Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Arlene B. Hirschfelder  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1943 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Arlene B. Hirschfelder on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Arlene was born and raised in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Arlene Hirschfelder is an educator and author. Her passion for writing nonfiction traces back to her childhood in Chicago. She grew up in a house surrounded by thousands of history books and a family where reading and writing seemed just about as important as breathing and eating! Hirschfelder earned her B.A. from Brandeis University in Massachusetts and M.A.T from the University of Chicago. Her post graduate work was completed at Columbia University Teachers’ College in New York. For over 20 years, Arlene worked in New York for the Association on American Indian Affairs as the scholarship director and education consultant. She was also a consultant at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian and was a faculty member at New School for Social Research (now New School University) - both in New York.Hirschfelder has also been a workshop developer, and consultant on Native American issues and presenter at schools. She has designed curricula for museums and other institutions, including Smithsonian Institution/National Museum of the American Indian and Columbia University School ofSocial Work.Along with the many books she has written, Arlene has also been a contributor to other books and has written articles for ''Ms.'', ''Halcyon'', ''Los Angeles Times'', ''Indian Affairs'', ''Interracial Books for Children Bulletin'', and ''Shofar''. Her book contributions include: * ''Unlearning “Indian” Stereotypes, Racism and Sexism'', Resource Center for Educators* ''Ethnic Images in Toys and Games'',Pamela B. Nelson, editor, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies* ''A Place Called Home: Twenty Writing Women Remember'', edited by Mickey Pearlman, St. Martin’s Press. Hirschfelder was the guest editor for the summer 1988, issue of ''Indian Affairs'' (special issue on American Indian religious freedom). She also helped compile the book, ''Rising Voices: Writings of Young Native Americans'' with Beverly Singer and was the sole editor of ''Native Heritage: Personal Accounts by American Indians 1790 to the Present''. Today, Arlene lives in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

American Indian Stereotypes in the World of Children
ISBN: 0810836122

Scarecrow Press. 1999

The world of contemporary American infants and young children is saturated with inappropriate images of American Indians. American Indian Stereotypes in the World of Children reveals and discusses these images and cultural stereotypes through writings like Kathy Kerner's previously unpublished essay on Thanksgiving and an essay by Dr. Cornell Pewewardy on Disney's Pocahontas film. This edition incorporates new writings and recent developments, such as a chronology documenting changes associated with the mascot issue, along with information on state legislation. Other new material incorporates powerful commentary by Native American veterans, who speak to the issue of stereotyping against their people in the military. Also includes a new expanded annotated bibliography.

Happily May I Walk: American Indians and Alaska Natives Today
ISBN: 0684186241

Charles Scribner's Sons. 1986

Explores the everyday life, culture, and preservation of traditions of America's native peoples, the Indians, Inuits, and Aleuts.

Kick Butts!
ISBN: 081083913X

Scarecrow Press. 2001

Reasonably priced, heavily illustrated, and packed with information, this award-winning guide covers the history of tobacco use in America from the 1870s to the present, so that young people can understand how such a dangerous habit became so popular.

Encyclopedia of Native American Religions: An Introduction
ISBN: 0816046530

Checkmark Books. 2001

Describes traditional beliefs and worship practices, the consequences of contact with Europeans and other Americans, and the forms Native American religions take today.

The Native American Almanac: A Portrait of Native America Today
ISBN: 0028630033

Wiley. 1998

" excellent overview of past and present Native American life."
Library Journal

"Best research tool."
Lingua Franca

Wide-ranging, authoritative, and timely, here is an illuminating portrait of America's Native peoples, combining information about their history and traditions with insight into the topics that most affect their lives today. From the upheaval of first contacts to the policies of removal to contemporary issues of self-determination, this useful sourcebook provides information on all aspects of Native American life. The Native American Almanac outlines topics of particular interest, such as the history of Native--white relations, the location and status of Native American tribes, religious traditions and ceremonies, language and literature, and contemporary performers and artists, and includes dozens of useful reference features such as:

