SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

  •     An Ojibwe girl practices her dance steps, gets help from her family, and is inspired by the soaring flight of Migizi, the eagle, as she prepares for her first powwow. Josie dreams of dancing at next summer’s powwow. But first she needs many special things: a dress, a shawl, a cape, leggings, moccasins, and, perhaps most important of all, her spirit name. To gather all these essential pieces, she calls on her mom, her aunty, her kookum, and Grandma Greatwalker. They have the skills to prepare Josie for her powwow debut. As the months go by, Josie practices her dance steps while Mom stitches, Aunty and Kookum bead, and Grandma Greatwalker dreams Josie’s spirit name. Josie is nervous about her performance in the arena and about all the pieces falling into place, but she knows her family is there to support her. The powwow circle is a welcoming space, and dancers and spectators alike celebrate Josie’s first dance. When she receives her name, she knows it’s just right. Wrapped in the love of her community, Josie dances to honor her ancestors. In this Ojibwe girl’s coming-of-age story, Denise Lajimodiere highlights her own daughter’s experience at powwow. Elegant artwork by Angela Erdrich features not only Josie and her family but also the animals and seasons and heartbeat of Aki, Mother Earth, and the traditions that link Josie to generations past and yet to come. Denise Lajimodiere is a retired associate professor of educational leadership at North Dakota State University living in a cozy cottage by a lake on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Fine artist Angela Erdrich is a pediatrician practicing in the Twin Cities. Both are citizens of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Related Videos: Native American Artist-in-Residence: Denise Lajimodiere Artist in the Gallery: A Conversation with Denise Lajimodiere Available May 2021 from Minnesota Historical Society Press $16.95 hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-68134-207-8  32 pages, 10 x 10 inches, Fully Illustrated, Glossary, Ages 3-7
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