Joseph Bruchac

In the author’s own words:

I grew up in the small town of Greenfield Center, New York, which is in the foothills of the Adirondacks not far from the city of Saratoga Springs. It is a place I love, close to the forests and the mountains.

I was raised by my grandparents, who had a little general store. My grandmother, Marion Dunham Bowman, was a graduate of Albany Law School. Although she never did practice law, she kept the house filled with books. It’s because of her that I was always reading.

My grandfather, Jesse Bowman, was of Abenaki Indian descent. He could barely read and write, but I remember him as one of the kindest people I ever knew. I followed him everywhere. He showed me how to walk quietly in the woods and how to fish. He told me that his father never spanked him, but would only talk to him when he misbehaved. He raised me in the same way.

I loved my grandparents’ little general store. I helped out as much as I could, ringing up purchases on the cash register and washing customers’ cars and windows. In the fall and winter, I would sit around the wood stove and listen to the local farmers and lumberjacks tell tall tales. One of those men was Lawrence Older. When I grew up, he taught me the songs and stories he knew about the Adirondacks.

Starting to Write

I started to write when I was in the second grade. I wrote poems to my teacher. One day, when she read one to the class, some of the bigger boys got jealous. They beat me up after school. That was my first experience with hostile literary critics. But I kept on writing. And I was always reading, especially classic children’s stories about animals.

I think I always knew I would be a writer some day, but it wasn’t until I was grown and had children of my own that I turned to telling Native American stories. My Indian grandfather never told those stories to me. Instead, I began to seek them out from other Native elders as soon as I left home for college. I wanted to share those stories with my sons, so I started to write them down. My first book of stories was published in 1975.

My Life Today

Today I live in the same house I was raised in by my grandparents. I write in an upstairs room, and I’m never at a loss for things to write about. I love being a writer and storyteller. I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the United States, to live in Africa, and to meet interesting people wherever I go.

I’ve continued to read and to listen to stories from elders. The central themes in my work are simple ones – that we have to listen to each other and to the earth, that we have to respect each other and the earth, that we never know anyone until we know what they have in their heart.

My advice for anyone wanting to write is the same advice I give myself: You have to do it a page at a time, and you have to keep on doing it. You take one step to climb a mountain.–from

More About Joseph Bruchac

To learn more about Joseph Bruchac, visit his website:

Full Bibliography:

