Books for Older Teens About Native Americans

Today is Friday, November 29, 2013.

The following are some book recommendations for older teens in high school.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown, 2007), by Sherman Alexie, includes lots of elements of modern life for Native American kids, including how Indians are depicted at Thanksgiving, attending boarding school, sports and mascot names, and learning to fit in.


Night Flying Woman: An Ojibway Narrative (Minnesota Historical Society, 1983).  Author Ignatia Broker’s kids asked her questions about their heritage, which prompted her to write about the life of her great-great-granmother, Oona (Night Flying Woman).  The story illustrates how the Ojibway people had to move repeatedly in an effort to maintain their traditional way of life, but how they eventually adopted the ways of the white men.


Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today (HarperCollins, 2005), edited by Loria Marie Carlson, is a collection of Native writers of children’s and adult literature.  The stories are honest and edgy.  Some may be unsettling, but all are inspiring.


Waterlily. (Univ. of Nebraska, 1990), by Ella C. Deloria is the story of a Dakota woman who worked as a research assistant for a famous anthropologist during the early period of Dakota/white contact.

winters night

Stories for a Winter’s Night: Fiction by Native American Writers (White Pine, 1999) edited by Maurice Kenny, includes Drew Hayden Taylor’s satire, “Oh, Just Call Me an Indian” and Tehanetorens/Ray Fadden’s hilarious “Needles,” about raising a porcupine.  There is a mix of traditional stories and new ones in this anthology.

one good story

One Good Story, That One: Stories (HarperCollins, 1993), by Thomas King, is a collection of stories, each of which invites readers to re-think what they really know about Native people, their history, and the issues that are important in their lives.

men on the moon

In the title story of Men on the Moon: Collected Short Stories. Sun Tracks Series. (Univ. of Arizona, 1999), by Simon Ortiz, an elderly Acoma man asks question about the pursuit of knowledge that make the reader question the wisdom of society.  In another story set in San Francisco, a Native American comes across some hippies who want to be Indians.  These are stories to make the reader think.


Blue Horses Rush In: Poems and Stories (Univ. of Arizona, 1997), by Luci Tapahonso, is a collection of stories with a preface written by the author in which she tells readers about her life as a Diné (Navajo).  The stories and poems deal with change, conflict, birth and death, and with the ways her heritage sustains her.

lesser blessed

The Lesser Blessed (Douglas & McIntyre, 2004), by Richard Van Camp, is best appreciated by older teens and adults, since it deals with mature themes, including alcohol use, violence, and sex.

Enjoy reading.  🙂


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