Meet the Author

Joseph Bruchac

Portrait of Joseph Bruchac

In college, even though he was majoring in wildlife conservation, Joseph Bruchac signed up for a writing class. Three weeks later, the instructor told him to give up writing because he would never write a good poem. Bruchac says, "From that point on, I literally ate, slept, and dreamed poetry." Bruchac ended up graduating from college with a major in English literature and a minor in zoology. His own partially Abenaki ancestry gave him a rich spring of stories to draw from. Much of his career has involved retelling these Abenaki stories, as well as stories of other Native American peoples and peoples of other cultures.

Although his writing takes the form of poetry, fiction, plays, and songs, Bruchac feels that his love of story connects all his writings. "A story can build a feeling of community and draw a person into a new experience," he says. In Native American cultures, which Bruchac honors through his storytelling, stories always have lessons. The best ones, he thinks, tell people how they should act toward the earth and toward each other. They "contain knowledge that, like an elder's voice, can help guide a young person along a trail on which his or her feet have never been," says Bruchac. He draws on his own experience to give this advice to others: "Have pride in what you are and recognize that we as human beings make ourselves. Our possibilities are not limited by what our family was or by what other people say we are."

Besides writing and telling stories, Joseph Bruchac loves to write and perform songs. Bruchac, his sister Marge, and his two grown sons perform in a musical group called the Dawn Land Singers. The group has released a recording called Alnobak.

Photography Credit


Other Books Written by Joseph Bruchac

  • Crazy Horse's Vision
    (illustrated by S. D. Nelson)
  • Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving
    (illustrated by Greg Shed)
  • Sacajawea: The Story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • The Wind Eagle and Other Abenaki Stories
  • Keepers of the Earth
    (illustrated by Michael J. Caduto)
  • Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back: A Native American Year of Moons
    (with Jonathan London; illustrated by Thomas Locker)
  • Flying with the Eagle, Racing the Great Bear: Stories from Native North America
    (illustrated by Murv Jacob)
  • The Great Ball Game: A Muskogee Story
    (illustrated by Susan L. Roth)
  • The Earth Under Sky Bear's Feet
    (illustrated by Thomas Locker)
  • Dog People: Native Dog Stories
    (illustrated by Murv Jacob)
  • Children of the Longhouse
  • Between Earth and Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places
    (illustrated by Thomas Locker)
  • Elijah's Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas
  • Pushing Up the Sky: Seven Native American Plays for Children
    (illustrated by Teresa Flavin)
  • Native American Games and Stories
    (with James Bruchac; illustrated by Kayeri Alweks)