Ribbet collageojibwe books1

I think picture books are a wonderful means of introducing a culture.  I did go a bit mad this time though because I knew I was going to try to include my two younger girls as well as my older three in this Ojibwe unit study.  The first four books I have already mentioned as we have already used them as a spring-board for other activities.  If you click on the links they will take you to the post they have been previously mentioned in:



Life in an Ashinabe Camp is a great little non fiction picture book which introduces the Ojibwe nation and how the people used to live and live now.  We have used this book almost every week, particularly at the start of our studies.


The children read  Paddle to the Sea last week and thoroughly enjoyed it.  As well as being a great story, it also helped them to visualize the geography of the Ojibwe Nation’s settlements and migrations.


We used The Legend of the Lady Slipper when we did our art study on Ojibwe Floral designs.  It retells an Ojibwe story about the Moccasin Flower (otherwise known as the Lady Slipper) and contains the most beautiful yet simple illustrations throughout.


The Legend of Minnesota was used to illustrate the Ojibwe oral tradition of passing on stories down the ages.  It is a book about how Minnesota became named and contains the most glorious illustrations.

The next six I have not mentioned before, although I have activities coming up which will include some of them:



Sootface is a typical Cinderella story with an Ojibwe twist.  Sootface, so-called because she frequently got burned or singed doing her two older and lazier sister’s work, dreamed of a life away from her family.  A mighty warrior wants a wife.  He makes himself invisible and states that only his future bride will be able to see him.  The art throughout this book is stunning and tells a story of Ojibwe life all of its own.


Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher is a book I will be using this week about a young girl who is staying with her Grandmother.  She has been having bad dreams so her Grandmother makes a  traditional dreamcatcher whilst telling her all about the legend of dreamcatchers and the power they hold.


Old Meshikee and the Little Crabs is a retelling of a traditional Ojibwe folktale.  Old Meshikee is a mischievous, loveable trickster of a turtle who plays his drum so loud that the little sand crabs can not hear themselves think.  They plot to get rid of him once and for all, only to discover there is a reason he has been around for so long!


Brave Wolf and the Thunderbird is a tale about how the Thunderbird enlists the help of Brave Wolf to prevent the monster taking her chicks as he has done each year.  The illustrations are typical brightly coloured simple pictures which capture the imagination of the reader.


Shingebiss is an Ojibwe legend about a resourceful merganser duck, who presents a challenge to Winter Maker.  The Winter Maker pulls out all stops to kill the duck, but he does not recon on the indomitable spirit of the plucky little duck who it seems can neither be frozen nor starved.


Thirteen Moons on a Turtles Back is a book I will be posting about tomorrow.  This book contains a poem for each moon, each reflecting a different tribe.  More to come tomorrow….


11 comments on “Native American Picture Books: Ojibwe Nation

  1. I always find how different cultures interpret the Cinderella story to be rather fascinating.

  2. I love all the stories! It is so important to teach our kids about cultures from that culture’s perspective. I love anything by Joseph Bruchac for this. He does some great young adult fiction that you might like in a few years.

  3. Many books make learning more easy! I like your way of teaching.

  4. A great list of books. Funny, I have never thought of Paddle to the Sea as a picture book, although, technically of course, it is. It is just written on a higher level than I think of most pictures books being at.

    • You’re right, it isn’t a typical picture book but it is one of our new favourites so I felt compelled to include it!

  5. I just love that you use so many books in your studies. I used to live in Minnesota, so I may have to order that book. Thirteen Moons is one I had in my second grade classroom. Thank you for sharing.

    Have a great day. I don’t know about y’all, but winter is coming overnight. BRRR.

    • Yes, it is getting much colder here as well. We have our burner on every night. I do love this time of year though!

  6. What a great resource! Thank you for putting it together and sharing.

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