  • Maps of tribal areas, historical conflicts, and present-day reservations
  • A detailed chronology of significant events
  • Names and addresses of hundreds of organizations concerned with Native American affairs
  • A listing of Native American landmarks, museums, and cultural centers from coast to coast
  • More than 100 black-and-white photographs and drawings
    Visit us online at

Artists and Craftspeople (American Indian Lives)
ISBN: 0816029601

Facts on File. 1994

Offers profiles of a Washo basket maker, a Hopi potter, Apache sculptor, Dakota painter, Haida goldsmith, Hopi jeweler, Navajo painter, and Lakota doll artist

Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8
ISBN: 1563086948

Libraries Unlimited. 2000

Literature and educational books about Native Americans frequently present stereotypical images or depict the people as they existed hundreds of years ago. Seeking to dispel misrepresentations, this book examines Native American culture as it exists today as well as its historical background. Reproducible activities, biographies of real people, and accurate background information help educators present a realistic and diverse picture of Native Americans in the twentieth century. With each lesson, the authors include a suggested grade level, materials list, objectives, readings, activities, enrichment extensions, and a list of resources for further study. Chapters cover ground rules, homes and environment, growing up and growing old, a day in the life, communications, arts, economics, and socio-political struggles. Appendixes contain oral history guidelines, global information sources, lists of Native media, and related Web sites.

Photo Odyssey: Solomon Carvalho's Remarkable Western Adventure 1853-54
ISBN: 039589123X

Clarion Books. 2000

In 1853 explorer Colonel John Charles Frmont invited photographer and fine artist Solomon Nunes Carvalho to accompany his fifth, and final, western expedition. As the official photographer, Carvalho documented the trip from the Mississippi River to Utah with daguerreotypes--a unique and often unwieldy form of photography that produces images on large silver plates. Carvalho was a skilled photographer, but he was a novice on the trail and he battled with the hardships of the journey. He not only was challenged by the physical strain but, as an observant Jew, struggled to maintain his commitment to Judaism, even when observing strict dietary laws meant that he did not eat. Carvalho's own words, from the journal he kept and from letters he wrote home to his wife, provide a vivid firsthand view of his remarkable adventure. With many apt excerpts from his descriptions, author Arlene Hirschfelder has written a detailed account of the life of this little-known, yet widely accomplished, man. EXPEDITION ROSTER, MAP, INDEX.

Children of Native America Today
ISBN: 1570914990

Charlesbridge. 2003

Come along on a photographic journey through America's native nations as seen through the eyes of children.

CHILDREN OF NATIVE AMERICA TODAY invites readers to explore Native nations, focusing on the children who live, learn, and play in tribal communities throughout the United States. These children celebrate a proud heritage, a rich culture, and a close-knit society. They participate in cultural activities such as totem pole carving, storytelling, and dancing at a powwow, as well as enjoying video games, going to school, and other contemporary pastimes.

A map listing the geography of the many nations and culture groups, and resources for further investigation, are included.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these books is donated to innovative programs benefiting children around the world.

Children of the U.S.A.
ISBN: 1570916152

Charlesbridge. 2008

Celebrate the diversity of the United States!

There is no typical American child. Children may share similar activities and pastimes, but they represent a variety of ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Striking photographs showcase fifty-one cities -- one from each state, as well as our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. The photos and facts feature common activities and interests, as well as varied foods, languages, entertainment, sports, and other examples of daily life throughout the country.

Part of the proceeds from this book's sales will be donated to The Global Fund for Children to support community-based organizations that serve the world's most vulnerable children and youth.

A Kid's Guide to Native American History: More than 50 Activities (A Kid's Guide series)
ISBN: 1556528027

Chicago Review Press. 2009

Hands-on activities, games, and crafts introduce children to the diversity of Native American cultures and teach them about the people, experiences, and events that have helped shape America, past and present. Nine geographical areas cover a variety of communities like the Mohawk in the Northeast, Ojibway in the Midwest, Shoshone in the Great Basin, Apache in the Southwest, Yupik in Alaska, and Native Hawaiians, among others. Lives of historical and contemporary notable individuals like Chief Joseph and Maria Tallchief are featured, and the book is packed with a variety of topics like first encounters with Europeans, Indian removal, Mohawk sky walkers, and Navajo code talkers. Readers travel Native America through activities that highlight the arts, games, food, clothing, and unique celebrations, language, and life ways of various nations. Kids can make Haudensaunee corn husk dolls, play Washoe stone jacks, design Inupiat sun goggles, or create a Hawaiian Ma’o-hauhele bag. A time line, glossary, and recommendations for Web sites, books, movies, and museums round out this multicultural guide.

