13 recommended reads to diversify your kids' bookshelves.

Only 1% of the children’s books published in the U.S. in 2016 featured Indigenous characters.

Just a quarter of that 1% were written by Indigenous authors.

“Most of what kids see in books today are bestsellers and classics that stereotype and misrepresent native people in history," says American Indians in Children's Literature's Debbie Reese, who is Nambe Pueblo. She recommends books that veer away from those stereotypes. They feature modern-day culture, countering the notion that Indigenous people somehow vanished with the past.


This list of 13 recommended children’s books by Indigenous writers and illustrators was curated by The Conscious Kid Library and American Indians in Children’s Literature, in partnership with Brooklyn Children’s Museum. With these stories, Indigenous writers share the range of their lives, past and present.

1. "You Hold Me Up" by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel

"You Hold Me Up" by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel

This vibrant picture book encourages children to show love and support for each other in their everyday actions. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy, and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens. Ages 4–8.

2. "When We Were Alone" by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett

"When We Were Alone" by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. "When We Were Alone" is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, of empowerment and strength. Ages 4–8.

3. "Little You" by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett

"Little You" by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett

Richard Van Camp has partnered with award-winning illustrator Julie Flett to create a tender board book for babies and toddlers that celebrates the potential of every child. "Little You" is perfect to be shared, read or sung to all the little people in your life — and the new little ones on the way. Ages 0–5.

4. "Sweetest Kulu" by Celina Kalluk, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis

"Sweetest Kulu" by Celina Kalluk, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis

This bedtime poem written by Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk describes the gifts bestowed upon a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and lovingly written, this visually stunning book is infused with the Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants. Ages 3–7.

5. "My Heart Fills With Happiness" by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett

"My Heart Fills With Happiness" by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett

The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy. Ages 0–5.

6. "I Am Not A Number" by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland

"I Am Not A Number" by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland

When Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite being told to do otherwise. When she goes home for summer holidays, her parents decide never to send her away again, but what will happen when her parents disobey the law? "I Am Not A Number" is a powerful story of resistance, resilience, family, and identity. Ages 7–11.

7. "Hiawatha and the Peacemaker" by Robbie Robertson, illustrated by David Shannon

"Hiawatha and the Peacemaker" by Robbie Robertson, illustrated by David Shannon

Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Hiawatha was a strong Mohawk who was chosen to translate the Peacemaker’s message of unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. This message succeeded in uniting the tribes and forever changed how the Iroquois governed themselves — a blueprint for democracy that would later inspire the authors of the U.S. Constitution. Ages 5–10.

8. "Sharing Our World: Animals of the Native Northwest Coast" — an artists' collaboration

"Sharing Our World: Animals of the Native Northwest Coast" — an artists' collaboration

The images and text in this book are the collective work of First Nations and Native artists from communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Each artist from the Nuxalk, Namgis, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Haida, Bella Bella, Tsimshian, Kwa Na Ki Nulth, and Nuchatlaht Nations has shared the importance of their personal and cultural relationship to the natural world. Ages 3–7.

9. "When I Was Eight" by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

"When I Was Eight" by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

Olemaun is 8 and knows a lot of things, but she doesn't know how to read. Ignoring her father’s warnings, she travels far from her Arctic home to the outsiders’ school to learn. There she encounters a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn, but Olemaun is more determined than ever to learn how to read. Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. Ages 6–8.

10."Wild Berries" by Julie Flett

"Wild Berries" by Julie Flett

Tch, tch, sh, sh, tup, tup. Spend the day picking wild blueberries with Clarence and his grandmother. Meet ant, spider, and fox in the ancestral home of author and illustrator Julie Flett. This book is written in both English and Cree, in particular the n-dialect, also known as Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area. Ages 4–8.

11. "We Sang You Home" by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett

"We Sang You Home" by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett

In this sweet and lyrical board book from the creators of the bestselling "Little You," gentle rhythmic text captures the wonder new parents feel as they welcome baby into the world. A celebration of the bond between parent and child, this is the perfect song to share with your little ones. Ages 0–5.

12. "Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey From Darkness Into Light" by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson

"Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey From Darkness Into Light" by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson

Author Tim Tingle tells the story of his family’s move from Oklahoma Choctaw country to Pasadena, Texas. Spanning 50 years, Saltypie describes the problems encountered by his Choctaw grandmother  —  from her orphan days at an Indian boarding school to hardships encountered in her new home on the Gulf Coast. Saltypie is the story of one family’s efforts to honor the past while struggling to gain a foothold in modern America. Ages 6–10.

13. "Dragonfly Kites" by Tomson Highway, illustrated by Julie Flett

"Dragonfly Kites" by Tomson Highway, illustrated by Julie Flett

Joe and Cody, two young Cree brothers, are spending the summer with their family by one of the hundreds of lakes in northern Manitoba. Summer means a chance to explore the world and make friends with an array of creatures, but what Joe and Cody like doing best of all is flying dragonfly kites. Tomson Highway brilliantly evokes the very essence of childhood as he weaves a deceptively simple story about the power of the imagination. "Dragonfly Kites" has a bilingual text, written in English and Cree. Ages 4–7.

This story first appeared on Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

More

The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" shined a light on the cruelty that orcas face in captivity has created a sea change in the public's perception of SeaWorld and other marine life parks.

This "Blackfish" backlash nearly deep-sixed SeaWorld and led Canada to pass a law that bans oceanariums from breeding whales and dolphins or holding them in captivity. Animals currently being held in Canada's marine parks are allowed to remain as well as those taken in for rehabilitation.

Podcaster and MMA announcer Joe Rogan saluted Canada's decision on a recent episode.

"First of all, what assholes are we that we have those goddman things in captivity? A big fucking shout out to Canada because [they] mostly through the noise that my friend Phil Demers has created in trying to get MarineLand shut down," Rogan told his guest, economist and mathematician Eric Weinstein.

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet