Imaiya Book Nook overview image

Imaiya Book Nook

  • Post Date: 12/03/2023
  • Author: David Eby (Choctaw, Muscogee Creek), Sarah Unruh, and Spurlock staff
  • Reading Time: 7 minute read

The following books were curated for the Imaiya Book Nook, a collaborative project with Native American House to create a dedicated place of learning showcasing Native-authored works that adhere to a central theme of Indigenous creativity. The Book Nook will be up through the end of this semester, and then the books will transfer to Native American House.

Book List

Title Author(s) Illustrator(s)
Dancing with Our Ancestors Davidson, Sara Florence (Haida), and Robert Davidson (Haida) Janine Gibbons (Haida)
Amo's Sapotawan Dumas, William (Cree) Rhian Brynjolson (not Native)
Ho'onani: Hula Warrior Gale, Heather Mika Song
It's A Mitig! George, Bridget (Kettle & Stony Point First Nation) George, Bridget (Kettle & Stony Point First Nation)
Berry Song Goade, Michaela (Tlingit, member of the Kiks.ådi Clan) Goade, Michaela (Tlingit, member of the Kiksådi Clan)
Remember Harjo, Joy (Muscogee) Michaela Goade (Tlingit, member of the Kiks.ådi Clan)
Jojo Makoons: Fancy Pants Quigley, Dawn (Citizen, Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe) Tara Audibert (Wolastoqey)
Still This Love Goes On Sainte-Marie, Buffy (Cree) Julie Flett (Cree-Metis)
Finding My Dance Thundercloud, Ria (Sandia Pueblo and Ho-chunk Nation) Kalila J. Fuller (not Native)
Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present Keene, Adrienne (Cherokee) Ciara Sana (Chamora)
Snake Falls to Earth Little Badger, Darcie
The Spirit of Denendah Volume 1: A Blanket of Butterflies Van Camp, Richard (Tłı̨chǫ Dene) Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk
Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years Harjo, Joy (Muscogee)
Following My Spirit Home: A Collection of Paintings and Stories Zimmerman, Sam (Ojibwe)/Zhaawanoogiizhik
Hula Hakes, Jasmine 'Iolani
The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley
Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America Wilbur, Matika (Swinomish and Tulalip)

Edited Volumes

Title Editor(s)
Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids Smith, Cynthia Leitich
I Am Where I Come From: Native American College Students Tell Their Life Stories Andrew Garrod [and three others]; with a foreword by K.Tsianina Lomawaima
Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton

  • collection of books in the book book

An article about the book nook appears in the Champaign News-Gazette and is reprinted here for your reference.

Curated in collaboration with the Native American House (NAH), the Imaiya Book Nook is a dedicated place of learning showcasing Native-authored works that adhere to a central theme of Indigenous creativity.

Imaiya is a verb that roughly translates to “exceed, prevail, or surpass” in the Chahta anumpa (Choctaw language). Like in many Nations, my peoples’ stories utilize creativity of being and place as a central role in the moral teaching and ways of knowing and interacting. Only in our creativity can we unlock imaiya. The Imaiya Book Nook celebrates Indigenous creativity by showcasing Native-authored works that enable visitors to read and reflect on the cultural perspectives and community experiences of Native peoples.

The Imaiya Book Nook is largely curated from selections published by the American Indians in Children’s Literature blog run by UIUC alumna Dr. Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo). The Book Nook is full of lively, modern Indigenous children’s and young adult books. In addition to the stories, lessons, and practices conveyed in these pieces, Indigenous creativity naturally peeks through the various artworks and graphics illustrated by Indigenous creators.

Through December, visitors can enjoy cozy seating while reading and reflecting on the cultural perspectives and community experiences of Native Peoples. To contribute to the growth of the NAH Resource Library, in the new year the Spurlock will donate this book collection to our cultural center so more visitors may enhance their understanding of Native Peoples.

This Book Nook project was developed by Sarah Unruh and David Eby, graduate students in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, as part of the course Collaborating with Native American Communities, Libraries, Archives, and Museums. This course, cross-listed in Information Sciences and American Indian Studies, is taught by Spurlock Museum director Elizabeth Sutton.

We hope this Book Nook inspires the community to learn more about Native American authors, artists, and experiences and to consider supporting this creative work by picking up a copy of one of these books to gift to a friend, relative, or even themselves this holiday season.