Tobacco (Health and Medical Issues Today)
ISBN: 0313358087

Greenwood. 2010

This book offers a comprehensive introduction to historic and contemporary efforts to regulate tobacco and reduce the staggering number of people who die from using tobacco products.

• Primary source documents include internal tobacco company studies, legal proceedings, and more

• Offers a bibliography of significant books and websites in the fields of tobacco history, medicine, and public health

The Extraordinary Book of Native American Lists
ISBN: 0810877090

Scarecrow Press. 2012

While Native Americans are perhaps the most studied people in our society, they too often remain the least understood and visible. Fictions and stereotypes predominate, obscuring substantive and fascinating facts about Native societies. The Extraordinary Book of Native American Lists works to remedy this problem by compiling fun, unique, and significant facts about Native groups into one volume, complete with references to additional online and print resources.

In this volume, readers can learn about Native figures from a diverse range of cultures and professions, including award-winning athletes, authors, filmmakers, musicians, and environmentalists. Readers are introduced to Native U.S. senators, Medal of Freedom winners, Medal of Honor recipients, Major League baseball players, and U.S. Olympians, as well as a U.S. vice president, a NASA astronaut, a National Book Award recipient, and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Other categories found in this book are:

Stereotypes and Myths
Tribal Government
Federal-Tribal Relations
State-Tribal Relations
Native Lands and Environmental Issues
Economic Development
Military Service and War
Native Languages
Science and Technology
Visual Arts
Literary and Performing Arts
Music and Dance
Print, Radio, and Television
Sports and Games
Exhibitions, Pageants, and Shows
Alaska Natives
Native Hawaiians
Urban Indians

Including further fascinating facts, this wonderful resource will be a great addition not only to tribal libraries but to public and academic libraries, individuals, and scholars as well.


  • (With others)

    Choice Outstanding Academic Book selection, 1984, for ''Guide to Research on North American Indians'', and 1994, for ''Native American Almanac''

  • Western Heritage Wrangler Award, National Cowboy Hall of Fame/Western Heritage Center, 1986, Carter G. Woodson Book Award, and National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

    citation, both 1987, and Notable Childrens Trade Book in Social Studies citation, NCSS/Childrens Book Council (CBC)

    , all for ''Happily May I Walk''

  • (with Paulette F. Molin)

    New York Public Library Outstanding Reference Book selection, 1992, for ''Encyclopedia of Native American Religions''

  • (with Beverly R. Singer)

    New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, Boston Globe Twenty-five Best in Childrens Nonfiction selection, and Notable Childrens Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, all 1992, Teachers Choice and Childrens Choice selections, both International Reading Association/CBC, and White Raven Books selection, International Youth Library (Munich, Germany)

    , all 1993, all for ''Rising Voices''

  • New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, 1995, for ''Artists and Craftspeople''
  • Wordcraft Circle Reference Book designation, 1999, for ''American Indian Stereotypes in the World of Children''
  • Voice of Youth Advocates Nonfiction Honor selection, 1999, for ''Kick Butts''
  • (with Yvonne Wakim Dennis)

    CCBC Choices selection, and Notable Book for a Global Society designation, International Reading Association, both 2003, both for ''Children of Native America Today''

  • (with others)

    Best Books selection, Bank Street College, and Gold Medal in multicultural nonfiction, Moonbeam Childrens Book Awards, both 2008, both for ''Children of the U.S.A.''

  • Silver Medal, Independent Publisher Book Awards, and Gold Medal, Moonbeam Childrens Book Awards, both 2010, both for ''A Kids Guide to Native American History''

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)