S.D. Nelson

S. D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas. “My people are known as the Sioux or Lakota. During the 19th century they were renowned as the Horse People of the Great Plains. My ancestors were also the people of the Buffalo, for the Buffalo gave them most of their food, their warm robes, and the lodge skins of their tipis. My people followed great herds of them across the vast grasslands beneath an endless blue sky.” Nelson’s artwork appears on book jackets, greeting cards, and CD covers, and his paintings are held in both private and public collections. He has written and illustrated numerous award-winning children’s books. 

S. D. Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree in Art at Minnesota State University at Moorhead. His paintings offer a fresh contemporary interpretation of traditional Lakota images. S. D. has painted extensively on animal skins and bone. He has crafted traditional rawhide drums, beaded on leather and created ledger book drawings. Nelson’s fluid style and traditional Native American imagery combines movement, color, and form into a visual celebration of life.

Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Lakota; Oglala Lakota;

Told from the Native American point of view, Black Elk’s Vision provides a unique perspective on American history. From recounting the visions Black Elk had as a young boy, to his involvement in the battles of Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee, as well as his journeys to New York City and Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, this biographical account of Black Elk—an Oglala-Lakota medicine man (1863–1950)—follows him from childhood through adulthood.

S. D. Nelson tells the story of Black Elk through the medicine man’s voice, bringing to life what it was like to be Native American in the mid-to-late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The Native people found their land overrun by the Wha-shi-choos, or White Man, the buffalo slaughtered for sport and to purposely eliminate their main food source, and their people gathered onto reservations. Through it all, Black Elk clung to his childhood visions that planted the seeds to help his people—and all people—understand their place in the circle of life. The book includes archival images, a timeline, a bibliography, an index, and Nelson’s signature art.

Reviews
“A fine choice for story hours, this will also find wide curricular use.” —Booklist
 
“A modern-day story in the Sioux tradition of storytelling.” —Winston-Salem Journal
 
“Splendid acrylic artwork captures the action, humor, and spirit of the tale. A solid addition to collections of Native American tales and an enjoyable read-aloud.” —School Library Journal
 
“Nelson pulls it off with his confident style as a storyteller . . . polished illustrations . . . informative, well written.” —Kirkus Reviews

Educator Information
F&P level: U
F&P genre: B

Additional Information
48 pages | 10.50" x 10.37"

Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$26.95

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Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Hidatsa;

"I was born in an earth lodge by the mouth of the Knife River, in what is now North Dakota, three years after the smallpox winter." - Buffalo Bird Woman

Born in the 1830s, Buffalo Bird Girl was a member of the Hidatsa people, a Native American community that lived in permanent villages along the Missouri River on the Great Plains. Like other girls her age, Buffalo Bird Girl learned the ways of her people through watching, listening and then doing. She helped plant crops in the spring, tended the fields through the summer - scaring off birds and other animals, as well as hungry boys! - and in autumn joined in the harvest. She also learned to prepare animal skins, dry meat and perform other household duties. Along with her chores, however, there was time for playing games with friends or training her dog. Her family also visited the nearby trading post, where all sorts of magnificent things from the white man's settlements in the East could be seen.

Interweaving the actual words and stories of Buffalo Bird Woman with his artwork and archival photographs, award-winning author and artist S.D. Nelson has woven a poignant yet vibrant story, beautifully capturing the spirit of Buffalo Bird Girl and her lost way of life. The book includes a historical timeline.

Reviews
"The extraordinary illustration of this handsome volume begins with the endpaper maps and features acrylic paintings of the Hidatsa world reminiscent of traditional Plains Indian art. Pencil drawings and relevant, carefully labeled photographs round out the exquisite design. All the artwork both supports and adds to the text. An extensive author’s note and timeline supplement this beautiful tribute." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Nelson's quiet, respectful tone capably balances the factual details of daily life in the Hidatsa tribe with the obvious joy and nostalgia Buffalo Bird Girl feels toward her childhood." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"As a writer, storyteller, and traditional artist of the Sioux people, his perspective is genuine and effectively portrayed. This book would be enjoyable for anyone interested in history, but would also be an effective resource in the classroom to support the curriculum.”—Library Media Connection

"Nelson's acrylic paintings and b&w pencil drawings are intriguingly interlaced with the photographs, contrasting Native American figures in blunt profile with harvest colors and background textures that mimic dried spears of grass, leather skins, and basket weaves." — Publishers Weekly"

Educator Information
This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman. Through her true story, readers will learn what it was like to be part of this Native American community that lived along the Missouri River in the Dakotas, a society that depended more on agriculture for food and survival than on hunting. Children will relate to Buffalo Bird Girl’s routine of chores and playing with friends, and they will also be captivated by her lifestyle and the dangers that came with it.

