Mashantucket Pequot Museum Library and Archives Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The American Indian Library Association has selected the winners of the 2012 American Indian Youth Literature Awards. The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood, Holiday House, 2011, written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve and illustrated by Ellen Beier won the Picture Book category. The winners of the Middle School Award are two books by Jacqueline Guest: Free Throw (2011) and Triple Threat (2011), both published by James Lorimer & Co. Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School by Adam Fortunate Eagle, published by University of Oklahoma Press in 2010, won the Young Adult Award. The awards will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA, on Sunday, June 24, 2012. Jacqueline Guest is the keynote speaker at the award ceremony.

The American Indian Youth Literature Awards were created to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians, Alaska Natives, Canadian First Nations, and Native Hawaiians. The winning and honor titles authentically convey the past and present of the American Indian experience. The awards are given in three categories—Picture Book, Middle School and Young Adult. 

 “We hope that these awards will raise the visibility of quality works by American Indian authors and artists,” said AILA President Sandy Littletree, “These awards help librarians, teachers,  and parents select quality books by and about Native people, titles that are accurate, non-stereotypical,  and honor the fullness of Native lives."

Four titles were selected as Honor Books in the Picture Book category:
Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light  written by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson and published by Cinco Puntos Press, 2010.

Kohala Kuamo’o: Nae’ole’s Race to Save a King written by Kekauleleana’ole Kawai’ae’a, illustrated by Aaron Kawai’ae’a, story by Walter and Luana Kawai’ae’a and published by Kamehameha Publishing, 2010.

Mohala Mai ‘O Hau = How Hau Became Hau’ula written by Robert Lono ‘Ikuwa, pictures by Matthew Kawika Ortiz and published by Kamehameha Publishing, 2010.

I See Me written by Margaret Manuel and published by Theytus Books, 2009.

Two titles were selected as Honor Books in the Middle Grades category:
Jordin Tootoo: The Highs and Lows in the Journey of the First Inuit to Play in the NHL written by Melanie Florence and published by James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2011.  

Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-Gikinoo’amaageng written by Anton Treuer et al. and published by Wiigwaas Press, 2010.

One title was named as an Honor Book in the Young Adult category:
Native Defenders of the Environment and other titles in the Native Trailblazers series, written by Victor Schilling and published by 7th Generation, 2011.

To learn more about the American Indian Youth Literature Awards, please visit

Members of the 2009-2012 American Indian Youth Literature Awards jury include Lisa A. Mitten, Chair, Stephanie Betancourt, Naomi Bishop, Carlene Engstrom, Gabriella Kaye, Holly Ristau, Grace Slaughter and Jolena Tillequots. 

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