Native Americans and New York
(Fiction & Nonfiction)


New York City has to be one of the greatest places in America, if not the world. Luckily for us, many authors have chronicled The Big Apple's antics in a way just right for kids.

Here are some of the books available. This is not yet a complete list, but I'm adding books to the list daily. If you wish to purchase any of these books, click on either the title or the book cover to be directed to Amazon.com. As a warning, I have put up pictures of the book covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each book (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

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Fiction and Nonfiction for Beginning Readers



Small Wolf
(An I Can Read Book, Level 3, Grades 2-4)

by Nathaniel Benchley
Awards:
  • Best Children's Books for Spring 1972 (SLJ)
  • Children's Books of 1972 (Library of Congress)

    When Small Wolf encounters settlers on the Island of Hills, now known as Manhattan, he learns that their ideas about owning land are much different from his. As timely as when it was first published in 1972, this poignant story about the impact of European settlers on Native American people is even more dramatic in this new full color edition.

    Description from Publisher

    Poignancy and honesty mark the fictional account of the displacement of Native Americans from the island of Manhattan. Small Wolf and his tribe must flee their home to accommodate the greedy newcomers' inhospitable notions about the ownership of land. Now paired with detailed, full-color illustrations -- which, unfortunately, depict Small Wolf and his father as wearing only loincloths in all but the severest weather -- Benchley's text offers newly independent readers a grave glimpse of American history

    Description from Horn Book

  • Brother Wolf: A Seneca Tale

    By Harriet P. Taylor
    This Seneca tale relates how Wolf and Raccoon are friends, but they enjoy teasing each other. After the teasing has turned to insults, Raccoon comes upon the sleeping Wolf and covers his eyes with tar and clay. The mixture hardens, and Wolf has to beg the birds to peck away the seal so that he can see again. After taking his revenge by rolling the sleeping Raccoon's hollow tree home down a hill, Wolf shows his gratitude to the birds by painting their feathers with bright dyes and offers his forgiveness to Raccoon by painting stripes on his tail. Taylor cites several sources for this pleasing pourquoi tale. In the appended notes, she comments on the Seneca and the roles of Wolf and Raccoon in their stories. The large-scale batik illustrations, with their distinctive look, will please young children with their clarity and freshness.

    Description from Booklist

    The rippling hues of batik lend color and clarity to a child-friendly adaptation from Seneca folklore. The conflict between Wolf and Raccoon is playful, but sometimes their teasing goes too far. On this occasion, Raccoon plasters mud over the sleeping wolf's eyes, and Wolf wakes thinking he is blind. After having the plaster pecked off by his bird friends, he gets his revenge by rolling Raccoon down a hill in an empty tree trunk. Wolf rewards the birds by painting them beautiful colors. Any retelling, in a glutted field, must have something to distinguish itself from the pack. Taylor exhibits the necessary originality and winsomeness to do just that, without deviating too far from traditional folk art styles. Anyone who has camped in raccoon country knows the accuracy of the critter's depiction as a prankster; details in the text, such as Raccoon's rolling on his back, show Taylor's knowledge of the animal kingdom and bring honesty to the tale.

    Description from Kirkus Reviews

    In this lighthearted pourquoi tale from Seneca lore, petty arguing results in retribution on both sides, but all is quickly forgiven. Wolf, in a bad mood, gets involved in an all-night exchange of insults with Raccoon, who waits until his adversary is asleep to coat his eyes with a plaster of clay and tar. Unable to see in the morning, Wolf howls for help. Birds peck away the patches and Wolf promises them a reward. Then he and his feathered friends find Raccoon sleeping in a hollow log and roll him downhill. The colorless birds' reward is to be painted as brightly as the flowers from dyes of the earthberries, clay, and plants. Raccoon wants to be decorated, too, and Wolf, all differences forgiven, gives him black rings around his tail. The tale, clearly told in simple language, is greatly enhanced by the vivid colors of Taylor's skillful batiks. Strong lines and somewhat primitive shapes create easily recognized species of animals and plants. The characters' expressions vary from pleasant to fierce. Even before the birds' transformation, the world is full of color. The treatment of the sky is particularly effective, changing from a wonderful night purple to an intense early morning yellow or an interior forest green. A long list of secondary sources is included.

