The most recommended Cherokee books

Who picked these books? Meet our 17 experts.

17 authors created a book list connected to Cherokee, and here are their favorite Cherokee books.
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Book cover of Infinite Constellations: An Anthology of Identity, Culture, and Speculative Conjunctions

Eugen Bacon Author Of Serengotti

From Eugen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Award-winning African-Australian Editor

Eugen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Eugen Bacon Why did Eugen love this book?

This cross-lingual anthology is a unique hybrid of cultural poems and short stories from people of color in a crossroads of diasporas.

Contributing authors identify as Black, Black-Latinx, Filipo-Spanish-Chinese, Jamaican with Chinese heritage, Japanese-American, Cherokee, Euro-American Cherokee, Cuban, Jewish, Santeros, and more. Stories of transmorphed identities tug at the reader with lived experiences of belonging/unbelonging in a blend of the creative and scholarly.

The anthology is rich with the call of ancestry—peoples and place. Memorable prose poetry and short stories full of soul.  

By Kiini Ibura Salaam (editor), Khadijah Queen (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Infinite Constellations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gathering of innovative, speculative fictions by writers of color, both established and emerging

The innovative fictions in Infinite Constellations showcase the voices and visions of 30 remarkable writers, both new and established, from the global majority: Native American/First Nation writers, South Asian writers, East Asian writers, Black American writers, Latinx writers, and Caribbean and Middle Eastern writers. These are visions both familiar and strange, but always rooted in the mystery of human relationships, the deep honoring of memory, and the rootedness to place and the centering of culture.

The writers in this anthology mirror, instruct, bind and unbind, myth-make…


Book cover of Another Country: Journeying toward the Cherokee Mountains

John Nolt Author Of A Land Imperiled: The Declining Health of the Southern Appalachian Bioregion

From my list on loss and hope in the southern Appalachian environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

I moved from Ohio to southern Appalachia in 1978 to take a temporary job teaching philosophy at the University of Tennessee.  I hadn’t planned to stay, but I fell in love with the mountains. Recently I retired after a fruitful 44-year career here. Concern for this land and for my children and grandchildren led me to environmental activism and shifted my teaching and writing from mathematical logic to environmental and intergenerational ethics. Eventually I wrote or edited four books on environmental matters (two specifically on the southern Appalachian environment) in addition to three on logic and (most recently) a tome on the tricky topic of incomparable values.

John's book list on loss and hope in the southern Appalachian environment

John Nolt Why did John love this book?

Camuto’s supple prose draws the reader into a journey toward mountains that no longer exist, although they are named on some old maps: the southern Appalachians not as they are, but as they were before the European invasion. A keen historian and observant naturalist, Camuto walks deep into “what’s left of the backcountry,” documenting the hopeful reintroduction of the nearly extinct red wolf and reflecting on Cherokee place names, culture, and history. "Needless to say,” he confesses, “I never got to the Cherokee Mountains”—and, in sad irony, shortly after the book’s publication the red wolf reintroduction failed. Still, Camuto has succeeded in recording resonant reminiscences of places, peoples, and biotic populations now lost.

By Christopher Camuto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Another Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The southern Appalachians encompass one of the most beautiful, biologically diverse, and historically important regions of North America. In the widely acclaimed Another Country: Journeying toward the Cherokee Mountains, Christopher Camuto describes the tragic collision of natural and cultural history embedded in the region. In the spirit of Thoreau's "Walking," Camuto explores the Appalachian summit country of the Great Smoky Mountains-the historical home of the Cherokee-searching for access to the nature, history, and spirit of a magnificent, if diminished, landscape.

As the author takes the reader through old-growth forests and ancient myths, he tells of the attempted restoration of Canis…


Book cover of Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer

Laurie Wallmark Author Of Code Breaker, Spy Hunter: How Elizebeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars

From my list on biographies of women in STEM.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved math and science. When I decided to become a writer, I knew I wanted to share this love with children through my writing. Did I know I would one day have five published picture book biographies of women in STEM and three more on the way? Absolutely not. I feel fortunate I’ve had the opportunity to tell the stories of many unsung women scientists and mathematicians. To this end, I keep an ever-growing, ever-changing list of possible subjects for future biographies.

