Native American & Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month 2021

Posted & filed under Blog, display, Youth & Teen.

Join us in celebrating Native, Indigenous and First Nations voices this November, which is Native American Heritage Month, throughout our library. The fantastic video below, created by co-founders of Little Cheiis, Wade M. Adakai (Diné (Navajo) & Antonio Ramirez (Navajo/Hopi), offers the history and origins of Native American Heritage Month.

In 2019 and 2020 we created several book and interactive displays in our Youth & Teen Services department. There’s truly something for everybody – all year round! Visit us any time to borrow any of these fantastic books and take a copy of our resources. You can also use the links below to put books on hold to pick up at your convenience. They also make excellent gifts from your local indie bookshop. You can even buy books from Native owned stores like Red Planet Books and Comics and Birchbark Books! Book mail is the best!


For a full list of recommended adult books, click here.

For a full list of recommended teen books, click here.

For a full list of recommended middle grade books, click here.

For a full list of recommended informational books, click here.

For a full list of recommended picture books, click here.

Caregiver Care Kit: Read Native: Celebrating Native American and Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month

This year, we created a special Caregiver Care Kit: Read Native: Celebrating Native American and Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month kit that you can pick up in the library and in our Great Green Box. We also wanted to ensure these resources are available digitally so they’re more accessible for everyone.

The resources in this kit have been curated by Ms. Ann, our Early Literacy Specialist – with some help from Ms. Eti, to help support you and your family.

There are materials for you, the grown-up, as well as activities to do together with your child(ren).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Ann.

Read Native

Take the READ NATIVE Challenge from the American Indian Library Association: Here’s the official description: “The American Indian Library Association invites you to participate in the inaugural reading challenge. With this challenge we support and recognize our Indigenous authors, scientists, legislators, storytellers, and creators throughout the year, not just during the national Native American Heritage month. Throughout the year, find and read books and publications by and about Native Americans; visit tribal websites; search peer reviewed scholarly journals; visit Native-owned bookstores; and check with Native librarians for all of the best sources for learning more about Native Americans and Indigenous people around the world.” You can print out challenge logs here.

We have curated lots of fantastic books you can borrow from our library to take on this challenge! We’d love to hear what about what you read! And we’re always happy to make recommendations for you!


We All Play kimêtawânaw written and illustrated by Julie Flett: Companion Guide for Teachers and Parents by Jackie Lever

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac Educator Guide

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade Educator Guide

Worksheet For Selecting Native American Children’s Literature (Native Knowledge 360)

Molly of Denali: Molly and her Friends Coloring Page

Molly of Denali: Count & Count!

Coloring sheets from Saskatchewan Polytechnic School Activity Book

The Impact of Words and Tips for Using Appropriate Terminology: Am I Using the Right Word? (National Museum of the American Indian)

Teaching Respect For Native Peoples (by Oyate; hosted at Scholastic)

Deconstructing the Myths of ‘The First Thanksgiving’ by Judy Dow (Oyate)

Craft: Gratitude Jar

Getting into a gratitude practice has measurable benefits on physical and mental health. Every day, even the worst ones, has at least one moment to be grateful for. Model expressing these thankful feelings for your child(ren) and help them to notice the kindnesses all around them. Every day (or week, or whatever you feel like it!), help your child(ren) to write down something that they’re thankful for on a slip of scrapbook paper. Fold the paper and put it inside a jar. When the jar is full (or when you run out of paper), empty it out and take some time reading the slips of paper together as a family and enjoying the happy memories!


We’re so excited for Season 2 of Molly of Denali, which you can watch on YouTube and PBS Kids, which also includes tons of educational resources.

From Sesame Street in Communities: Meet the Clutes, a traditional Mohawk family from the Akwesasne territory in northern New York State. Mom Kawennahente, Dad Tehanonshake, and children Iakokariio, Raniehtanawenhtha, Teiakotshatatenion, and Kaweienonni live in Mohawk territory in upstate New York, close to the Canadian border. In this video, they talk about respect, stereotypes, fairness, justice, and resilience in direct, age-appropriate, and honest ways as they celebrate their culture and community.