    Description from School Library Journal

    Song of the Hermit Thrush: An Iroquois Legend

    By Gloria Dominic
    This Iroquois legend tells what happens when the animals of the forest hold a contest to choose which will sing a song to greet the new day.

    The Legends of the World opens readers' minds to the diverse cultures of Native America, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and the Americas through enchanting tales passed down through countless generations. Each book in the series features geographical, historical, and cultural information. Illustrated in full color.

    Description from Publisher

    Hiawatha

    By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Awards:
    A Booklist Editor's Choice Book.
    A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.



    Weaving together the beautiful oral traditions of the American Indian into a grand epic poem, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha is a renowned classic. Now award-winning artist Susan Jeffers presents a stunning visual interpretation of Hiawatha's boyhood life.

    Description from Publisher

    Exquisite, detailed illustrations grace this picture book which presents the part of Longfellow's stirring poem dealing with Hiawatha's boyhood and his relationship to his grandmother, who teaches him about the ways of animals and the forces of nature. The illustrator's careful research on flora and fauna and woodland Indian culture is evident. Some of the poem's background is explained in a note at the beginning. This is truly a picture book for all ages.

    Description from Children's Literature

    How Rabbit Lost His Tail By Ann Tompert
    Seneca legend has it that Rabbit once had a long and flowing tail; Tompert (A Carol for Christmas) and Chwast offer a sturdy look at just how he lost it.

    Rabbit, busy snacking in a willow grove, is giddy and begins to race around a willow tree. Snow begins to fall, and "it seemed to Rabbit that the faster he raced around the willow tree, the faster and thicker the snow fell." Exhausted, he falls asleep on a willow branch and doesn't wake up until spring, when he discovers that without snow, he is stranded high above the ground. Porcupine, Badger, and Beaver can't help the scared Rabbit climb down, but Squirrel suggests that he jump. Rabbit takes the plunge, but his tail remains behind, stuck in the crotch of the tree. Tompert has fashioned a good and simple porquoi tale from the Native American legend; Chwast's bold, color-drenched artwork, woodcut in style, gives the story a welcome verve.

    Description from Kirkus Reviews



    Fiction For Older Readers



    Echohawk

    By Lynda Durrant
    In 1738, when Jonathan Starr is four, his family is killed by Mohican warriors, one of whom adopts the boy as a surrogate for his own recently deceased son. Renamed Echohawk, Jonathan grows up Mohican, with no memories of his early life until, fatefully, his adoptive father, Glickihigan, sends him and his younger brother to spend the winter with a white teacher and his wife so they may learn English (a not uncommon practice in the eighteenth century). Living among the whites causes the first stirrings of long-forgotten memories. As they become more vivid, Echohawk realizes that he is at a figurative crossroads and must decide which way to walk. Although the second half of the story suffers from some one-dimensional characterizations and a violation of the integrity of the third-person point of view, this is a remarkably powerful and emotionally affecting first novel that is distinguished by Durrant's respect for her characters, a wonderfully apposite, almost grave style, and a seamless integration of the details of daily eighteenth-century life into an absorbing novel of personal growth. Appended material includes a glossary, a list of sources, and useful background information about the setting and its native inhabitants.

    Description from Booklist

    Adopted and raised by Mohicans in the Hudson River Valley during the 1730s, Jonathan Starr is sent to an English settlement to attend school.

    Echohawk was a little boy when he was taken from his white family and adopted into a Mohican tribe. For years Echohawk has been speaking and thinking in the Mohican language. He enjoys hunting with his adoptive father Glickihigan and younger brother Bamaineo. Yet as time passes, Glickihigan thinks an English education will help his sons in the changing world and sends them to be schooled by white people. It's then that Echohawk's earliest memories return. Soon the time will come for him to choose between the world of the Mohicans and the world he came from long ago.

    Description from Publisher

    Skywoman: Legends of the Iroquois

    By Joanne Shenandoah & Douglas M. George
    When Skywoman falls from the upper world, the birds and animals living in the watery place below must catch her and create ground on which she can stand. Thus Turtle Island, the earth, is born. In this beautifully illustrated book, two Native American writers tell the ancient stories of the Iroquois peoples. Beginning with Skyworld and the creation of Earth, the authors weave together tales of creation, of the bravery of children and the compassion of animals, stories of greed and cruelty, reverence, adventure and wonder. The final story tells of the Iroquois Peacemaker and the woman who spread his message among the warring peoples of the northeast. The Great Law of the Peacemaker is preserved by the peoples of the Iroquois Confederacy to this day. In their beautiful and haunting drawings and paintings, John Fadden and his son David capture the spirit of stories they have known all their lives. Skywoman is storytelling at its best. It will be enjoyed by young and old, by everyone who treasures the wisdom and traditions of the first Americans.

