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Indigenous Children's Literature

Getting Started

Critical literacy requires us to go beyond what we read on the page and to consider the larger narrative in which a text is situated, asking questions about who created a text and why. Critical Indigenous literacy asks us to think about authorship and identity in relation to the stories and teachings we trust as readers. It also asks readers to think critically about Indigenous representations (or lack thereof) within a text. 

This page is intended for researchers, teachers, parents, and guardians learning about critical Indigenous literacy for children's resources. 

This video was created by student librarian Xaanja Free for their LIBR 520 class. For additional resources on Indian in the Cupboard check out Debbie Reese's blog here. Free has also created a handout to accompany the video:

Critical Indigenous Literacy

Here you will find information on critical Indigenous literacy and a tool for reviewing potential bias in a resource. You will also find a resource on how to locate the traditional territory that you live on and/or are occupying. 

#OwnVoices

Here you will find information about the relationship between authorship/storyteller, identity, and how to find Indigenous authored resources.

There is a long history of content written about Indigenous people rather than by us, this has led to harmful misconceptions and misinformation about ourselves, communities, and nations. As responsible readers that consume and share literature, it is important to think critically about where information comes from and how to contextualize it for those we share it with. 

Corinne Duyvis created the hashtag #ownvoices “to recommend kidlit about diverse characters written by authors from the same diverse group”. This hashtag is utilized to surface the work of authors writing about characters and perspectives that reflect their own lived experiences and ways of being.

Worldviews & Protocols

Critical Indigenous Literacy Kits

In the boxes above you will have learned about: the traditional territory you live on and why this is relevant to you, critical literacy, critical Indigenous literacy, how you can invite an Elder or guest to your classroom, and place-based learning; now it's time to bring this together!

Here you will find X̱wi7x̱wa's Critical Literacy Kits to support young learners and those teaching them. The kits include suggested resources, further reading for instructors, and guiding questions for your classroom. If you have an idea for a kit that is not covered below you can adapt this document to your classroom or home on any given topic. For a list of children's books at X̱wi7x̱wa click here

Xwi7xwa Library kits:

Critical Literacy Kits at Education (forthcoming):

Critical Indigenous Literacy at UBC Okanagan Library (forthcoming):

To learn about the Critical Literacy Kit work from Education Library, Okanagan Library, & X̱wi7x̱wa Library please see:

Emily Fornwald, Karleen Delaurier-Lyle, Sajni Lacey, Wendy Traas, Stephanie Marston & Rio Picollo (2021) Repurposing Problematic Books into Critical Literacy Kits, Collection Management, DOI: 10.1080/01462679.2021.1905576