Wednesday, August 18, 2010

American Indians in Children's Literature

Jingle DancerDebbie Reese has spent years discussing and writing "about the good, and the bad, and (speaking frankly) the ugly with regard to how [American Indians are] portrayed in books." From Nambé Pueblo, she now teaches at the University of Illinois in the American Indian Studies Program. Thankfully, she hasn't forgotten New Mexico in the midst of her research, writing, and presenting.

Debbie Reese's blog, American Indians in Children's Literature, is a fantastic resource for booklists, journal articles and reviews, and ongoing commentary on artifacts such as the "Ten Little Indian Dolls". The highlight of the blog is her lists of Top Ten Books for Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. These lists are open to comments, and other readers have expanded the lists to be more than ten titles apiece. At the end of each list is a link to expanded book summaries from School Library Journal.

If you're starting a school or home library, or are a parent or educator who would like to provide young readers with well-written books about Native Americans, and you don't know where to start, check out this resource. Even if you're not actively seeking out children's books, this is an interesting blog to keep abreast of how American Indians are portrayed in American media and culture.

1 comment:

Debbie Reese said...

Forget New Mexico?! Never! My entire family is there, at Nambe. I was there for several weeks this summer and visited with librarians at Santa Clara and SFIS, too.

I'm usually home for our feast, too, in October.

When I'm home, I try to stop in at the library in Santa Fe if I've got some time. It's a terrific, beautiful space. I'd be happy to do a talk there if you're interested. I'll be doing one at the Kalamazoo Public Library this semester.