Christmas Stories: American Indian Heritage

In these wonderful holiday tales, find out what happens when Coyote goes Christmas shopping and when children in the Arctic circle who haven't seen trees before are presented with strange, spindly Christmas trees!

More information on Native American Christmas celebrations is available from the California Indian Education website.

A Coyote Solstice Tale

Illustrated by: Frederic Clement
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Wily trickster Coyote is having his friends over for a little solstice get-together in the woods when a little girl comes by unexpectedly. She leads the friends through the snowy woods to the mall — a place they had never seen before. The trickster goes crazy with glee as he shops with abandon, only to discover that filling a shopping cart with goodies is not quite the same thing as actually paying for them.

Baseball Bats for Christmas

Illustrated by: Vladyana Krykorka
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: In 1955, Rocky Parsons, the bush pilot, drops off a bunch of Christmas trees in Repulse Bay much to the delight of the kids who have never before seen a tree. What do you do with a bunch of splidly trees, the purposes of which are not immediately apparent? Play baseball, of course! An autobiographical tale from Michael Kusugak's childhood tells a story of life in the arctic, and shows how easily different cultures can interpret things differently.

Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story

Age Level: 6-9

Drawing on childhood memories of Christmas in a New Mexican village, Momaday produces a poetic story that skillfully blends Christian and Native American traditions. On Christmas Eve, Tolo, a lonely mute boy, is drawn by the spirit of his beloved grandfather to a bonfire in the mountains, where he shares a "circle of wonder and good will" with an elk, a wolf and an eagle…in this brief glimpse of the interconnectedness of all life, his loneliness is banished forever. Features Momaday's singular, impressionistic artwork. — Publishers Weekly

Coyote Christmas: A Lakota Story

Age Level: 6-9

Harry N. Abrams: Sneaky Coyote is known in the Native American tradition as the Trickster. He knows that there's one character people can't refuse on Christmas Eve: Santa Claus! Using straw for a jolly belly and wool for his Santa's beard, the Trickster fools a family into welcoming him to their Christmas meal. But just when he thinks he's gotten away with his ruse, taking their food and leaving the family with nothing, he's foiled by a strange occurrence. Could it be a Christmas miracle?

Native American Night Before Christmas

Illustrated by: Jesse T. Hummingbird
Age Level: 3-6

Clear Light Publications: An innovative retelling of the classic Christmas tale, Native American Night Before Christmas presents a whimsical look at a Native American Christmas Eve, when Old Red Shirt (the Indian Santa Claus) comes a-calling on his wooden sleigh pulled by a team of flying white buffalo. Jesse Hummingbird's inspired illustration transform the author's playful adaptation into a fresh and modern work of art. A delight for people of all ages and cultures. Winner of the 2010 Moonbeam Award for Holiday Books.

Red Parka Mary

Illustrated by: Rhian Brynjolson
Age Level: 6-9

In this heartwarming Christmas story from Saskatchewan writer and storyteller Peter Eyvindson, a young boy who has been afraid of his elderly neighbor, Red Parka Mary, soon comes to realize that she is both friendly and generous. As he gets to know Mary better, he begins appreciate her wisdom and warmth while discovering all that she has to teach him.

The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood

Illustrated by: Ellen Beier
Age Level: 6-9

From Holiday House: Virginia's coat is too small and hardly protects her from the frigid South Dakata winter. As Christmas approaches, all the children on the Sioux reservation look forward to receiving boxes full of clothing sent by congregations in the East. Virginia spots a beautiful gray fur coat but holds back tears as it is claimed by one of her classmates. Later, Virginia can't believe what Mama brings home. Based on an event from the author's childhood, this picture book captures the true spirit of Christmas.

The Crying Christmas Tree

Age Level: 6-9

Kokum (Grandmother) has gone to find the perfect Christmas tree for her family. When the grandchildren see the scrawny tree she brings home, however, they laugh and throw out the tree. Kokum is saddened by their reaction, but continues with her holiday preparations; when she returns from her Christmas shopping, she finds a wonderful surprise waiting for her. Set on the Whitefish Bay Reserve, Ojibwe author Allan Crow shares a touching story about the meaning of Christmas.