Jingle Dancer

SKU: 9780688162412

Cynthia Leitich Smith
Grade Levels:
Kindergarten, One, Two, Three, Four, Five
Creek, Ojibwe, Woodland
Book Type:
Harper Collins Canada
Copyright Date:

Sale price$24.99


Jingle Dancer is a wonderful picture book by noted children's author Cynthia Leitich Smith. The story is told about a Muscogee Creek/Ojibway girl who longs to dance at the upcoming community powwow. Jenna is a thoroughly modern girl who lives in suburbia and learns to dance the jingle dress dance by watching a VCR tape of her grandmother dancing. Time is limited and Jenna and her grandmother have to improvise in order to complete Jenna's first jingle dress. The key elements are the tin cones that make the soft tinkling sound as the dancer bounce-steps in the powwow arena. Mail ordering the cones are not an option so Jenna successfully problem-solves by going to four elders in her community for help. Jenna approaches her great aunt who lends her a row of tin cones because she can no longer dance. Jenna promises that she will dance for her aunt. Other women in Jenna's extended family also add a row of jingle cones so Jenna and grandmother finish the dress in time for the powwow. The author has captured the spiritual essence of powwows through the eyes of the first-time dancer who dances on behalf of those who for a variety of reasons cannot attend. The jingle dress regalia is finished in time for Jenna to experience first-hand the joy of dancing with others at the powwow. Nice touches include reference to a cousin whose law career prevents her from dancing the jingle dance. The watercolour illustrations portray the warmth and love within a Native American family living in an urban centre. Background information about powwows, the jingle dance, and powwow regalia is provided in the author's note. This story captures themes such as sharing, respect, learning by observation, problem-solving, and intergenerational caring in an illustrated book that will appeal to students from kindergarten to grade 5. Lexile: 710L. Teacher Guide: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/cyn_books_forkids/jingle/guide_to_jingle.html

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