Laurie's book list on biographies of women in STEM

Laurie Wallmark Why did Laurie love this book?

What do you think of when you picture an aerospace engineer? It’s probably some white guy in a white shirt. A native woman certainly doesn’t fit that stereotype, but that didn’t matter to Mary Gold Ross. It’s so rare to see books biographies about people who are Native working in STEM, yet representation matters.

By Traci Sorell, Natasha Donovan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Classified as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Discover the story of how a math-loving girl blazed a trail for herself and others in this American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award Honor Picture Book, Classified: Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, a biography for children ages 7 – 11

Mary Golda Ross designed classified airplanes and spacecraft as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation's first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work.

Cherokee author Traci Sorell and Métis illustrator Natasha Donovan trace Ross's journey from being the only girl in a high school math class…


Book cover of Betty

Catherine McCarthy Author Of The Wolf and the Favour

From my list on a child who has a tough journey through life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an author of dark fiction from Wales, UK, who, for many years, taught primary school children. In my own writing I often gravitate towards the child’s point of view, and the same can be said of the fiction I choose to read. As a teacher I dealt with children’s issues on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes you wonder how these kids survive, or at least you understand the trauma they carry for the rest of their lives. But what about those who manage to rise above it? Those are the characters whose stories I love to read. The child lurks in all of us, and we must never lose sight of that fact.

Catherine's book list on a child who has a tough journey through life

Catherine McCarthy Why did Catherine love this book?

Oh boy, am I glad I picked up a copy of this.

Although the cover did nothing to attract me, it turned out to be one of those rare books you want everybody to read. Even though it was quite a long book, at around 480 pages, I loved every single sentence. The plot, the references to Native American culture, characterization, you name it. Superb. 

By Tiffany McDaniel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Betty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A coming-of-age story filled with magic in language and plot: beautiful and devastating'
Observer, Books of the Year

'I felt consumed by this book. I loved it, you will love it'
Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters

'A page-turning Appalachian coming-of-age story told in undulating prose that settles right into you'
Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times

'Vivid and lucid, Betty has stayed with me'
Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies

'I loved Betty'
Fiona Mozley, author of Hot Stew

'Breahtaking'
Vogue

'A GIRL COMES OF AGE AGAINST THE KNIFE'

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter.
Born in a…


Book cover of Trees of Georgia and Adjacent States

Mark Warren Author Of Wild Plants and Survival Lore

From my list on nature education and survival skills.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I was drawn to the forest by its aesthetics. I felt as if I were wandering through a masterpiece painting. As I grew older, I wanted to know more about the many working parts of nature. I quickly learned this: If I wanted to know nature intimately, I needed to know what the Native Americans knew. After years of study and honing skills, I undertook seasonal, self-imposed “survival trips” in remote areas of the National Forest. As an adult I served as a naturalist for the Georgia Conservancy, wilderness director for High Meadows Camp, and as director of my own wilderness school – Medicine Bow – in the Appalachian Mountains.


Mark's book list on nature education and survival skills

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

Because Mr. Newcomb’s book (above) covers only herbs, shrubs, and vines, the survival student needs a good tree identifier (field guide) to cover “the standing people.” (The Cherokee name for “trees.”) Because I live in Georgia, this book serves me well. If you live outside of the Southeast, you’ll want to find a book germane to your area. Trees of Georgia contains good photographs of leaves, bark, flowers, buds, and fruits of over 200 species.

By Claud L. Brown, L. Katherine Kirkman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trees of Georgia and Adjacent States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This field guide identifies 205 species and varieties, with plant descriptions that highlight differences between similar taxa. It also includes range maps and botanical keys for summer and winter.