  • Indian mountain, and other poems. / Joseph Bruchac. (1971)
  • The Buffalo in the Syracuse Zoo and other poems / Joseph Bruchac. (1972)
  • The poetry of pop / by Joe (Joseph) Bruchac. (1973)
  • Great Meadow : Words of hearsay and heresy / Joseph Bruchac. (1973)
  • The Manabozho poems / Joseph Bruchac. (1974)
  • Turkey Brother, and other tales : Iroquois folk stories / as told by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Kahonhes (Kahionhes). (1975)
  • Flow / by Joseph Bruchac. (1975)
  • The road to Black Mountain : a novel / by Joseph Bruchac. (1976)
  • Garter snakes / Joseph Bruchac. (1976)
  • Mu’ndu Wi-‘go : poems from Mohegan stories and the Mohegan diary of Flying Bird (Mrs. Fidelia A. H. Fielding) / by Joseph Bruchac. (1978)
  • There are no trees inside the prison / Joseph Bruchac. (1978)
  • Dreams of Jesse Brown / Joseph Bruchac. (1978)
  • Stone giants & flying heads : adventure stories of the Iroquois / as told by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Kahonhes (Kahionhes) and Brascoupé. (1979)
  • The good message of Handsome Lake / Joseph Bruchac. (1979)
  • How to start and sustain a literary magazine : practical strategies for publications of lasting value / by Joseph Bruchac. (1980)
  • Iroquois stories : heroes and heroines, monsters and magic / as told by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Daniel Burgevin. (1985)
  • Survival this way : interviews with American Indian poets / Joseph Bruchac. (1987)
  • Near the mountains / Joseph Bruchac. (1987)
  • Keepers of the earth : native American stories and environmental activities for children / Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac ; foreword by N. Scott Momaday ; illustrations by John Kahionhes Fadden and Carol Wood. (1988) (1997)
  • The faithful hunter : Abenaki stories / as told by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Kahionhes. (1988)
  • Return of the sun : native American tales from the Northeast woodlands / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Gary Carpenter. (1989)
  • Long memory and other poems / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations, Kahionhes ; translation, Hartmut Lutz = Langes Gedächtnis und andere Gedichte / von Joseph Bruchac ; Illustrationen, Kahionhes ; Übersetzung, Hartmut Lutz. (1989)
  • Native American stories / told by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by John Kahionhes Fadden. (1991)
  • Hoop snakes, hide behinds, and side-hill winders : tall tales from the Adirondacks / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Tom Trujillo. (1991)
  • Keepers of the animals : Native American stories and wildlife activities for children / Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac ; foreword by Vine Deloria, Jr. ; story illustrations by John Kahionhes Fadden and David Kanietakeron Fadden ; chapter illustrations by D.D. Tyler and Carol Wood. (1991)
  • Turtle meat and other stories / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Murv Jacob. (1992)
  • Native American animal stories / told by Joseph Bruchac ; foreword by Vine Deloria, Jr. ; illustrations by John Kahionhes Fadden and David Kanietakeron Fadden. (1992)
  • Thirteen moons on turtle’s back : a Native American year of moons / by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London ; illustrated by Thomas Locker. (1992)
  • Flying with the eagle, racing the Great Bear : tales from native North America / told by Joseph Bruchac. (1993) (2011)
  • The native American sweat lodge : history and legends / by Joseph Bruchac.(1993)
  • Dawn Land : a novel / Joseph Bruchac. (1993)
  • Fox song / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Paul Morin. (1993)
  • The first strawberries : a Cherokee story / retold by Joseph Bruchac ; pictures by Anna Vojtech. (1993)
  • A boy called Slow : the true story of Sitting Bull / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Rocco Baviera. (1994)
  • Keepers of the night : Native American stories and nocturnal activities for children / Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac ; story illustrations by David Kanietakeron Fadden ; chapter illustrations by Jo Levasseur and Carol Wood ; foreword by Merlin D. Tuttle. (1994)
  • The great ball game : a Muskogee story / retold by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Susan L. Roth. (1994)
  • The girl who married the moon : tales from Native North America / told by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross. (1994) (2006)
  • Keepers of life : discovering plants through Native American stories and earth activities for children / Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac ; foreword by Marilou Awiakta ; story illustrations by John Kahionhes Fadden and David Kanietakeron Fadden ; chapter illustrations by Marjorie C. Leggitt and Carol Wood. (1994)
  • The earth under Sky Bear’s feet : native American poems of the land / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Thomas Locker. (1995)
  • Long River : a novel / Joseph Bruchac. (1995)
  • The story of the Milky Way : a Cherokee tale / by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross ; paintings by Virginia A. Stroud. (1995)
  • The boy who lived with the bears : and other Iroquois stories / told by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Murv Jacob. (1995)
  • Gluskabe and the four wishes / retold by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Christine Nyburg Shrader. (1995)
  • Dog people : native dog stories / Joseph Bruchac. (1995)
  • Roots of survival : Native American storytelling and the sacred / Joseph Bruchac. (1996)
  • Between earth & sky : legends of Native American sacred places / written by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Thomas Locker. (1996)
  • Four ancestors : stories, songs, and poems from Native North America / told by Joseph Bruchac ; pictures by S.S. Burrus. (1996)
  • Children of the longhouse / Joseph Bruchac. (1996)
  • Native American gardening : stories, projects, and recipes for families / Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac ; interior illustrations by Mary AdairAdelaide Murphy Tyrol, and Carol Wood ; foreword by Gary Paul Nabhan ; preface by Marjorie Waters. (1996)
  • The circle of thanks / told by Joseph Bruchac ; pictures by Murv Jacob. (1996)
  • The maple thanksgiving / written by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Anna Vojtech. (1996)
  • Eagle song / Joseph Bruchac ; pictures by Dan Andreasen. (1997)
  • Many nations : an alphabet of Native America / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Robert F. Goetzl. (1997)
