National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. We’ve rounded up 10 Indigenous children’s authors to celebrate and open the conversation around Indigenous peoples. No need to wait until June 21 though, these books can be read year-round!
By: Aviaq Johnston
Nalvana feels like all of her friends have some type of superpower. She has friends with super speed (who always beat her in races), friends with super strength (who can dangle from the monkey bars for hours), and friends who are better than her at a million other things. Nalvana thinks she must be the only kid in town without a superpower. But then her mom shows Nalvana that she is unique and special, and that her superpower was right in front of her all along.
By: Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley
This heartwarming story based on the author’s own life experience teaches young readers the value of hard work, helping, and caring—even when the thing you are caring for does not love you back.
By: Various Artists
Featuring the work of 21 contributing artists.
By: Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley
In the time before animals were as they are today, Raven and Loon were both white. Their feathers had no colour at all. Raven spent his days swooping through the sky trying to fight off his incessant boredom, while loon spent her days in her iglu working away on her sewing. One day, too bored to even fly, Raven visited Loon and suggested a sewing game that would give their feathers some much-needed colour. The results – not at all what the two birds expected – led to Raven and Loon acquiring their now-familiar coats.This whimsical retelling of a pan-Arctic traditional story features lively, colourful illustrations from Kim Smith.
By: Susan Avingaq
Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things. One afternoon, their mother leaves the iglu to help a neighbour, and Susan, Rebecca, and their brother Peter are left with their father. They play all their regular games but are soon out of things to do—until their father brings out the pencil! As Susan draws and draws, the pencil grows shorter and shorter. What will their mother think when she comes home? Based on author Susan Avingaq’s childhood memories of growing up in an igloo, this charming story introduces young readers to the idea of using things wisely.
By: Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley
When Raven came across Walrus expertly diving for clams, he quickly became jealous of Walrus’s great clam-hunting skills. So, as Walrus was about to surface with a tasty mouthful of clams, Raven cast a spell on the ocean, freezing Walrus in place! Walrus’s curly, twisting tusks became frozen in the enchanted ice. But Raven soon discovered that his magic was no match for Walrus’s great physical strength. Walrus managed to escape, but his tusks would never be the same!
By: Monique Gray Smith
When We Are Kind celebrates simple acts of everyday kindness and encourages children to explore how they feel when they initiate and receive acts of kindness in their lives. Celebrated author Monique Gray Smith has written many books on the topics of resilience and reconciliation and communicates an important message through carefully chosen words for readers of all ages. Beautifully illustrated by artist Nicole Neidhardt, this book encourages children to be kind to others and to themselves.
By: David A. Robertson
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago — a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.
By: Joanne Robertson
The story of a determined Ojibwe Grandmother (Nokomis) Josephine-ba Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect Nibi for future generations, and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men, and youth, have walked around all the Great Lakes from the four salt waters, or oceans, to Lake Superior. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine-ba invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.
What are some of your favorite books by Indigenous authors? Share with us below!