Recommended Ages: 6-10

Additional Information
56 pages | 10.50" x 10.25"

Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$27.95

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Coyote Christmas: A Lakota Story
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Lakota;

Christmas with a Lakota trick!

A traditional Native American character gets a modern update in this charming Christmas tale.

On Christmas Eve, Coyote wants to find some people to trick out of a hot meal. Sneaky Coyote is known in the Native American tradition as the Trickster. He knows that there's one character people can't refuse on Christmas Eve: Santa Claus! Using straw for a jolly belly and wool for his Santa's beard, the Trickster fools a family into welcoming him to their Christmas meal. But just when he thinks he's gotten away with his ruse, taking their food and leaving the family with nothing, he's foiled by a strange occurrence. Could it be a Christmas miracle?

Coyote's antics, beautifully told and illustrated by S. D. Nelson, will delight readers, and his eventual comeuppance just in time for Christmas makes this a perfect holiday tale.

Additional Information
40 pages | 9.50" x 10.50"

Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$22.95

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Crazy Horse's Vision
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Sioux; Lakota;

Crazy Horse is among the best known Native American heroes. Yet many people do not know that his boyhood name was Curly, inspired by his curly hair. Curly was a leader even as a young boy, but his bravery could not prepare him for the trouble he and the other Lakota faced from the white settlers. After a fierce battle that mortally wounded Chief Conquering Bear, Curly felt called to help his people. So he defied traditional custom and ran away to seek a vision. Three days went by. Finally, as an exhausted Curly collapsed on the ground, the vision came, a rider suspended above the ground and voices coming from nowhere. It took three years for Curly to understand his vision, and this long journey gave him the strength and leadership to guide his people. Because of this powerful vision, Curly''s father renamed him Crazy Horse.

Renowned Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac tells a gripping and compelling story of how the dedicated young boy, Curly, grows into the brave warrior Crazy Horse. Sioux artist S.D. Nelson, with paintings inspired by the ledger book style of the Plains Indians, evokes the drama and tragedy of an important figure in American history.

Additional Information
40 pages | 8.96" x 10.74"

Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$16.95

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Gift Horse: A Lakota Story
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Lakota; Native American;

An action-packed coming-of-age story, Gift Horse is a wonderfully evocative introduction to 19th century Native American life on the Great Plains. When his father gives him a gift horse, marking the beginning of his journey to manhood, Flying Cloud and the horse, Storm, spend their days hunting and roughhousing with the other boys and their horses. But when an enemy raiding party steals his beloved Storm, Flying Cloud faces the ultimate rite of passage. He must join the rescue party and earn the right to wear the shirt of a warrior.

Bold, colorful artwork inspired by the style of the early Plains Indians, illustrates the day-to-day life of the Lakota and tells the story of a boy accepting the challenges of manhood. An author's note gives a brief history of the Lakota and explains the traditions discussed in the story.

Additional Information 
40 pages | 9.25" x 10.62"

Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$22.95

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Jim Thorpe's Bright Path
Format: Paperback

From the day he was born, Jim Thorpe's parents knew he was special. As the light shone on the road to the family's cabin, his mother gave Jim another name — Wa-tho-huck — "Bright Path."

Jim's athletic skills were evident early on, as he played outdoors and hunted with his father and twin brother. When the boys were sent to Indian boarding school, Jim struggled in academics but excelled in sports. Jim moved from school to school over the years, overcoming family tragedies, until his athletic genius was recognized by Coach Pop Warner at the Carlisle Indian School.

From the award-winning team of Joseph Bruchac and S. D. Nelson comes an inspiring biography of the young person behind the world-renowned athlete. Thorpe's story of determination and perseverance will resonate with every child who dreams of finding his or her own bright path.

Additional Information
40 pages | 8.90" x 10.20"

Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$16.95

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