American Indians •  Children •  Southwest and Bilingual

$19.95 paperback

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The Hero Twins: A Navajo-English Story of the Monster Slayers

Jim Kristofic
Illustrated by Nolan Karras James

Winner of the 2016 Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural and International Books

The Hero Twins tells the story of two brothers born to Changing Woman and trained by the Holy People to save their people from the naayéé’, a race of monsters. But the naayéé’ can’t be beaten alone. Family and friends and wise mentors must lead any warrior down the good path toward victory. Colorful illustrations show the action as the twins seek out their father to receive the weapons they need to face the greatest monster of them all: Yé’iitsoh.

Told in Navajo, the Diné language, and English, this story exists in many versions, and all demonstrate the importance of thinking, patience, persistence, bravery, and reverence. These teachings still help the Diné—and everyone—find the harmony of a balanced and braver life.


Jim Kristofic grew up on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona and has worked on and off the “Rez” for more than ten years as a river guide, park ranger, journalist, ranch hand, and oral historian. He’s written for the Navajo Times, Arizona Highways, High Country News, and Native Peoples Magazine. His memoir, Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life, was a finalist for the 2012 Spur Award and was named a 2011 Southwest Book of the Year.

Nolan Karras James is an artist, songwriter, powwow dancer, guitarist, and former rodeo cowboy from Piñon, Arizona. His father is Many Goats Clan (Tł’izi Lání) and his mother is Apache (Chíshí).


“This colorfully illustrated tale of two brothers searching for their true father and facing down a fearsome monster teaches how obstacles can be overcome through patience, cooperation, and bravery.”


Cowboys & Indians

“James’s vivid pencils combine elements of geometric Navajo symbolism and iconography with a superheroic comic-book sensibility brought to both the brothers and the terrifying creatures they battle.”


Publishers Weekly

“A thrillingly melodramatic tale kept close to its Navajo roots.”


Kirkus Reviews

“An excellent resource for those learning Navajo.”


Skipping Stones

6.75 x 10.25 in. 52 pages 20 color illustrations