The Kids Are All Right

Native American Heritage Month, Early Mornings, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! This month is Native American Heritage Month, and something neat to do with kids is to look up which tribes lived in your area before encountering white colonists and research those tribes — what happened to them when white colonialists forcibly occupied their territories, where do members of those tribes live now, etc. This map, created by an Indigenous nonprofit, is an excellent tool for discovering where tribes lived.

Bookish Goods

Decolonize Education tote bag by OgokiWild

Decolonize Education Tote Bag by OgokiWild

This decolonizing education tote will be perfect for carrying your current Indigenous and Native American reads (and perhaps a good present for teachers). It’s created and sold by an Indigenous Etsy shop. $20

New Releases

Cover of Too Early by Ericson

Too Early by Nora Ericson, illustrated by Elly MacKay (picture book)

This lovely and oh-so-relatable picture book is told from the perspective of a child who wakes up very early. Both the child’s parents and infant sibling are still asleep, but the father rises with the child, both going outside, snuggling, and watching the sunrise. It’s a lovely moment between child and father, though I imagine the father would rather be sleeping. The author told me this was inspired by her child waking up at 4 a.m. every morning when they were younger.

Cover of My Paati's Saris by Gopal

My Paati’s Saris by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, illustrated by Art Twink (picture book)

In this vibrantly illustrated, lyrical picture book, a young boy loves his Paati’s (Grandmother’s) saris. Whether he’s hiding in them in a busy market or listening to her wonderful stories or wearing them himself, Paati’s saris fill him with joy. This is a really special intergenerational story about queer joy and acceptance.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

A few weeks ago, I wrote and reviewed a list of 10 new children’s books by Native American and Indigenous authors for Book Riot, but as is always the case, I found more books after the list was published! So here are four more picture books by Native American and Indigenous authors not included on that list, but make sure to check out my reviews there too!

Cover of Finding my Dance by Thundercloud

Finding My Dance by Ria Thundercloud, illustrated by Kalila J. Fuller (picture book)

In this picture book biography, Indigenous dancer Ria Thundercloud — from the Ho-Chunk Nation and Sandia Pueblo — describes how she came to be a dancer, from attending powwows at four to participating in jingle dances to learning ballet and tap. No matter what kind of dance she learns, she feels connected to her Indigenous ancestry, and she stays connected through adulthood. It’s a lovely, powerful biography.

Cover of Be a Good Ancestor by Prince

Be a Good Ancestor by Gabrielle Prince and Leona Prince, illustrated by Carla Joseph (picture book)

This stunningly illustrated picture book connects the past, present, and future through both words and illustrations, showing the cyclical nature of our choices. It encourages young readers to be a good ancestor by practicing active respect towards themselves, others, and the environment. It’s a lyrical call to action, unlike any other book I’ve seen. The authors are from the Lake Babine Nation and Nak’azdli Whut’en and belong to the Likh Tsa Mis Yu (Beaver) Clan. The illustrator is Cree.

Cover of I Hope / nipakosêyimon by Smith

I Hope / nipakosêyimon by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, translated by Dolores Greyeyes Sand (picture book)

This bilingual poetic picture book is written in both English and Plains Cree. Accompanied by Grimard’s warm and joyful illustrations, Smith’s poem presents a list of hopes she has for children and future generations. It would make a lovely present for new parents. Monique Gray Smith is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish.

Cover of Beautiful You, Beautiful Me by Spillett-Sumner

Beautiful You, Beautiful Me by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, illustrated by Salini Perera

While snuggling in bed during story time, Izzy notices that her skin is darker than her mama’s and, later, that her hair is poofy when dancing while her mama’s hair swings side to side. Her mama assures her of her beauty and Izzy realizes that no child and mother match exactly. Based on the author’s experiences as an Afro-Indigenous girl (Cree and Trinidadian), this lyrical picture book is a lovely story about self-love and self-acceptance.

Marian reading to her stuffed animals, the kids are all right

My daughter had grown disturbingly quiet, and I worried I was about to walk in on a giant mess. Instead, I found her whisper-reading The Big Green Garage to her stuffed animals. She lined them up like the students do at her preschool during story time, and she’s the teacher. So sweet!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury