Thinking critically about Columbus Day and American Indians in children’s books

As many kids across the U.S. enjoy a day off school for Columbus Day, I encourage you to visit and follow this blog: American Indians in Children’s Literature.

It is written by Debbie Reese, a Nambe Pueblo Indian woman from northern New Mexico. On the blog, Reese, who has been a school teacher and professor of children’s literature, critiques stereotyped portrayals of American Indians in kids’ books and offers better examples. It’s worth a read by any parent, teacher or librarian.

And if you are, indeed, a teacher, I also recommend you check out the Zinn Education Project for some different perspectives on Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day than we usually see in schools. Did you know that Seattle’s school board recently voted to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day each year? The city council followed up with a similar vote the next week.

“Rethinking Columbus” is a volume for teachers, published by Rethinking Schools magazine.

5 thoughts on “Thinking critically about Columbus Day and American Indians in children’s books

  1. My son’s 6th grade class is putting Columbus on trial this week for crimes against humanity. His teacher was close to Zinn, and gave his son Zinn for a middle name. He teachers from Zinn’s Young People’s history of the U.S. My son said that Columbus is “goin’ down.”

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