+
More

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

[rebelmouse-image 19533169 dam="1" original_size="600x577" caption=""You Hold Me Up" by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533170 dam="1" original_size="600x660" caption=""When We Were Alone" by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533171 dam="1" original_size="386x386" caption=""Little You" by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533172 dam="1" original_size="500x400" caption=""Sweetest Kulu" by Celina Kalluk, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533173 dam="1" original_size="600x562" caption=""My Heart Fills With Happiness" by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533174 dam="1" original_size="600x776" caption=""I Am Not A Number" by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533175 dam="1" original_size="400x478" caption=""Hiawatha and the Peacemaker" by Robbie Robertson, illustrated by David Shannon" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533177 dam="1" original_size="600x603" caption=""When I Was Eight" by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533178 dam="1" original_size="528x581" caption=""Wild Berries" by Julie Flett" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533179 dam="1" original_size="600x600" caption=""We Sang You Home" by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533180 dam="1" original_size="318x400" caption=""Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey From Darkness Into Light" by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson" expand=1]"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

[rebelmouse-image 19533181 dam="1" original_size="600x708" caption=""Dragonfly Kites" by Tomson Highway, illustrated by Julie Flett" expand=1]"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.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

Keep ReadingShow less