Book cover of Marked

J.D. Groom Author Of Sorceress Of Truth

From my list on nostalgic YA urban-fantasy of the 2000's.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author of contemporary/urban fantasy, and an avid reader of the genre for over twenty-five years. I can still remember my very first vampire read, Secret Vampire by LJ Smith. I don't get to read as many books as I would like, partly because I take my time to ensure I don’t skim over details. This way, the story sinks in and its meaning becomes deeper and clearer. I also apply this to my own books to give the reader an immersive experience. As a British author, all of my writing is set in the UK, which I think brings a different dimension to a market that's flooded with novels based in the USA.

J.D.'s book list on nostalgic YA urban-fantasy of the 2000's

J.D. Groom Why did J.D. love this book?

I remember finding this book so intriguing at the time. For a start, it's written by two authors, a mother and daughter team. Growing up I used to write with friends and family, each taking in turns to write a page and then passing it to the other for their turn. It was great fun, but ultimately ended in a mess as we were each fighting to take the story in the direction we wanted. So I enjoyed that the partnership in Marked worked.

The magic and ritual element also drew me in. As someone who dabbles in the spiritual, with card reading, candles, and the like, it was interesting to see how it could be brought into fiction in a different way while also introducing some Cherokee wisdom.

By P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marked as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"The House of Night" series is set in a world very much like our own, except in sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampyre - that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It's tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been…


Book cover of Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education

Eric Cheyfitz Author Of The Colonial Construction of Indian Country: Native American Literatures & Federal Indian Law

From my list on Native American resistance to U.S colonialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Eric Cheyfitz, the Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters at Cornell University, where I am on the faculty of The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program and its former director. Because of my expertise in federal Indian law, I have been a consultant in certain legal matters involving Native issues. Some of the many books I teach and have written about are on my Shepherd list. My work is sustaining: writing and teaching about Native life and literature is a way of joining a crucial conversation about the survival of the planet through living a socially, politically, and economically balanced life.

Eric's book list on Native American resistance to U.S colonialism

Eric Cheyfitz Why did Eric love this book?

I value Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education by the Cherokee writer Diane Glancy because it is an empathetic history, one that compels me to understand its subjects from their perspective, Plains Indian prisoners taken captive defending their lands from the U.S. invasion and shipped to Fort Marion Prison in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1875. There, the prisoners were subject to a regime of reeducation in order to “kill the Indian and save the man,” as the head of the prison and founder of the Carlisle Indian School Brigadier General Richard Henry Pratt stated it.

This regime subsequently became the model for the Indian boarding schools. But Glancy brings home that this model of “dislocation” is “at the heart of [all] education,” such as mine:  a Jewish boy educated in an Episcopalian school where the curriculum without a thought erased my own culture.

By Diane Glancy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the Southern Plains Indian wars in 1875, the War Department shipped seventy-two Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Caddo prisoners from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida. These most resistant Native people, referred to as "trouble causers," arrived to curious, boisterous crowds eager to see the Indian warriors they knew only from imagination. Fort Marion Prisoners and the Trauma of Native Education is an evocative work of creative nonfiction, weaving together history, oral traditions, and personal experience to tell the story of these Indian prisoners.

Resurrecting the voices and experiences of the prisoners…


Book cover of Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom

Jillian Hishaw Author Of Systematic Land Theft

From my list on the history of land dispossession.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family’s farm was lost due to a dishonest lawyer that my great-grandmother entrusted. Because of that, I have devoted the past 20 years of my career to providing low-cost legal services to aging rural farmers around estate planning and civil rights. As an attorney, I have worked for the US Department of Agriculture and the Office of Civil Rights in Washington DC. I also founded the non-profit organization F.A.R.M.S., which provides services to aging rural farmers such as preventing farm foreclosures, executing wills, and securing purchase contracts. After drafting Systematic Land Theft over the span of several years, I am happy to release this historic synopsis documenting the land theft of Indigenous and Black communities. I have written extensively on the topics of agriculture, environmental, and land injustice in a variety of legal, trade, and other publications.

