Nov 172014
 November 17, 2014  Book Reviews, raising world citizens

Children's Books About the Cherokee |

As part of Native American Heritage Month, I have been exploring our Cherokee heritage with the boys.  Earlier we made a fun craft based on a Cherokee rattle, plus we’ve been reading children’s books about the Cherokee.  Here are some that we have found.

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Children’s Books about the Cherokee

The First Strawberries (Picture Puffin Books) is a beautiful Cherokee legend, here retold by Joseph Bruchac.  It tells of the first man and woman made by the Creator, and of the quarrel that threatened to ruin their happy life together.  The sun, however, worked to ease the tensions by making strawberries grow at the woman’s feet, reminding her of the sweetness of her life with her husband.  The lesson of compassion and the importance of kindness over anger will resonate with readers old and young alike.

In Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun: A Cherokee Story renowned storyteller Geri Keams brings to life the Cherokee tale of how the sun came to light all of the world.  Though several other animals living in the dark side of the world attempted to bring back a piece of the sun, it was Grandmother Spider who finally succeeded, bringing it back in a clay pot.

Historical Fiction about the Cherokee

Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears begins when nine year old Soft Rain learns that her family must leave their home and travel to a new land, known to her as “the land of darkness.”  Soft Rain’s story tackles a painful period in US history and the devastating effect of the Trail of Tears on the lives of those that were uprooted.

Cherokee Sister by Debbie Dadey is another piece of historical fiction, which focuses on the daughter of a poor white farming family in Georgia who is mistakenly moved along with the Cherokee in the Trail of Tears.  To be honest, I find the premise of the book far-fetched – she just happens to have tan skin because she loves to run around in the sun despite her mother’s warning and just happens to be visiting her Cherokee friend on that fateful day and just happens to have tried on her friend’s beautiful buckskin dress just before they are all rounded up by the soldiers!  Having said that, this book gets high marks for showing the capacity for friendship between whites and Cherokees, even in the midst of the greatest tragedy inflicted by the one upon the other.

Non-Fiction Books about the Cherokee

The Cherokee (American Indian Art and Culture) was the book I drew upon to make our rattle craft.  I love that this book includes a strong focus on contemporary culture, missing from many works.  In addition, it has several crafts and hands-on activities for children, unlike other similar overview books.


If You Lived With The Cherokees is an engaging book that encourages young readers to imagine themselves living in a Cherokee village long ago.  It asks basic questions that help children really picture what that life would be like – What would you eat?  How would you get your name? – and even tackles bigger questions like, did the Cherokee scalp their enemies?  Great book to capture the imagination of children.

The Cherokee (First Reports: Native Americans)is a good introduction to Cherokee culture and history.  It is full of information, but on a level appropriate for young children.  The large, full-color photos and illustrations throughout the book will help engage young readers.

Be sure to stop by the Native American Heritage Month Blog Hop from Multicultural Kid Blogs and find even more ideas on our Native/Indigenous Cultures Pinterest Board!

  22 Responses to “Children’s Books about the Cherokee”

  1. So happy to find this list! When I did story time, the First Strawberries was always one I shared when we did Native American stories. Sharing across my networks.

  2. great resource of books about Cherokee, pinning this to have in case I need it. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing these all these titles with us. It’s always nice to find well done books about the Native American experience. I’ll be looking for these when I go the library and christmas shopping this year.

  4. Wow, what a fab list of books. Thank you for sharing on the #KidLitBlogHop! Most I have never seen before. Reading all of these must be highly emotional, I would think, at least for me. Have a super rest of the week. Oh, and StanleyNKatrina are now following you on Twitter. 🙂

    • Yes, the subject matter is very emotional in many cases, but well worth the journey. Thank you for the follow – will follow back!

  5. This is such a great list.. so useful for classroom libraries and general reading. Thanks for sharing on KidLitBlogHop!

  6. This is great. Although I can’t really claim to be Cherokee by any stretch (I very much resemble my Scottish heritage with pale skin and auburn hair), my great great grandmother was Cherokee, I have always loved that part of my family heritage and am very interested in its culture. Growing up my dad would tell me the story of how my great great grandparents met. Of course I read about the Trail of Tears, but my favorite book about the Cherokee was about Sequoyah.

    • Bethany, we are in the same boat! I actually have an even more distant connection than you – it was my great-great-great-grandmother who was Cherokee, and I know next to nothing about her. In a way, that is part of the legacy of the times in which she lived, that her culture would be so erased from family memory. That is part of why I am trying to teach my sons about it, as my mother taught me, due to her own curiosity.

  7. […] know, November is Native American Heritage Month and Leanna from All Done Monkey created a wonderfulChildren’s Books about the Cherokee […]

  8. Love this list!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  9. I also have a great great great grandmother who was Cherokee. We have “If You Lived with the Cherokee” but I’m so excited to explore these other titles – thank you so much for sharing this list!

    • How cool to learn we share this heritage! Yes, that is a wonderful book as well. Hope you enjoy this list!

  10. This is such a great book list on the Cherokee American Indian tribe. Thank you so much for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  11. Great list on the Cherokee! I am so glad to see so many great books on the Cherokee! Thanks for sharing at Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

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