MCCBD Feature: 10 Native Books to Inspire the Young Ones and Young at Heart!

Sandy Tharp-Thee, author of The Apple Tree, shares her book list “​10 Native Books to Inspire the Young Ones and Young at Heart!” Check out the preview below and the full list & 25 book giveaway on the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website.

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1. Buffalo Song by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

The story of how the buffalo nearly became extinct, but because people cared enough and worked together we can still enjoy the American buffalo today. It offers insight to the meaning and importance of the buffalo to Native people from yesteryear to today. Based on true events, it reveals the consequences of one small buffalo being rescued by a boy and his father.

I believe the author said he spent sixteen years researching this true story.  When I read it, I like to have the children sing with me.  As a tribal librarian, this story allowed me to share the past, present, and future of buffalo.  Today, the buffalo are no longer in danger, and we can enjoy them in the wild but also purchase the healthier bison meat.  It is because of people coming together that this is possible.

Before reading this story with the children, I would share:  Imagine if I could give you a gift and that gift gave you the shoes that you are wearing.  Now imagine if that same gift provided your clothes, food, and even your shelter or home.  What might you say to the creator that gave you such a gift?  How would you care for such a gift? [picture book, ages 7 and up]


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2. The Story of Jumping Mouse by John Steptoe

One of the smallest creatures—the mouse—is drawn to the sound of the river and the idea of reaching the top of a mountain.  His journey gives him a new name, “Jumping Mouse.” Along the way he discovers that he can help those in great need.  The sacrifice is huge, but he freely gives, and his award in the end is life changing.

This story is precious to me because the mouse while being so small is nonetheless unafraid.  Even when a buffalo and a wolf cross his path, the mouse doesn’t let his feelings of awe overcome him; instead, he humbly revels in the realization that a little mouse like he might be able to help them.  Indeed, he helps the two strangers freely without question.  If only we could be like the tiny mouse.  One of my favorite sayings is to remember whatever we do is not wasted, and, of, course everything we do does come back. [picture book, ages 7 and up]


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3. Welcome Song for Baby by Richard Van Camp

This board book is true to its title—a song to welcome a baby.  Every child deserves to hear how dear, loved, cherished, and beautiful they are and how they are making the world a better place.   A promise and thank you sung to the gift: the baby.

This book is a song, and I have found that babies will stop crying to listen to it sung softly.  But more than that, babies need to hear the sweet words of welcome that are in this book.  Siblings could easily learn the words to sing to a new brother or sister. The photographs are excellent, and I found even the youngest of children enjoy looking at real photographs.  (One of my younger patrons with autism especially enjoyed books that included photographs with faces.) [picture book, ages infant and up]


Read the full list & enter the giveaway here.