Jillian's book list on the history of land dispossession

Jillian Hishaw Why did Jillian love this book?

A beautiful manuscript documenting the overall racial tension between Indigenous, enslaved Africans, and Europeans is superbly described by Dr. Miles in all aspects. The undertones of admiration and challenges between all three racial groups is eloquently pictured in the relationship between Shoeboots, a prominent Cherokee Champion and farmer, and Doll, his companion and enslaved African woman. The three-decade depiction of Shoeboot’s and Doll’s lives together and Doll’s petition to the federal government requesting Shoe Boot’s pension as his widow is beyond historic. Ties that Bind is a true testament to the enslaved Africans tribal experience before, during, and after slavery; it is essential to one’s book collection.  

By Tiya Miles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ties That Bind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This beautifully written book, now in its second edition, tells the haunting saga of a quintessentially American family. It is the story of Shoe Boots, a famed Cherokee warrior and successful farmer, and Doll, an African slave he acquired in the late 1790s. Over the next thirty years, Shoe Boots and Doll lived together as master and slave and also as lifelong partners who, with their children and grandchildren, experienced key events in American history including slavery, the Creek War, the founding of the Cherokee Nation and subsequent removal of Native Americans along the Trail of Tears, and the Civil…


Book cover of This Indian Kid: A Native American Memoir

Luke Jerod Kummer Author Of The Blue Period

From Luke's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Traveler Story collector Archivist Scriptwriter

Luke's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Luke Jerod Kummer Why did Luke love this book?

After being transported to a vivid, foreboding past by Eddie Chuculate’s atmospheric short story “Galveston Bay, 1826,” I was eager to get a hold of the author’s new nonfiction account of his own coming of age in Oklahoma and the path he took to journalism and storytelling.

Mainly written at an easy, conversational pace, This Indian Kid: A Native American Memoir occasionally slips into exquisite lyricism. In all, it is a potent pleasure.

By Eddie Chuculate,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Indian Kid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Award-winning author Eddie Chuculate recounts his experience growing up in rural Oklahoma, from boyhood to young manhood, in an evocative and vivid voice.

Scholastic Focus is the premier home of thoroughly researched, beautifully written, and thoughtfully designed works of narrative nonfiction aimed at middle-grade and young adult readers. These books help readers learn about the world in which they live and develop their critical thinking skills so that they may become dynamic citizens who are able to analyze and understand our past, participate in essential discussions about our present, and work to grow and build our future.

"Granny was full-blooded…


Book cover of Cherokee America

Glenda Goodman Author Of Cultivated by Hand: Amateur Musicians in the Early American Republic

From my list on hidden lives of women in early America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a devoted reader of fiction, and I especially enjoy novels and short stories that delve into characters’ interior lives and motivations. I find people fascinating, both in books and in real life, and I am always trying to figure out why people do or say certain things. I should probably have become a psychologist or a detective instead of a musicologist. I am passionate about doing as much of that kind of sleuthing as a scholar as possible.  

Glenda's book list on hidden lives of women in early America

Glenda Goodman Why did Glenda love this book?

I love an epic family novel, and this fits the bill. It’s set in 1875 in the Cherokee Nation and centers largely on a Cherokee matriarch as she cares for her dying husband, who is white while raising her sons and managing a substantial farm.

It’s also about her neighbors and employees, and there’s a bit of a mystery, too. I’m recommending this book because it shows just how complex family can be and how kinship can be a powerful force for protection, but also, in U.S. legal contexts, it can be used against Native American people. 

By Margaret Verble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cherokee America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud’s Line, an epic novel that follows a web of complex family alliances and culture clashes in the Cherokee Nation during the aftermath of the Civil War, and the unforgettable woman at its center.

Winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award (Best Western Traditional Novel)

It’s the early spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West. A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, a gold stash, and a preacher have all gone missing. Cherokee America Singer, known as “Check,” a wealthy farmer, mother of five boys,…