Digital Resources for Learning More about Native, Indigenous, and First Nations Peoples

We have compiled resources that we hope can be helpful. This is NOT an exhaustive or definitive list of resources, but a collection of tools and resources we have found useful and informative as we have been curating our display and continuously learning more. The descriptions are from their websites. We put together a paper brochure in our displays for patrons to take, explore, & share. We’ve adapted the handout to make it accessible online here.


Native Land

This is a resource for North Americans (and others) to find out more about local Indigenous territories and languages.

Reclaiming Native Truth

Reclaiming Native Truth is a national effort to foster cultural, social and policy change by empowering Native Americans to counter discrimination, invisibility and the dominant narratives that limit Native opportunity, access to justice, health and self-determination. Reclaiming Native Truth’s goal is to move hearts and minds toward greater respect, inclusion and social justice for Native Americans. It was co-designed and co-led by IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma) and Echo Hawk Consulting.

Native Knowledge 360°

Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian provides educators and students with new perspectives on Native American history and cultures. NK360° provides educational materials and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America.

Molly of Denali (Teaching Resources Collection)

Informational text and Alaska Native culture form the basis of the groundbreaking Molly of Denali series and its educational resources. This collection offers videos, digital games, lessons, teaching tips, and activities so that educators can utilize the series in the classroom and home.

Living Nations, Living Words (signature project from Joy Harjo, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States)

Each location marker reveals a Native Nations poet and features an image, biography, and a link to hear the poet recite and comment on an original poem. This body of work forms the foundation of a “Living Nations, Living Words” online collection in the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center.

Find & Evaluate Books

American Indians in Children’s Literature

Established in 2006 by Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambé Pueblo, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) provides critical analysis of Indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books. Dr. Jean Mendoza joined AICL as a co-editor in 2016.

2019 Arbuthnot Lecture: An Indigenous Critique of Whiteness in Children’s Literature by Dr. Debbie Reese (Children and Libraries). You can watch the recorded livestream of the lecture here

Indigo’s Bookshelf: Voices of Native Youth

“Florida” Seminole & Miccosukee teens review books by and about Native peoples and comment on other news of interest to their communities.

American Indian Youth Literature Award

Awarded biennially, the AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by and about Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America.

Teacher and Librarian Resources for Native American Children’s and Young Adult Books

Cynthia Leitich Smith, a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is a best-selling, award-winning children’s-YA writer, writing teacher, and the author-curator of the Native-centered Heartdrum imprint at HarperCollins Children’s Books. This bibliography is compiled in hopes of improving education related to Native peoples and Nations. (Cynthia’s entire website is an invaluable resource.)

Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith website


Native America Calling

Native America Calling brings listeners together in a thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities.


Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Host Falen Johnson takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country. The Unreserved team offers real talk from the people behind the headlines, with a soundtrack from the best in Indigenous music.

All My Relations

All My Relations is a team of folks who care about representations, and how Native peoples are represented in mainstream media. Hosts Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), delve into a different topic facing Native peoples today, bringing in guests from all over Indian Country to offer perspectives and stories.

This Land

Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, a citizen of Cherokee Nation. An 1839 assassination of a Cherokee leader and a 1999 murder case – two crimes nearly two centuries apart provide the backbone to a 2020 Supreme Court decision that determined the fate of five tribes and nearly half the land in Oklahoma.


Kīwew is a five-part podcast in which Governor General award-winning author David A. Robertson (Norway House Cree Nation) dives into his family’s history and mysteries as he discovers and connects with his Cree identity.

This Place: 150 Years Retold Podcast

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel anthology, This Place is a 10-part journey through one-hundred and fifty years of Indigenous resistance and resilience, hosted by Rosanna Deerchild (O-Pipon-Na-Piwan Cree Nation).

Learning Experiences

NK360° Webinars: Giving Thanks: Telling More Complete Narratives About Thanksgiving

Engage with primary sources and artwork to grapple with the mythology of the “First Thanksgiving”. Teachers will identify how misrepresentations contribute to the false narratives around the First Thanksgiving and its participants.

