Great Indigenous Stories for Tweens and Teens

If you'd like to try any of the recommendations, click on the book cover to place a hold.


A Girl Called Echo by Katherina Vermette

Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl adjusting to a new home and school, is struggling with loneliness while separated from her mother. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee's history class turns extraordinary, and Echo's life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee's lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place--a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie--and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars.



I Am Algonquin by Rick Revelle

This book paints a vivid picture of the original peoples of North America before the arrival of Europeans. The novel follows the story of Mahingan and his family as they live the traditional Algonquin way of life in what is now Ontario in the early fourteenth century. Along the way we learn about the search for moose and the dramatic rare woodland buffalo hunt, conflicts with other Native nations, and the dangers of wolves and wolverines. We also witness the violent game of lacrosse, the terror of a forest fire, and the rituals that allow Algonquin boys to be declared full-grown men. But warfare is also part of their lives, and signs point to a defining conflict between Mahingan's nation, its allies the Omàmiwinini (Algonquin), Ouendat (Huron), and the Nippissing against the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). The battle's aftermath may open the door to future journeys by Mahingan and his followers.



Hawk by Jennifer Dance

As a cross-country runner, Adam aims to win gold in the upcoming provincial championship. But when he is diagnosed with leukemia, he finds himself in a different race, one that he can't afford to lose. He reclaims the name Hawk, given to him by his grandfather, and begins to fight, for his life and for the land of his ancestors and the creatures that inhabit it. With a little help from his grandfather and his friends, he might just succeed.



The Hill by Karen Bass

Jared's plane has crashed in the Alberta wilderness, and Kyle is first on the scene. When Jared insists on hiking up the highest hill in search of cell phone reception, Kyle hesitates; his Cree grandmother has always forbidden him to go near it. There's no stopping Jared, though, so Kyle reluctantly follows.

After a night spent on the hilltop--with no cell service--the teens discover something odd: the plane has disappeared. Nothing in the forest surrounding them seems right. In fact, things seem very wrong.

And worst of all, something is hunting them.



#NotYourPrincess Voices of Native American Women

Native Women demand to be heard in this stunning anthology.

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #Not Your Princess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.



This Place by Alicia Elliott

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.



Goodbye Buffalo Bay by Larry Loyie

In his last year in residential school, Lawrence learns the power of friendship and finds the courage to stand up for his beliefs. He returns home to find the traditional First Nations life he loved is over. He feels like a stranger to his family until his grandfather's gentle guidance helps him find his way. New adventures arise; Lawrence fights a terrifying forest fire, makes his first non-Native friends, stands up for himself in the harsh conditions of a sawmill, meets his first sweetheart and fulfills his dream of living in the mountains. Wearing new ice skates bought with his hard-won wages, Lawrence discovers a sense of freedom and self-esteem. Goodbye Buffalo Bay explores the themes of self-discovery, the importance of friendship, the difference between anger and assertiveness and the realization of youthful dreams.



The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills

Ghosts aren't meant to stick around forever...

Shelly and her grandmother catch ghosts. In their hair.

Just like all the women in their family, they can see souls who haven't transitioned yet; it's their job to help the ghosts along their journey. When Shelly's mom dies suddenly, Shelly's relationship to ghosts--and death--changes. Instead of helping spirits move on, Shelly starts hoarding them. But no matter how many ghost cats, dogs, or people she hides in her room, Shelly can't ignore the one ghost that's missing. Why hasn't her mom's ghost come home yet?



Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories.



The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home -- until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Aski, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything -- including them.



Red Wolf by Jennifer Dance

Life is changing for Canada's Anishnaabe Nation and for the wolf packs that share their territory.

In the late 1800s, both Native people and wolves are being forced from the land. Starving and lonely, an orphaned timber wolf is befriended by a boy named Red Wolf. But under the Indian Act, Red Wolf is forced to attend a residential school far from the life he knows, and the wolf is alone once more. Courage, love and fate reunite the pair, and they embark on a perilous journey home. But with winter closing in, will Red Wolf and Crooked Ear survive? And if they do, what will they find?


For more recommendations like these, see our other Library Recommendations HERE, or contact the library and we'll be happy to find you a new book to try!