Why do middle grade readers enjoy stories about characters who go on adventures and quests? Because these stories can transport them to a different world filled with all sorts of possibilities. Young Native readers, however, don’t often see themselves represented in stories like these. But oral traditions are an integral part of Indigenous culture, and since oral traditions often center on adventures and quests, it’s important for educators to seek out books featuring Native characters and their culture.
This book list contains a wide range of genres, including fantasy, mystery, magical realism, and graphic novels. Many of these titles center around quests related to oral traditions, and this representation is vital to the celebration and perseverance of Indigenous culture. Meanwhile, other titles highlight the need to advocate for Indigenous land protection. These books ultimately show readers that, yes, Native characters can go on quests, solve mysteries, and do extraordinary things!