Native American & Indigenous Series with Dakota County Library

Join Dakota County Library for a series that uplifts diverse experiences and voices of Indigenous, Native and American Indian communities. Honor and celebrate Native peoples through literature, storytelling, music and the arts. Learn about historical and contemporary personal experiences of being Native in America and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for Indigenous life and Native cultures.

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with Chicago Public Library in November

Join Chicago Public Library in celebrating and uplifting Native/Indigenous voices with Chicago Public Library in November. This year, we celebrate (Re)Taking Up Space, inviting all to listen to our guest speakers talk about unceded lands, celebrate representation and inclusion in contemporary media and learn more about important issues such as the movement for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People.

Illuminatives Native American Education for All

IllumiNative is partnering with the National Indian Education Association and Amplifier to create and disseminate engaging digital education tools, lesson plans, and resources about Native American art, culture, history and contemporary life.

Living Nations, Living Words (signature project from Joy Harjo, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States)

Each location marker reveals a Native Nations poet and features an image, biography, and a link to hear the poet recite and comment on an original poem. This body of work forms the foundation of a “Living Nations, Living Words” online collection in the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center.


Empower Native Kids to Read by Aliyah Chavez (Kewa Pueblo) (Indian Country Today)

How Native Writers Talk Story: Honoring Authentic Voices in Books for Young People by ​​​​​​​Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek Nation) and Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation) (School Library Journal)

Native Perspectives: Books by, for, and about Indigenous People: Great Books by ​​​​​​​Kara Stewart (Sappony) (School Library Journal)

Unteaching the Native Narrative by Kara Stewart (Sappony) (School Library Journal)

“Readers are Realizing their Hunger for our Stories:” Native Literature for Kids and Teens by Kelly Jensen (Book Riot)

Looking for even more awesome resources? Make sure to check out our YouTube channel for booktalks throughout this month celebrating Native and Indigenous voices!

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Posted & filed under Blog, display, Early Literacy, Youth & Teen.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! You can learn more about the origins of this month designed to “celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian/Pacific Americans have made to American history, society and culture” here. To celebrate, our librarians curated lists of books by Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander creators for readers of all ages to enjoy all year long. Below, we have included photos of our staff picks displays, learning resources, virtual events to attend, and ways to take action to support our AAPI community.


You can stop by to browse our displays and/or click the titles below to put materials on hold at our library or other libraries in our system. The pictures below are just some of the books we’ve put on our displays. This is definitely not a definitive list of books or resources, but hopefully a good place to start reading, discussing, and sharing. We’d love to hear from you about the resources you find useful.

Picture Books

Picture Books pictured above from left to right:

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldrep

Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan, illustrated by Saffa Khan

A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Seo Kim

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh By Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Alea Marley

Watercress by Andrea Chang, illustrated by Jason Chin

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One

Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis, illustrated by Kenard Pak

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow

Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson, Illustrated by Rebecca Huang

Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar, illustrated by Khoa Le

Middle Grade/Chapter Books

Middle grade/chapter books pictured above from left to right:

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices, edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Sara Alfageeh

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Stargazing by Jen Wang

Awesome Asian Americans: 20 Stars who made America Amazing by Philip Amara & Oliver Chin, illustrated by Juan Calle

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers & the Staff of The New York Times

Game of Stars (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #2) by Sayantani DasGupta

Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê, illustrated by Andie Tong

Dawn Raid by Pauline Vaeluaga Smith

Young Adult

Young adult books pictured above from left to right:

Finding My Voice by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Flamer by Mike Curato

Come on In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home, edited by Adi Alsaid

Shine by Jessica Jung

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Gurihiru

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir by Robin Ha

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience, edited by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond


Adult books pictured above from left to right:

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui

Oleander Girl: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee

Chinatown Pretty by Andria Lo & Valerie Luu

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir by T Kira Madden

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Iep jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter by Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner

Asian Americans PBS series (all episodes also available streaming online here)

In addition to our physical displays, you can access many of these titles, as well as films, documentaries, ebooks and audiobooks on Overdrive and Hoopla. Kanopy has also curated a selection of films and documentaries for Asian American and Pacific Islander month that you can access with your library card.

