:tsia, who very definitely see things differently. Bruchac seamlessly incorporates an impressive amount of information about pre-contact Mohawk culture, society, and beliefs, and tells a good story as well.

Dancing with the Cranes

Illustrated by: Ron Hall
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Dancing with the Cranes gives an understanding of birth, life and death. Chi's momma is soon to have a baby, but Chi is having a hard time being happy about it. Chi misses Temma (her grandma), who has passed away. Chi's momma and daddy help ease the pain of losing Temma and help Chi to understand life and death as a part of nature. Chi soon finds herself feeling comforted, knowing Temma will always be a part of her and looking forward to the new baby who will be a part of their lives.

Home to Medicine Mountain

Illustrated by: Judith Lowry
Age Level: 6-9

In the 1930s, two young brothers are sent to a government-run Indian residential school where they are forbidden to speak their native tongue and are taught to abandon their Indian ways. In this award-winning book, Judith Lowry's illustrations are inspired by the stories she heard from her father and uncle about their journey home one summer, escaping the school as stowaways atop a train.

Shannon: An Ojibway Dancer (We Are Still Here)

Illustrated by: Catherine Whipple
Age Level: 6-9

Shannon lives in Minneapolis with her grandmother, sisters, and cousins and is a fancy shawl dancer…A bit of tribal history and culture relevant to the events described, excellent full-color photographs and maps, and further reading lists make these titles essential purchases for school, public, and tribal libraries. — School Library Journal (We Are Still Here: Native Americans Today)

SkySisters

Illustrated by: Brian Deines
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Two Ojibwe sisters set off across the frozen north country to see the Sky Spirits' midnight dance. It isn't easy for the younger sister to stay silent, but gradually she begins to treasure the stillness and the wonderful experiences it brings. This powerful story, with its stunning illustrations, captures the chill of a northern night, the warmth of the family circle, and the radiance of a child's wonder.

The Star People: A Lakota Story

Age Level: 6-9

"While exploring the land around their village, Sister Girl and Young Wolf stray too far. After narrowly escaping a roaring prairie fire, the siblings find themselves lost and frightened in the dark, open land until the Star People, 'the spirits of the Old Ones who once walked on the earth,' offer comfort and guidance home.

When the Shadbush Blooms

Illustrated by: David Kanietakeron Fadden
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: "My grandparents' grandparents walked beside the same stream where I walk with my brother, and we can see what they saw." Today when a Lenape Indian girl ventures to the stream to fish for shad, she knows that another girl did the same generations before. Told through the cycle of seasons by Traditional Sister and Contemporary Sister, this is a book about tradition and about change. Includes an afterword about the culture and history of the Lenni Lenape (formerly known as the Delaware Indians).