Cherokee Trail of Tears and the Navajo Long Walk
Forced Relocation of Native Americans



The Cherokee Trail of Tears (1830s) and the Navajo Long Walk (1860s) are two of the most tragic chapters in the history of our country and are definitely very important for children to learn about. The

following thoughtful and well- researched children's books do an exceptional job of conveying the facts and the human component of the Trail of Tears and the Navajo Long Walk.

We plan to add more children's books to this list, hopefully soon. If you know of  good books we could add to this category, please let us know. Note: The interest age increases as you move down the page.

For additional books about Native American history, please see the Native Americans section here.




Dzani Yazhi Naazbaa' / Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home : A Story of the Navajo Long Walk
Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home:
A Story of the Navajo Long Walk

Summary: Dzanibaa and her family lived at the Base of Black Mesa until US soldiers attacked their village and forced her family and thousands of other Navajos to walk 450 miles and then suffer for years on land that could not sustain crops. After four years, they were able to return to their homeland. This book tells their story in both Navajo and English and includes brilliant color paintings.

Rdg Levels:  Interest--Gr. 3-8   Difficulty--age 9-12
The Journal of Jesse Smoke:A Cherokee Boy, The Trail of Tears, 1838 by Joseph Bruchac
The Journal of Jesse Smoke:
A Cherokee Boy, The Trail of Tears

Summary:
This "outstanding addition to the...series" (Booklist) covers the tragic Cherokee Trail of Tears as seen through the eyes of a 16 year old boy named Jesse. In addition to writing about the excruciating forced march, Jesse also writes about Cherokee daily life, beliefs and practices, and the political forces leading to the forced removal, making this journal a powerful window into the culture and the Trail of Tears.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 4-6      Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864 by Ann Turner
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow:
The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl

Summary:
13-year-old Sarah is records her life as a young girl forced to endure the 400 mile Navajo Long Walk, from when she first saw the US soldiers on the horizon to the tragic and horrific conditions along the Long Walk (where those who fell behind were simply murdered by the soldiers). Sarah also includes details about Navajo life. Turner has opened a window on a terrible episode in our nation's history.


Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 4-8    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Coming Next: lesson ideas, DRA and Lexile, etc...




More books on this topic:
We'd like this list to be longer so we're looking into a few other books for this category, including:

- Only the Names Remain: The Cherokees and the Trail of Tears by Alex Bealer
- Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Cornelia Cornellison
- Trail of Tears (Step into Reading) by Joseph Bruchac
- Navajo Long Walk: The Tragic Story of a Proud Peoples' Forced March from Their    
  Homeland
by Joseph Bruchac  [probably good....he's an excellent writer!]

We will add these books, if appropriate, and look for more to add over the next few months.  

Also, if you have read Scott O'Dell's Sing Down the Moon in your classroom, please let us know what you think. We are hesitant to add it here because there seems to be fairly significant errors (ie...the Spaniards were in the area centuries before the Long Walk; the book says the Long Walk was just 200 miles, etc.) We haven't been able to find any reviews that mention errors, so we are hold off on adding it. Perhaps we're wrong. If you use this book in your class, what do you think?





Do you know of a good children's book about the Cherokee Trail of Tears and other Native American forced relocation programs?  If so, please let us know by completing the Suggest a Book form.

Go -from- Cherokee Trail of Tears / the Long Walk -to- American History Books
Go -from- Cherokee Trail of Tears / the Long Walk -to- the Best Childrens Books


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