Virtual Events

There are incredible virtual events across the country that we can attend from our homes. I’ve selected a couple suggested events, but there are definitely many happening throughout this month and beyond.

Dakota County Library in Minnesota is hosting a variety of programs to uplift diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) experiences and voice including:

*music and dance performances

*author talks with Paula Yoo, author of The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement, An Na, author of The Place Between Breaths, V.T. Bidania, author of the Astrid and Apollo series, and Kao Kalia Yang, author of Somewhere in the Unknown World

*a talk with historian and librarian Sarah Okner to learn about the intern​ment of more than 120,000 Japanese American adults and children during World War II

*conversation about Asian American Adoptees in Children’s Literature with award-winning poet, educator, and Korean adoptee Sun-Yung Shin along with library science professor and adoption scholar Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen, and so much more!

Register here.

Join the Asian Author Alliance for AAPI Book Month, “a month-long celebration of AAPI identities and cultures. AAPI authors and artists will come together for virtual panels and events throughout the month of May! Join us for discussions and celebrations of Asian and Pacific Islander identities and cultures!” Set reminders to attend their YouTube Panels, which you can always watch at your convenience.

We’re especially excited for the Diversity in YA 10 Year Anniversary Discussion (Instagram Live) with Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon on Friday, May 7 at 7pm CT.

“A decade ago, Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo launched Diversity in YA, a national book tour and website that celebrated diversity in young adult books. Today they look back on the ten-year anniversary of DiYA and talk about what’s changed and what hasn’t since 2011.”

Some of the best learning experiences we’ve had this year have been at Skokie Public Library’s Civic Lab. Civic Lab returns on Monday, May 10 from 7:30-8:30pm CT for a session on Asian American Activism.

“The term “Asian American” did not come into existence until the 1960s. Learn about the history of the term, its inclusion of Pacific Islanders, and the legacy of Asian American solidarity movements.” Register here.

Take Action

“Introduced by Sen. Villivalam and Rep. Gong-Gershowitz, the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act (HB 376) will paint a more complete picture of our shared history by adding Asian American history to the Illinois School Code.” According to the Asian American Caucus, “This bill would ensure Asian American students learn stories that reflect their experiences. Further, all students will have a better understanding of Asian American communities, experiences, and histories as part of our country.”

The bill has passed in the Illinois House of Representatives, and now goes to the Senate. You can email your Legislators to Co-Sponsor and vote to pass the TEAACH Act ((HB 376 and SB 648) here. You can learn more about the efforts to pass this bill here.

Support organizations like Stop AAPI Hate, Hate is a Virus, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Participate in bystander intervention trainings and continued education.

Support providing Asian American Studies and Asian American Literature classes. Check out the Defining Safe podcast hosted by Yiming Fu with Albert Chan, a social studies teacher at Niles North High School & Niles West High School, about the process to create the Asian American studies class in D219.

What other ways are you taking action?

Learning Resources

Want to find even more excellent books? Check out the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, which is awarded by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA).

Check out the Guide for Parents of Asian/Asian American Adolescents (William James College Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health (CMGMH) Asian Mental Health Program, in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital  (MGH) Center for Cross Cultural Student Emotional Wellness).

Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen has created an invaluable (and continually growing) collection of Asian American K-12 Resources.

You can watch all five episodes of PBS’s Asian Americans documentary series for free online.

“Asian Americans is a five-hour film series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided, while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate and personal lives, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played in shaping the nation’s story.”

You can also access behind-the-scenes process interviews, educational resources and lesson plans, and an interactive gallery.

Embrace Race offers incredible webinars (with recordings available afterwards) for caregivers, educators and community members including the recent Violence Against Asian Americans: How Do We Support the Children?.

Attend the on-demand webinar from Learning for Justice about Teaching Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.