Benefit of Natural Learning #10: Book-Loving Kids!

I discovered yet another benefit of natural, home-based learning last month:

My daughter asked for BOOKS for Christmas!

(I couldn’t get her to keep her eyes open for the camera flash. That’s okay–we’ll save those peepers for reading, I guess, LOL!)

That’s right–while everyone else was rushing to the toy stores, looking for animatronic hamsters or computerized dinosaurs, I was calling up a small, independent publisher in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, requesting their entire series of Native American children’s novels!

It all began when I bought this book for our in-home history studies: Naya Nuki

Naya Nuki is the (partly fictionalized) account of Sacajawea’s actual childhood friend; a girl who–like Sacajawea–was kidnapped and sold into slavery. But unlike Sacajawea (who remained in capitivity long enough to bare her captor’s children and to help guide the Lewis and Clark expedition), little Naya Nuki escaped!

This precious book chronicles the 1,000+ mile journey of Naya Nuki towards her home. After reading Naya Nuki, Prima loved it so much that she begged for another. So I bought Doe Sia (because our library doesn’t have any of these books on their shelves–boo!):

Doe Sia is the true (also partially fictionalized, to help fill in the blanks) story of a Native American girl who helped guide and protect a group of white settlers in their journey across the prairie.

After reading this book, my daughter said “Are there any more books like this?” I visited the publisher’s web site, and sure enough–there’s an entire series!

But our library didn’t have any. Neither did local bookstores. Prima was crushed.

When Christmastime came around, Prima’s constant refrain was, “All I want for Christmas is a set of books like Naya Nuki!” So we contacted Grandview Publishing in Jackson Wyoming, who not only shipped the entire series to our home before Christmas, but who also included a delightful book on CD, and a poster of the artwork from Naya Nuki!

If your children do not yet love history, I encourage you to check out these books, which are very entertaining and educational, and help history come alive in the hearts and minds of young children (whereas history textbooks only fill them with lifeless dates, dry facts, and summarized events).

6 responses to “Benefit of Natural Learning #10: Book-Loving Kids!

  1. And there I was letting my kid open his animatronic dinosaur in your house for Christmas *blush.* Ah well, I will try to do better next year. I used to be good about getting them all books, and I really need to get back on the book wagon.

    • Don’t worry, Ice Cream–you also saw all the “My Little Ponies” and animatronic dogs in my cart! I was just thrilled to be able to add “Books” to the list–finally!

    • Thanks for chiming in, Jill! Your comment led me to your fabulous blog, which I can already tell is going to be a very helpful resource to us in our history studies–keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the link where to find the rest of his books. We are reading two of them this year for our Native American block and if my daughter likes them I now know where to find the rest them.

  3. It is not enough to like the books due to their literary qualities. Americans do not know enough about American Indians. Most of what we “know” was material created by people who are not themselves American Indian.

    Instead of the books in this series, read Louise Erdrich’s three works of historical fiction for children of this age. Start with BIRCHBARK HOUSE, and then go to GAME OF SILENCE and then, PORCUPINE YEAR. Erdrich is Ojibwe.

    Read books by Native writers, like Cynthia Leitich Smith (she’s Muscogee Creek). Pick up a copy of INDIAN SHOES. Set in Chicago, it is a set of short stories about a Native family in Chicago. Along the way, you learn about why there’s an urban Indian population in Chicago.

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