As you prepare for another school year, we know you’re looking for thoughtful, high-quality Indigenous content to include in your lessons. Written by Indigenous authors, these books give teachers the language and tools to introduce students from kindergarten to grade 6 to Indigenous perspectives.
Books for Bringing Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge into the Classroom
Stories help young children understand the world around them. These books use storytelling to teach elementary school students about both traditional and contemporary ways of life in Indigenous communities.
Siha Tooskin Knows series
for ages 9–11
Paul Wahasaypa (aka Siha Tooskin) is a young Nakota boy living in a modern, urban community guided by the age-old knowledge and traditions of his family, his people, and his ancestors. This 11-year-old boy demonstrates the spirit of love and community among his Indigenous relations.
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Gifts of His People, Paul learns about the origins of many modern conveniences and inventions. There’s so much to learn about the earliest forms of technology, travel, medicine, and food from right here on Turtle Island!
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Sacred Eagle Feather, Paul’s Mitoshin explains the teachings about where eagle feathers come from and why they are so sacred.
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Strength of His Hair, Paul is nervous about starting at a new school. Mitoshin reminds him how strength of character can be found in the strength of his hair.
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Catcher of Dreams, Paul imagines the future of a new baby sister and listens to Mugoshin’s teachings about dream catchers.
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Nature of Life, Paul learns how strength, generosity, kindness, and humility are all shown to us by grandfather rocks, towering trees, four-legged ones, and winged ones.
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Best Medicine, Paul isn’t feeling well, and he learns that there are answers for him from both the healing practices of his people and from Western medicine.
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Offering of Tobacco, Paul knows it is important to show honour and appreciation when taking plants from the earth or knowledge from a learned person. Join Paul and his teacher Mrs. Baxter as they learn about the protocol of offering tobacco.
In Siha Tooskin Knows the Love of the Dance, Paul has invited his friend, Jeff, to his first-ever powwow! Follow along as Jeff learns all about the dances and their beautiful traditions.
Order all eight books as a set and save!
Get the education guide to support learning and discussion.
Mothers of Xsan series
for ages 9–12
The Gitxsan Nation are Indigenous peoples whose homeland surrounds the Xsan, or “River of Mist,” which is also known as the Skeena River. In the Mothers of Xsan series, author Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson) and illustrator Natasha Donovan guide young readers through the life cycles that nourish the land and people.
The Sockeye Mother follows a sockeye salmon fry from its nursing waters, to the Pacific ocean, and back.
The Grizzly Mother has readers joining a mother grizzly and her cubs as they journey through the Gitxsan territories.
The Eagle Mother shows how bald eagles can enrich their entire ecosystem in this perfect mix of story and science.
Click here to pre-order the fourth book, The Frog Mother, coming spring 2021.
When We Were Alone
for ages 4–8
An empowering story of resistance that gently introduces children to the history of residential schools in Canada.
In When We Were Alone, a young girl notices things about her grandmother that make her curious. As she asks questions, her grandmother tells her about her experiences in a residential school.
Order the Governor General’s Award-winning book that captivated readers across the country.
Coming soon in a bilingual edition featuring Swampy Cree syllabics and Roman orthography alongside the original English! Pre-order now to get it for your classroom this fall.
Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock
for ages 4–8
When Awâsis’s kôhkum (grandmother) asks Awâsis to deliver a batch of her world-famous bannock to a relative, a mishap takes her on a detour through her community. As young readers follow Awâsis on her journey, they’ll encounter words in Cree that describe her world.
Using traditional Indigenous methods of storytelling to help kids practise common Cree words, this charming book includes a recipe for kôhkum’s world-famous bannock!
Nimoshom and His Bus
for ages 4–8
Children from all backgrounds will fall in love with Nimoshom, who loves driving the school bus for the children in his community. With beautiful watercolour illustrations, this heartwarming story brings kids aboard Nimoshom’s bus to learn daily expressions in Cree.
Learn new Cree words with your students. Purchase this book for your classroom today.
Pīsim Finds Her Miskanaw
for ages 10–18
The newly revised edition of Pīsim Finds Her Miskanaw features updated Rocky Cree translations and an expanded glossary, augmented with new maps to give a more detailed look at Pīsim’s journey. These enhancements make this book a great tool for teachers and a great addition to any library.
Out of an important archaeological discovery came this unique story about a week in the life of Pīsim, a young Cree woman, who lived in the mid 1600s. Pīsim begins to recognize her miskanaw—the path for her life—and to develop her gifts for fulfilling that path. The story is accompanied by sidebars on Cree language and culture, archaeology and history, maps, songs, and more.
Great ideas for using this book in your classroom can be found in the Teacher’s Guide for Pīsim Finds Her Miskanaw.
Young readers are filled with curiosity about their world and the people in it. With colourful artwork and kid-friendly language, these books can help foster healthy dialogue about Indigenous peoples in your elementary classroom.
What are your favourite books to use in your classroom? Tell us in the comments!