It is important to help students find Indigenous authors to read. This young adult books by Indigenous authors book list contains 18 book recommendations for high school readers. I have linked the books to Amazon, but you can also look for them at your local library or look for them at an Indigenous owned bookstore.
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Eternal: Zachary’s Story by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Zachary is a reckless guardian angel who must save the soul of high-schooler turned royal vampire, Miranda. He takes a job as her assistant to help save her, while also planning an approaching Deathday gala. A dark and funny love story in the form of a graphic novel.
Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones
Shane is coping with the suicide of his younger sister, while having to hide his relationship with David – the only person on the rez he really loves, When Shane’s university dream is crushed, he wants to move to Toronto, but David won’t go. Then another tragedy hits, and the pair have to make decisions about their future.
Grey Eyes by Frank Christopher Busch
The Grey Eyes hold an ancient power to help them maintain harmony and keep evil away. But there is only one elderly Grey Eye left – until a new child is born. The boy’s birth starts a power struggle that could rip the clan apart, leaving it defenseless against its foe, the Red Eyes. The boy must now shoulder the responsibility of restoring harmony and balance. Can he protect the clan?
Keeper’n Me by Richard Wagamese
Garet Raven was just three years old when he’s taken from his home on an Ojibway reserve and sent to foster care. As a teen, he escapes and ends up in the big city, then in jail by age 20. After receiving a letter from his family, Garet returns to the reserve, where his life is forever changed. He learns the ways of the Ojibway from a friend of his grandfather’s and discovers his own sense of self and place.
Medicine River by Thomas King
Will returns to Medicine River to attend his mother’s funeral, but he’s soon convinced to stay and open up shop as a photographer, thanks to Harlen Bigbear. Through Will’s humorous narrative, the reader meets the people of Medicine River, a small town in Alberta bordering a Blackfoot reserve. Through it all is Harlen – entertaining, pestering, and meddling in the lives of the community around him.
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
Lisamarie can’t shake the sense something awful is waiting for her. She’s tormented by premonitions and visited by ghosts and shapeshifters. As she searches for her brother, who has died by drowning, in a speedboat on the Douglas Channel, Lisamarie recounts her life in the remote village of Kitamaat, a reserve 500 miles north of Vancouver.
Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor
Otter Lake is a quiet Anishnawbe community where nothing much ever happens. Until one day when a handsome stranger on a motorcycle shows up and sweeps Maggie, the Reserve’s chief, off of her feet. Her son Virgil isn’t as taken with the new stranger and, with some help from his Uncle Wayne, he sets out to drive him out of the community.
Song of Batoche by Maia Caron
In 1884, Batoche, North-West Territories, is dealing with political unrest and drought. When Louis Riel arrives, he finds the rebellious granddaughter of Chief Big Bear, whom Riel needs as an ally. She rejects him because of his feud with Dominion leader, J.A. Macdonald, who is looking to take Métis land for European settlers. As the Dominion Army marches on Batoche, the lives of seven compelling characters intersect – and each one has their secrets.
Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston
Following a strange blizzard, young shaman Pitu becomes stranded on sea ice in the world of the spirits. He must now battle terrifying creatures and also discovers less frightening ones – such a lone giant who can carry him in her hand. When he finds another shaman who has been trapped in this world for years, Pitu must master all of his powers to get back to the land of the living, the girl he loves and his family.
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
In a future world where no one can dream except North America’s Indigenous people, they are hunted for their marrow – the cure for everyone else. Only getting that marrow – and dreams – means death for the donors. It’s in this world destroyed by global warming, that a 15-year-old and his companions try to survive and find their loved ones, while trying not to be captured and taken to marrow-stealing “factories.”
Hunting by Stars: (A Marrow Thieves Novel) by Cherie Dimaline
In a world where Indigenous people in North America are hunted for their marrow, which allows everyone else to dream and cure the madness that has developed in a world decimated by global warming, 17-year-old French must find a way to survive. Residential schools have been opened to bring in dreamers and take their marrow. When French finds himself in one, he must decide how far he will go – and how many people he will betray – to survive.
Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline
Joan has been searching for her missing husband, Victor, for nearly a year. One morning, in a Walmart parking lot, she’s drawn to a revival tent that features a preacher named Eugene Wolff. Joan sees and hears him and knows he is her missing husband, Victor. But he looks different and doesn’t remember her. With the help of her companions, Joan has to find a way to spark the Reverend’s memories of his past – if he is Victor at all.
- Kynship by Daniel Heath Justice
- Wyrwood by Daniel Heath Justice
- Dreyd by Daniel Heath Justice
The Everland is a world of sacred shadow and ancient mystery that has been home to the Kyn and the other Eld-Folk since the beginning of time. But now, Humanity is an ever-present threat, encroaching on the deep green world as part of the crusade of the Dreydmaster. Redthorn Warrior and Wielder, Tarsa’deshae, and her companions, must now fight to heal the wounds of their world.
Vampire Skeleton Series by Sara General
The Vampire Skeleton by Sara General
Rowen is a healer’s apprentice who is content following the rules of her community – until a vampire attacks and hurts someone she cares about. Now she either has to let her best friend die or hunt the vampire. And to hunt, she needs help from vampire overlord, Cruz, but his help comes with a cost.
The Skeleton Key by Sara General
Rowen is drawn back into the world of vampire Cruz after his friend is found murdered. Cruz and the fellow researcher had been studying old Haudenosaunee manuscripts and a malevolent force has woken and is looking for something it’s ready to kill for. Rowen and Cruz now have to work as a team to stop this evil – can they do it in time?
A Spectacle of Stones by Sara General
Rowen is the healer of Harrowstone and has finally become clear on her feelings for vampire Cruz – but now he’s pulling away. Before she can deal with that, she’s called to council of witches and ends up agreeing to help solve the murder a famous musician. Rowen ends up in a world of magic, lost love and theatre – and finds herself in danger of possibly being a victim of the killer herself.
Check out these Indigenous-run bookstores the next time you are buying books:
- Good Minds – This store sells at their store in Brandford, ON, and online.
- Strong Nations - This store is based in Nanaimo, BC, but sells exclusively online.
- Iron Dog Books – This is a bookstore and book truck in Vancouver, BC. They sell online as well.
- Barely Bruised Books – This bookstore is located in Ottawa, ON, but ships worldwide.
- Massy Books – This bookstore is located in Vancouver, BC, but ships international.
- Librairie Hannenorak is located in Wendake, QC.