Jingle Dancer

JINGLE DANCER by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (HarperCollins, 2000)(Heartdrum, 2021). Ages 4-up. Also published by HarperCollins Canada.

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?

A warm family story,

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Jingle Dancer: Educator Guide


  • What is a powwow?
  • What is a tradition? Do you have traditions in your families? What are they? (NonNative educators: you may not always know if a Native child is in your discussion group. Be sensitive to their perspective. If you do know of one, please don’t put them on the spot as a “cultural expert.”

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Jingle Dancer: Bloom’s Multiple Intelligence Projects


  • Great-aunt Sis tells Jenna the Story of Bat. Is there a story you love to hear told? What is it? If it’s a story that’s culturally permissible to share, retell the story to one of your classmates.
  • “Personification” putting human qualities onto something that is not human. In the story, the author uses personification to describe the times of day.

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