• gigi eligoloff

Five incredible books celebrating indigenous people and customs

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

Last Sunday was International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples and so we're celebrating their many diverse, rich and extraordinary societies and communities.

Sweetest Kulu

by Alexandria Neonakis and Celina Kalluk

Age suitability: 2-5

Dream a little, Kulu, this world now sings a most beautiful song of you."

Kulu is an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, and this book is a bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk. The poem describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic and is tenderly told by a mother to her young child infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

Why we like it

The illustrations are stunning and very young children will love the animals that populate the book.

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My heart Fills With Happiness

by Monique Gray Smith

Age suitability: 2-5

A sweet little book celebrating simple pleasures like the feeling of the sun on your face, walking barefoot in the grass featuring indigenous children encouraging children to reflect on what makes them happy.

Why we like it:

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One Day, So Many Ways

by Laura Hall and Loris Lora

Age suitability: 2-4

Discover what life is like for children from around the world… every day. Meet children from over 40 countries, exploring the differences and similarities between their daily routines. Over 24 hours, readers will follow a wide variety of children as they wake up, eat, go to school, play, talk, learn and go about their everyday routine.

Why we love it: Easy to flick back and forth through, little ones will adore getting a glimpse of how other children around the world navitgate simple tasks like going to school or nursery, and play.

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What's the Most beautiful thing you know about horses?

Richard Van Camp

Age suitability: all

It's one of our favorite children's picture books about animals. Van Camp is a member of the Dogrib nation from the Northwest Territories of Canada, and Littlechild is from the Plains Cree nation. They have created SUCH a fun book. You absolutely must read it out loud as though this kid is talking to you, filling you in on his world and what's going on inside his head while he interviews his friends and family.

Why we like it: Exploring different cultures and viewpoints this book is like a warm hug from someone you love.

Where are you from?

by Yamille Saied Mendez

Age suitability: 4-8

Our last choice this week is not strictly a book just about indigenous people, but a book that can't fail to appeal to anyone of us with any kind of mixed heritage. Where Are You From is an award-winning book that doesn't shy away from origins and difference and tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer.

Why we like it: With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colours especially anyone who ever felt that they don’t belong. If you need any further persuasion, this book was one of the books of last year at A Mighty Girl.

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