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Home > Children's Books > All Our Relatives

cover of All Our Relatives
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All Our Relatives: Traditional Native American Thoughts about Nature
compiled and illustrated by: Paul Goble
foreword by Joe Medicine Crow
Subject(s): Age(s) / Grade level  / Lexile:

American Indian
Children's Books

6 and up / 6-7 / Lexile
: 950L

Format: Size / page count:


8.5" × 11" / 36 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now



For more than four decades, world-renowned artist and author Paul Goble has participated closely in the life of the Plains Indians of the American West and has met old-timers who knew the pre-reservation days and shared the friendship of many tribal elders. In the tales and songs, dreams and quotations of this book, the ancient Indian ways are brought to life again. The title of this book, “all our relatives” (mitakuye oyasin), is a frequently repeated phrase in Lakota ceremonies that expresses the interdependence of creation and the presence of the Creator in all things. Through carefully chosen stories from the olden days and art that meticulously reflects traditional designs and colors, Goble provides wonderful insights into the spiritual life of these nomadic peoples. His intimate knowledge of their world transports the reader into a vision of the sacred beauty and wisdom that defined traditional Native America.


  • Silver Midwest Book Award for “Nature" 
  • Nominated for James Madison Book Award

Reviews (hide/show)

“This book’s title is taken from the Lakota phrase ‘mitakuye oyasin,’ which translates to ‘all my relatives’' and is often used in tribal ceremonies and prayers. The text is decorated with Goble’s artwork portraying bird and animal designs, copied from tepees, shields, and drums and considered sacred ‘because they picture ... that which came in dreams to give their protection, encouragement, or direction for people’s lives.’ ”
—Robin Farrell Edmunds, ForeWord Reviews
“In this beautifully illustrated volume, Paul Goble shares his admiration and respect for Native Americans and their close ties to nature and animals. Goble…is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator. He received the Caldecott Medal in 1978 for The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. Most of his twenty-eight published books reflect his life-long fascination with the Plains Indians and their way of life.

“Joe Medicine Crow, former Crow Tribal Historian and the oldest living member of the Crow Tribe, contributes the foreword. Goble, a world-renowned author and illustrator and a winner of the prestigious Caldecott Award, has created 70 full color drawings. These surround a wonderful smorgasbord of quotations from Native Americans who lived during the nomadic times, along with 23 traditional stories.”
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and

“His art is tremendous because he is able to recreate the traditional forms with great accuracy and detail. The designs he draws are completely authentic and his colors are the same ones that were used by the old-timers before the reservation days. He is able to recreate the spirit of the old stories with his illustrations and his words.”
—Joe Medicine Crow, Crow Tribal Historian, and oldest living member of the Crow Tribe
“Paul Goble captures the beauty, spirituality and profundity of the Plains Indian sacred traditions with a power not of this world. What a glorious legacy he has wrought, and continues to create, and how deeply I thank Ma’heo’o for calling him to so great a vocation.”
— Father Peter J. Powell, Director Saint Augustine’s Center of American Indians; author of Sweet Medicine
“All Our Relatives teaches us that we human beings are among, not above, all the creatures, and cannot live well without heeding their lessons. Paul Goble’s clean, vivid art enhances the wisdom of the poetic Native words.”
James Alexander Thom, author of Follow the River, Panther in the Sky (about Chief Tecumseh), and many others
“All of Paul Goble's books are highly recommended.”
American Indian Library Association
“Grade 4 Up–The pages of this book are chock-full of quotations, songs, and brief stories that exemplify Native American attitudes toward nature. No segment is longer than half a page; most are a few sentences. Black Elk, Standing Bear, Brave Buffalo, and others observe the importance of various animals and the sacred qualities of all living things. All 120 sections are documented. The spaces between text blocks are filled with Goble's familiar illustrations based on traditional Native American designs and colors…”
School Library Journal
“A beautiful, if overstuffed, compendium of First Nations' prayers, aphorisms and storytelling about animals. The title comes from the Lakota prayer refrain mitakuye oyasin, which means "all my relatives," or "we are all related." Each spread holds a story or two, and then a series of quotations or sayings about the animal in the story, all carefully but unobtrusively footnoted. The profusion of illustrations, brightly colored and ‘taken mostly from tipis, shields and drums,’ says Goble in an author's note, are both fascinating and pleasing to look at.… Especially useful for older children.”
Kirkus Reviews

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