Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Click to view larger version

9780688162412 | 068816241X

JINGLE DANCER, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu (HarperCollins, 2000)

Jenna, a contemporary Muscogee (Creek) girl in Oklahoma, wants to honor a family tradition by jingle dancing at the next powwow. But where will she find enough jingles for her dress? An unusual, warm family story, beautifully evoked in Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu's watercolor art.


Jenna hopes to dance at the next powwow... Awards include: Named to the Reading Is Fundamental 2011 Multicultural Books List; Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies and a Selector's Choice for 2001; Named to the 2001 2 x 2 Reading List of twenty books recommended for children ages two through second grade by the Texas Library Association; One of five finalists for the children's/YA division of the Oklahoma Book Award; Runner-up for the Storyteller Award from the Western Writers Association; Named a CCBC Choice for 2001; Debuts That Deliver (Book Magazine); Editor's Choice, Library Talk); featured in GREAT BOOKS ABOUT THINGS KIDS LOVE by Kathleen Odean; 2002 Read Across Texas Bibliography (Texas State Library and Archives Commission).

reviews and more

Indian Country Today: "…a boon for teachers frustrated by the dearth of Native studies materials."

Matt Thompson from Savage Minds: "The art work in JINGLE DANCER is stunning. Bold and rich watercolor over the faintest charcoal lines. I have not seen finer watercolor in a children's book."

Book Reviews and More: "This book is a wonderful story of culture, tradition, love and family."

Mundie Kids: "Jingle Dancer is a beautifully written story that belongs in both school and home libraries. I highly recommend this story. (Five stars.)"

Amy Bowllan from Bowllan's Blog at School Library Journal: "This is Bowllan’s top pick for your home, or library collection."

The Reading Teacher: "The illustrations gracefully complement Smith'’s heartening portrait of a harmonious meshing of old and new."

Cornelius Van Wright: an article and interview from Don Tate in conjunction with 28 Days Later 2009: A Black History Month Celebration of Children's Literature from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: "We believe the editors we worked with saw that part of our process was to really do our homework investigating the culture we were illustrating. We would always find friends and neighbors we knew (or got to know) from the culture we were illustrating to find out or confirm whatever questions we may have had about any given topic, clothing or custom dealing with that culture."

ALA/OLOS Subcommittee for Library Services to American Indian People/American Indian Library Association (2007): "Engaging colors and flowing words make this book a joy to read over and over."

Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature: "…a treasure, one that I love to share with friends, colleagues, students, and others who look for the best children’s books about American Indians."

Booklist: "The way Jenna gathers her jingles (borrowing enough to make a row, but not so many that the lender's dress will 'lose its voice'), and her promise to dance for the women who cannot dance for themselves illustrate the importance of family and community ties."

School Library Journal: “This picture book will not only satisfy a need for materials on Native American customs, but will also be a welcome addition to stories about traditions passed down by the women of a culture.”

Publishers Weekly: "Their easy integration of Native and standard furnishings and clothing gracefully complement Smith's heartening portrait..."

The Story Bag: A National Storytelling Newsletter (about JINGLE DANCER): "A gentle story of love, tradition, and working for what is important to you."

JINGLE DANCER from Cynsations. A look back at the story behind the story.

An Interview With Children's Book Illustrators Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu from CYALR. Van Wright and Hu are the illustrators of JINGLE DANCER.

April 2000 | 9780688162412; 068816241X| HarperCollins | Hardcover | PB | 144 Pages | Ages 4-up