it is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.

Posts tagged ‘native americans’

this is not okay.


microaggressions are not okay.

racial profiling is not okay. (science is okay.)

racist curriculum is not okay. 

blatant discrimination is not okay. 

this is not ok.

read up, speak up, act up, repeat


#weneeddiversebooks and more


Dr. Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children’s Literature visited Hawaiʻi in March 2015 to offer the keynote lecture at the Hawaiʻi Association of School Librarians (HASL) Spring Conference. 

HASL Conference Flier

HASL Spring 2015 Conference Flier

During the HASL talk and at other sessions with school and public librarians and LIS students, Dr. Reese shared insights aligned with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks initiative. In particular, Reese discussed the misrepresentation of American Indians in children’s literature that obscures the diversity that exists across 566 federally recognized sovereign tribal nations. Read more about these issues here.

Mahalo nui loa Dr. Reese and all HASL conference organizers, speakers, and participants for sharing outstanding work.

Liko Hoe @ HASL Spring Conference (WCC)

via Twitter – #HASL2015 

a lot of beauty

beautiful place, beautiful and talented youth @ berens river, manitoba

via CBC


’tis the season for book awards

In the world of books, these are exciting times. Many awards are announced during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting. This excitement reaches far and wide via social media as well as mass media – and as committees announce their recommendation lists and top picks.  From time to time, new awards emerge too. Other groups involved with book reviews also share fun favorites and offer suggestions for special populations such as young people living in poverty, on the streets, and/or in custody.

In 2014, the American Indian Library Association announced the recipients of their Youth Literature Awards – presented ever other year. These texts are particularly important as they provide opportunities to consider current and historical issues that are often portrayed through dominant perspectives.


Award-winning books and their reviews are enjoyable to read. That said, even our award winners may harbor dominant perspectives as evidenced by this year’s Caldecott Medalist, Locomotive.

Congratulations to all the authors, illustrators, publishers, reviewers, librarians, parents, teachers, and others who contribute to the joy of books!

the people shall continue


For decades, November has been known as Native American Heritage Month. During this month, lots of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Many books depicting this holiday emphasize a meal shared between Pilgrims and Indians devoid of indigenous perspectives. Fortunately, esteemed scholar Debbie Reese has put together a helpful list of books to counter this omission:

  1. The People Shall Continue by Simon Ortiz
  2. Muskrat Will Be Swimming by Cheryl Savageau
  3. First Americans, series by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
  4. Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  5. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

kid lit about american indians

Though the Common Core and the idea of multiple viewpoints are put forth as new, teachers and librarians have been searching for multiple viewpoints for a long time. Some have been able to separate the good from the stereotypical, but growing a critical mass of individuals who will select books like the ones described here takes work. Order them. Read them. Study them. – Debbie Reese