    Description from Publisher

    Children of the Longhouse

    By Joseph Bruchac
    Eleven-year-old Ohkwa'ri overhears Grabber and his friends planning to raid a neighboring village and warns the tribal elders, preventing the raid but gaining the wrath of the older boys. When the village decides to hold a game of Tekwaarathon (lacrosse) in an attempt to restore elderly Thunder's Voice to health, Ohkwa'ri realizes he must face those enemies on the playing field. Set in a Mohawk village in the late 1490s, the story offers a detailed look at the traditional Mohawk way of life. Through Ohkwa'ri and his twin sister, Otsi:stia, Bruchac explores the roles of men and women, teaching practices, family relationships, and social life and customs before contact with European explorers and traders. Although the information overshadows the story at times, middle readers interested in traditional practices will find this clear and easy to understand. An afterword describes the efforts of the Mohawk people to return to their traditional lands. A reading list and a glossary are appended.

    Description from Booklist

    Ohkwa'ri and his twin sister, Otsi'stia, 11, are late-15th century Mohawks living in what would become New York State. Both are exemplary young people: He is brave, kind, and respectful of his elders, and she is gentle and wise beyond her years. One day Ohkwa'ri hears an older youth, Grabber, and his cronies planning to raid a nearby Abenaki village, in violation of the Great League of Peace to which all the Iroquois Nations have been committed for decades. When Ohkwa'ri reports what he has heard to the tribal elders he makes a deadly enemy of Grabber. Grabber's opportunity for revenge comes when the entire tribe gathers for the great game of Tekwaarathon (later, lacrosse). Ohkwa'ri knows that he will be in great danger during the long day of play and will have to use all his wits and skills to save himself and his honor. Bruchac (Between Earth and Sky, etc.) saturates his novel with suspense, generating an exciting story that also offers an in-depth look at Native American life centuries ago. The book also offers excellent insights into the powerful role of women in what most readers will presume was a male-dominated society. Thoroughly researched; beautifully written.

    Description from Kirkus Reviews

    The Arrow over the Door

    By Joseph Bruchac
    To fourteen-year-old Samuel Russell, called coward for his peace-loving Quaker beliefs, the summer of 1777 is a time of fear. The British and the Patriots will soon meet in battle near his home in Saratoga, New York. The Quakers are in danger from roaming Indians and raiders--yet to fight back is not the Friends' way. To Stands Straight, a young Abenaki Indian on a scouting mission for the British, all Americans are enemies, for they killed his mother and brother. But in a Quaker Meetinghouse he will come upon Americans unlike any he has ever seen. What will the encounter bring? Based on a real historical incident, this fast-paced and moving story is a powerful reminder that the way of peacecan be walked by all human beings.

    Description from Publisher

    Fourteen-year-old Samuel Russell hates being called a coward because he is a Quaker, and he vows to defend his family if Loyalists or Indians try to harm them. Stands Straight, an Abenaki boy whose mother and brother were murdered by white men, has joined his uncle's scouting party, though he questions why Indians should fight in the white man's war. In alternating narratives, the two boys tell this quietly compelling story, which is based on an actual incident that took place in 1777, just before the Battle of Saratoga. As Samuel's family sits in the meeting with the rest of the Quaker congregation, the Indian scouting party to which Stands Straight belongs surrounds the cabin. Stands Straight follows his uncle Sees-the-Wind inside, and after being assured that there are no weapons in the cabin, the Abenakis leave their bows and arrows outside and sit with the Quakers in silence. At the end of the meeting, the Quakers and the Indians share the handshake of peace, and Sees-the-Wind places an arrow over the cabin's door to show the Abenakis that the Quakers are people of peace. Simple black-and-white drawings reflect the dignified tone of the story, which explores the complexities of the Indian-white relationship, focusing on two lesser-known groups who were involved in the conflict. An author's note provides thorough historical background about the incident, as well as a brief history of the Quakers and the Abenakis. A truly excellent example of historical fiction for the middle-grade/junior-high audience.

