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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- 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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- 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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- What do the title and cover art tell you about the story?
- Who do you think this story is about?
- Why do you think so?
- Have you ever attended a powwow?
- If so, what was it like?
- If not, what do you think it would be like?
- Why do you suppose Jenna waits until last to ask her grandma for jingles?
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- Explain what a jingle does.
- Identify the characters who help Jenna prepare for the powwow.
- Describe what happens in the story in your own words.
- Retell why each character can’t dance at the powwow.
- What can you learn from the way Jenna solved her problem?
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