Jingle Dancer

Paperback edition cover by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

JINGLE DANCER by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (HarperCollins, 2000)(Heartdrum, 2021).

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, beautifully evoked in Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu’s watercolor art.

The paperback edition features new cover typography, updated text and ancillary materials, including a new author’s note.

Order JINGLE DANCER by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Purchase a hardcover edition from Birchbark Books, a Native-owned store in Minneapolis. Purchase a hardcover edition from Red Planet Books & Comics, a Native-owned store in Albuquerque. Purchase a hardcover, paperback or library binding edition from BookPeople, an independent bookstore in Austin. Purchase a hardcover or paperback edition from Barnes & Noble. Purchase a hardcover or paperback edition from Amazon.

  • 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
  • 2001 Texas Library Association 2 x 2 Reading List (two through second grade)
  • Finalist, Oklahoma Book Award (children’s/YA division)
  • Runner-up, the Western Writers Association Storyteller Award
  • 2001 CCBC Choice for 2001
  • “Debuts That Deliver” (Book Magazine)
  • Editor’s Choice, Library Talk
  • Read Across Texas Bibliography (Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
  • “Best Multicultural Children’s Books for Early Childhood Educators” (Montessori Life)
  • Suggested Title, Recommended Native Literature for Youth Reading Circles from American Experience: “We Shall Remain,” PBS, April 2009
  • Recommended Title, GREAT BOOKS FOR GIRLS by Kathleen Odean (Ballantine, 2002)
  • Listed Title, Talk Story: sharing stories, sharing culture: a joint project of the American Indian Library Association and the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association
  • Featured Title, Native American Children’s Literature Reading List (First Nations Development Institute)
  • Read In Color Recommended Reading List (Little Free Library)
Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Hardback cover by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu (HarperCollins, 2001)

“…a boon for teachers frustrated by the dearth of Native studies materials.” — Indian Country Today

“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.” — Booklist

“Watercolor paintings in bright, warm tones fill each page. In scenes where she is dancing, backgrounds of blurred figures effectively represent both the large audience and the many generations whose tradition the gathering honors. Seeing Jenna as both a modern girl in the suburban homes of her intertribal community and as one of many traditionally costumed participants at the powwow will give some readers a new view of a contemporary Native American way of life.”  — School Library Journal

“…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.” American Indians in Children’s Literature

“The illustrations gracefully complement Smith’s heartening portrait of a harmonious meshing of old and new.” — The Reading Teacher

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

“The story, set in the present day, dispels the idea that Native people no longer exist. It also demonstrates that Native ways of being are part of the lives of Native children, families, and their nations, today.”  First Nations Development Institute (2016)

April 2000 | 9780688162412; 068816241X| HarperCollins | Hardcover | PB | 32 Pages | Ages 4-up

February 2021 | 9780063018112 | Heartdrum | Paperback