Friday, July 11, 2008

Cynthia Leitich Smith's JINGLE DANCER going into reprint

Something to celebrate on this sunny (but humid) day! The trade and library editions of Cynthia Leitich Smith's Jingle Dancer are going into reprint. Books only stay in print if people buy them. If you bought a copy, cool. If you haven't gotten one yet, do it today! If you're a teacher in early elementary school, read this book aloud early in the year. With this book, your students will learn a lot about a present-day Native child named Jenna.

Jenna is Muscogee (Creek) and also Ojibway. She lives in Oklahoma. She wants to dance at the upcoming powwow. With the help of her grandma, her auntie, a neighbor, and her cousin, she'll be ready.

My experience reading Cyn's book today was different than all the other times I've read it. Usually, I think of my daughter as Jenna. Reading the book reminds me of the times when my family helped Liz get ready to dance at Nambe. This time, though, I paused when I got to the page where Jenna visits her cousin, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is a lawyer.

My own Liz is in Santa Fe, at this very moment, working for the lawyer who works with Nambe. My Liz is considering law school. For the first time, in the many times that I've read this wonderful book, I see Liz as Elizabeth, not Jenna. And while Liz is at Nambe, she's been busy, sewing traditional dresses. She's making one for her three-year-old cousin who has not yet danced at Nambe.

Cyn's book gives new meaning to me today, and that makes me especially happy to know others can buy it and share it.

Visit Cyn's site for a curriculum guide for Jingle Dancer.

Jingle Dancer is available from Oyate.

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