we’re having another book party! I’m excited to introduce you to JINGLE DANCER (who am I kidding? You know about it already!) and to celebrate its tenth year anniversary with you.
Jingle Dancer is a picture book written by author extraordinaire Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, and published in April 2000 by Morrow Junior Books (links to books from same publisher), a division of HarperCollins Publishers.
Jingle Dancer is special on many levels, which is why I like the book so much.
First its content. On the top of your head, how many picture books with a Native American character could you name? And how many show Black Indians? 😀 => Me loving the diversity within. The story is a celebration of one’s cultural heritage in modern days, a culture that is not necessarily “mainstream” yet is essential to America’s diverse and complex identity.
The story takes us behind the scene of a little girl prepping for Powwow, from clothing to learning dance steps. I enjoyed how all these elements were integrated in her daily life.
What I also delighted in was the depiction of the love and relationship between three generations: The grand-mother, the aunt and the little girl, Jenna. We are used in picture books to seeing a focus on either one, i.e grand-parents & kid, parent(s) & kid, but not all at once.
Last but not least, the illustrations add to the richness of the story. If I were to read Jingle Dancer with kids, I would have them look at the images and tell me the story. Only after would I read the text with them. I would see if they notice some the details that went into it, not only how the colors complement the story, but also the elements portrayed (clothes, food, jewels, dream catcher, etc…) and the body language.
If you haven’t read Jingle Dancer‘s yet, I hope that you will check it out at your local library or better yet, buy it to expand the cultural knowledge of the kids in your life.
Jingle Dancer also happens to be bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith first book! In honor of her hard work, her continuous contribution to cultural diversity in children’s literature and the inspiration she is to fellow writers and to readers, a copy of Jingle Dancer will be donated to a school of your choice.
Readers of the blog (or not, just let yourself known) also have the opportunity to win a copy: simply email me at nathalie(dot)mvondo (at) yahoo(dot)com, and write JINGLE DANCER in the subject line. You will be entered in a drawing.
The recipients (reader and school) of the giveaway will be announced on Friday May 28, 2010.
To learn more about Jingle Dancer‘s and Cynthia’s road to publication, please read her conversation with the illustrators and her editor on her blog Cynsations!
To learn more about the Muskogee Nation -Jenna’s tribe, for resources to engage in a lively conversation with children (questions, music, teaching guides, the illustrators interview…) and to try at home the delicious bread recipe, check Jingle Dancer’s curriculum guide.
As usual, thank you for your passion for multicultural books; You rock!
Congratulations to Cynthia Leitich Smith, Cornelius Van Wright and Yung-Hwa Hu for this milestone.
Disclaimer:Thank you to Morrow Junior Books for graciously sending a copy of Jingle Dancer.
Update May 21, 2010 @ 2:14 AM to add Jingle Dancer’s curriculum guide.