    Description from Booklist

    Legends of the Iroquois

    By Tehanetorens
    These ancient stories of the Iroquois are presented both in pictographs and/with English words. The pictographs enable young readers to visualize the method of written communication used by the Iroquois, while the story themselves offer a moral, such as teaching the importance of kindness, wisdom or courage. Children between 10 and 14 will enjoy interpreting the pictographs, which include a key to the symbols and clans of the Six Nations. Highly recommended for school, public and tribal libraries.

    Description from Publisher



    Nonfiction For Older Readers



    The Iroquois

    By Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
    A simple text and distinctive watercolors provide an introduction to the Iroquois, touching on issues such as sex roles, food preparation, religion, and sports. The brief book, which sails smoothly through hundreds of years of history, also discusses contemporary Iroquois, mentioning that many have kept their traditions alive.

    Description from Horn Book

    Snatches of poems and quotes from historic documents intermingle with Sneve's fact-filled text that traces the history, governance, and culture of the Haudenosaunee, 'those who build the longhouse.' Also called The Five Nations,the original tribes were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca, joined after 1723 by the Tuscarora to become the Six Nations. From the beautifully retold and illustrated creation myth to current information on the Iroquois today, this picture book will be an excellent source for elementary school research assignments. . . . Himler's apt and abundant illustrations accompany each section, complementing the detail and panorama of the text. Scenes and items portrayed include tools, clothing, war clubs, masks, maple-sugaring, building the longhouse, lacrosse playing, and many more. Highly recommended.

    Description from MultiCultural Review

    If You Lived With the Iroquois

    By Ellen Levine
    Detailed, four-color paintings and a question-and-answer text bring to life the traditional life, customs, and everyday world of the Iroquois - one of the most powerful and influential of the Native Americans.

    Description from Publisher

    Ellen Levine and illustrator Shelly Hehenberger have created a delightful book that takes the young reader into a historical look at life as an Iroquois Indian. The eighty page book is divided into subtitles which concisely tell the story of daily living for the early Iroquois people. As the book is written in second person, the reader is drawn into the story and feels as if he or she is experiencing tribal life. The soft muted colors of the illustrations give the book a feeling of serenity while the writing covers an extraordinary amount of information for young readers.

    Description from Amazon.com Customer Review

    The Iroquois Indians

    By Victoria Sherrow
    The Iroquois Indians once ruled a vast area of North America, striking fear in the hearts of their enemies. Learn how the legendary leader Hiawatha brought five previously warring tribes together to form this mighty confederacy. The Iroquois' rich history continues today as they lead the modern crusade for Indian rights.

    Description from Publisher

    Sherrow begins with the Iroquois' creation stories before moving into a brief survey of pre-Columbian culture. Ceremonies and the founding of the confederacy are given appropriate attention. The author does a good job of making clear that the title does not refer to a single group, but rather to a governmental entity comprised of related peoples. The remainder of the book deals with interactions between the Iroquois and the various European powers who invaded their land, including some recent conflicts. At the book's center, full-color photographs show several of the False Face and Husk Face masks used in the traditional Handsome Lake religion; this section blends well with the text, elaborating on information provided elsewhere. Captions for them and for the black-and-white illustrations are informative and sensitive.

    School Library Journal

    The Iroquois

    By Petra Press
    In simple but clear narratives, these books describe the history and culture of an American Indian people from long ago to the present. Both are lavishly illustrated, with captioned photographs and reproductions on every page. Topics include religion, society, homes, artwork, history, and contemporary lifestyles. Boldface type highlights words included in the brief glossary, although the texts themselves amply clarify the words in question. A few interesting but little-known tidbits are listed under the heading "Did You Know?" There is also a section called "Want to Know More?" that suggests books, Web sites, and organizations to contact or visit.

    Description from School Library Journal

    The Iroquois: The Six Nations Confederacy

    By Mary Englar
    Bold photography and illustrations, along with captivating text, provide insightful glimpses into American Indian nations of North America. Fascinating descriptions of the history and lifestyles of these nations help readers understand these rich cultures that have endured to this day. Special features throughout these books include biographical profiles, time lines, maps, and recipes.

    Description from Publisher

    Life in a Longhouse Village

    By Bobbie Kalman
    The people who lived in the northeastern woodlands belonged to many nations and spoke many languages including Iroquoian and Algonkian. Life in a Longhouse Village was a way of life all of the nations shared. Children will learn about the fascinating lifestyle of these hunters and farmers and discover what life was like in a longhouse clan.