  • Tell me a tale : a book about storytelling / Joseph Bruchac. (1997)
  • Lasting echoes : an oral history of Native American people / Joseph Bruchac ; assemblage and painting by Paul Morin. (1997)
  • Bowman’s store : a journey to myself / Joseph Bruchac. (1997) (2001)
  • The heart of a chief : with connections / Joseph Bruchac. (1998)
  • The arrow over the door / Joseph Bruchac ; pictures by James Watling. (1998)
  • When the Chenoo howls : Native American tales of terror / Joseph and James Bruchac ; illustrations by William Sauts Netamux́we Bock. (1998)
  • The waters between : a novel of the dawn land / Joseph Bruchac. (1998)
  • Heart of a chief : a novel / Joseph Bruchac. (1998)
  • Seeing the circle / by Joseph Bruchac ; photographs by John Christopher Fine. (1999)
  • No borders : new poems / Joseph Bruchac. (1999)
  • The Trail of Tears / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Diana Magnuson. (1999)
  • Squanto‘s journey : the story of the first Thanksgiving / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Greg Shed. (2000)
  • Crazy horse’s vision / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by S.D. Nelson. (2000)
  • Sacajawea : the story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark Expedition / Joseph Bruchac. (2000)
  • Native American games and stories / James Bruchac and Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Kayeri Akweks. (2000)
  • Trails of tears, paths of beauty / Joseph Bruchac. (2000)
  • Pushing up the sky : seven native American plays for children / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Teresa Flavin. (2000)
  • Skeleton Man / Joseph Bruchac. (2001)
  • Journal of Jesse Smoke : a Cherokee boy / Joseph Bruchac. (2001)
  • How Chipmunk got his stripes : a tale of bragging and teasing / as told by Joseph Bruchac & James Bruchac ; pictures by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey. (2001)
  • Navajo long walk : the tragic story of a proud people’s forced march from their homeland / by Joseph Bruchac ; with illustrations and captions by Shonto Begay. (2002)
  • Winter people / Joseph Bruchac. (2002)
  • Seasons of the circle : a Native American year / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Robert F. Goetzl. (2002)
  • Warriors / Joseph Bruchac. (2003)
  • Turtle’s race with Beaver : a traditional Seneca story / as told by Joseph Bruchac & James Bruchac ; pictures by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey. (2003)
  • Pocahontas / Joseph Bruchac. (2003) (2005)
  • Our stories remember : American Indian history, culture, & values through storytelling / Joseph Bruchac. (2003)
  • Can Turtle fly? : a Lakota folk tale / retold by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Gerald McDermott. (2004)
  • Rachel Carson : preserving a sense of wonder / by Thomas Locker & Joseph Bruchac (2004)
  • The dark pond / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Sally Wern Comport. (2004)
  • Hidden Roots / Joseph Bruchac. (2004)
  • Jim Thorpe‘s bright path / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by S.D. Nelson. (2004)
  • Raccoon’s last race : a traditional Abenaki story / Joseph Bruchac & James Bruchac ; pictures by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey. (2004)
  • Code talker : a novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two / Joseph Bruchac. (2005)
  • Foot of the mountain and other stories / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Chris Charlebois. (2005)
  • At the end of Ridge Road / Joseph Bruchac. (2005)
  • Whisper in the dark / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Sally Wern Comport. (2005)
  • Wabi : a hero’s tale / Joseph Bruchac. (2006)
  • Geronimo / Joseph Bruchac. (2006)
  • The return of Skeleton Man / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Sally Wern Comport. (2006)
  • Jim Thorpe : original All-American / Joseph Bruchac. (2006)
  • Bearwalker / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Sally Wern Comport. (2007)
  • March toward the thunder / Joseph Bruchac. (2008)
  • Lay-ups and long shots : an anthology of short stories / by Joseph Bruchac. (2008)
  • The girl who helped thunder and other Native American folktales / retold by James Bruchac and Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Stefano Vitale. (2008)
  • Buffalo song / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. (2008)
  • Night wings / Joseph Bruchac ; illustrations by Sally Wern Comport. (2009)
  • Dawn land / story by Joseph Bruchac ; adaptation and art by Will Davis. (2010)
  • My father is taller than a tree / by Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin. (2010)
  • Wolf mark / Joseph Bruchac. (2011)
  • Dragon castle / Joseph Bruchac. (2011)
  • Rabbit’s snow dance : a traditional Iroquois story / as told by James and Joseph Bruchac ; illustrated by Jeff Newman. (2012)
  • Killer of Enemies / Joseph Bruchac. (Tu Books, 2013)
  • Walking two worlds / Joseph Bruchac. (2015)
  • The Hunter’s Promise : An Abenaki Tale / By Joseph Bruchac ; Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. (2015)
  • Trail of the dead / Joseph Bruchac. (2015)
  • Chenoo: a novel / Joseph Bruchac. (2016)
  • Brothers of the buffalo: a novel about the Red River War / Joseph Bruchac. (2016)
  • (The) Long Run / Joseph Bruchac. (2016)
  • Talking Leaves / Joseph Bruchac. (2016)
  • Arrow of lightning / Joseph Bruchac. (2017)
  • Chester Nez and the unbreakable code: a Navajo code talker’s story / Joseph Bruchac ; pictures by Liz Amini-Holmes. (2018)
  • Two roads / Joseph Bruchac. (2018)

Picture Books

  • A Boy Called Slow, Philomel
  • Between Earth and Sky, Harcourt
  • Buffalo Song, Lee & Low
  • Crazy Horse’s Vision, Lee & Low
  • The Earth Under Sky Bear’s Feet, Philomel
  • The First Strawberries, Dial Books
  • The Great Ball Game, Dial Books
  • How Chipmunk Got His Stripes,(with Jim Bruchac) Dial
  • Jim Thorpe’s Bright Path, Lee and Low
  • Makiawisug: Gift of the Little People (with M.Fawcett) Little People…
  • Many Nations Scholastic
  • The Maple Thanksgiving, Celebration Press
  • My Father is Taller Than a Tree, ( Dial)
  • Navajo Long Walk, National Geographic
  • Rabbit’s Snow Dance (with Jim Bruchac) Dial
  • Rachel Carson, Fulcrum
  • Raccoon’s Last Race(with Jim Bruchac) Dial
  • Squanto’s Journey, Harcourt
  • 13 Moons on Turtle’s Back (with J. London) Philomel
  • Turtle’s Race with Beaver (with Jim Bruchac) Dial
  • First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story