Collection Spotlight: Language in Native American Children’s Literature

Image of the book Coyote and Little TurtleThe CECH Library’s Kretschmer Collection is home to many diverse subjects of Native American Children’s Literature, including native languages. There are books written in the Cherokee, Clallam, Hopi, Inuktitut, and Navajo languages for teaching and celebrating native languages with children. Titles include Haishą’ T’áá K’ad Dlǫ́ǫ́’ Silįį’? / Who Wants to Be a Prairie Dog?, a Navajo fairy tale written by Ann Nolan Clark, which is written in English and Navajo side-by-side; Iisaw Niqw Yöngösonhoya / Coyote and Little Turtle, a Hopi tale based on a story by Herschel Talashoema, edited by Emory Sekaquaptewa and Barbara Pepper, as well as illustrated by Hopi children, which presents the story with Hopi and English side-by-side and then gives lessons on translation; Otsaliheliga / We Are Grateful, by Traci Sorell, written in English with some Cherokee words given, along with their pronunciations; and Seya’s Song, by Ron Hirschi, written in English with some words of the Clallam language, native to the northwest, inserted into the story and explained at the end of the book in a glossary.

These books encourage readers to understand the importance of native languages and the pride associated with them. In every book, language is intricately tied with culture, tradition, beauty, and art. You can explore the many brilliant books of the Kretschmer Collection on the third floor of the CECH Library, located in 300 Teachers-Dyer Complex.

Sara Polk, CECH Library Student Assistant
A&S Anthropology & Archaeology, 2020