    Description from Publisher

    The Native Americans of the northeastern region of the United States (and parts of Canada) lived in longhouse villages. These large communities were built along waterways and near good hunting areas. Each longhouse was home to a clan consisting of 15-20 extended families. Structurally, longhouses are similar to barracks, although firepits for cooking and heating were dug into the floors of the longhouses. Kalman has created an interesting account of the daily life in a longhouse village, including the activities of each member, the growth and preparation of food, cultural traditions and celebrations. The illustrations are lively and quite detailed.

    Description from Children's Literature

    Indigenous Peoples of North America:
    The Iroquois

    By Lydia Bjornlund
    The Iroquois looks at the culture of these Native American peoples, focusing particular attention on what made them unique and powerful in seventeenth-century America, on the changes they have endured since the advent of the white man, and on their lasting legacy. Discusses the origins, way of life, spirituality, and social organization of the Iroquois nations, as well as their relationships with the European settlers.

    Description from Publisher

    Roots of the Iroquois

    By Tehanetorens
    The complex history of the Iroquois Confederacy begins with the peace agreement negotiated by two wise men, the Peacemaker and Hiawatha. The Five Nations, comprising the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, were united before the arrival of the white man, and consisted of an area greater than all of Europe. Their Laws of the Great Peace, set out in the Iroquois constitution, inspired the founding fathers of American democracy. But the arrival of Europeans eventually brought wars over land ownership, and despite support and assistance given to the American revolutionaries, the Iroquois Confederacy was weakened and finally divided by the American government. Making extensive use of quotes from individuals and documents from the period, Tehanetorens, "a master storyteller in the Mohawk tradition," presents readers with a lively, detailed look at Iroquois history, illustrated with a selection of black-and-white drawings. Source notes aren't included, but the insights here will still be helpful to students interested in understanding the Iroquois' past.

    Description from Booklist

    The Iroquois Confederacy (Mohawks, Oneida, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas) used a form of democracy that stood as a model for our fledging American government. This book chronicles the story of the Confederacy since their beginning through their tumultuous relationship with European settlers and our own government. It provides an accurate and valuable account of history during this period, including moving speeches by noted Iroquois chiefs and prophets.

    Description from Publisher

    The Iroquois (Lifeways)

    By Raymond Bial
    Lavishly illustrated with archival images and contemporary color photographs, the volumes explore the history and culture of four Native peoples. Each book examines a group's way of life, both past and present, and explains the traditional birth, marriage, and death ceremonies. The clearly written texts also discuss how these nations dealt with encroaching colonialism. Appended are biographical lists of notable people and time lines.

    Description from Horn Book

    In an Author's Note, Bial explains how the books in this "Lifeways" series "depict the social and cultural life of the major (Native American) nations, from the early history of native peoples in North America to their present day struggles for survival and dignity." They do a wonderful job of combining a well-researched, informative text with many striking color photographs and drawings from both the past and present times. The author's style is unusually poetic for a non-fiction book, and the physical design is very appealing. Each volume contains six chapters covering Origins, Villages, Lifeways, Beliefs, Changing World and New Ways. A final section offers more information including A Time Line, Notable People, Glossary, Bibliography, and list of relevant organizations. An index, map, traditional recipe and creation stories are included. This attractive series could be used and enjoyed by a wide age range of readers.

    Description from Children's Literature

    The Iroquois

    By Caryn Yacowitz
    Native Americans is a new series that focuses on the Native American culture by examining geographic and cultural groupings as well as the major nations and tribes within each area. These carefully developed titles paint a realistic picture of life during the time when each culture flourished, including details about daily routines, family life, spiritual practices, and the environment in which each people lived. Readers then return to the present as they journey along the chain of events that impacted each group.

    • Informative labeled maps highlight each specific culture.
    • Numerous photographs help students understand the topography and lifestyle.
    • Biographical sketches introduce students to famous people of the past and the present.


    Nonfiction features include a glossary, index, and list of additional reading, particularly for those interested in biographical information.

    Description from Publisher

    Wampum Belts of the Iroquois

    By Ray Fadden Tehanetorens
    Describes the nature and significance of Indian wampum belts, focusing on their history and uses by the Iroquois.

    Description from Publisher




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    2002