Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.
Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).
They are the heroes of their own stories.
Featuring stories and poems by:
David A. Robertson
Andrea L. Rogers
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Monique Gray Smith
Erika T. Wurth
In partnership with We Need Diverse Books
In a letter to reviewers, editor Smith (enrolled Muscogee Creek) describes this anthology as a "sampling of the many rising Indigenous voices who are changing children's literature for the better." Using the framework of an intertribal powwow, 17 Indigenous authors craft stories that explore themes such as ethnic identity and ancestry. The rhythmic "What Is a Powwow?" by Kim Rogers (Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) first establishes the event as one "where our hearts beat as one/ to the thump of the drum." In enrolled Onondaga author Eric Gans-worth's thought-provoking "Indian Price," two cousins in different living situations connect for the first time. Family is also central to the inspiring "Secrets and Surprises" by Traci Sorell (Cherokee), which celebrates how Native cultures can support others an idea threaded throughout. The most engaging entries detail aspects of Native culture alongside universal themes: sisters learn to navigate a changing relationship in "What We Know About Glaciers" by Christine Day (Upper Skagit), while two stories by Brian Young (enrolled Navajo) showcase the same events from the eyes of two frenemies. It's a wonderful introduction to the included authors' work and a persuasive encouragement to seek out more Indi-genous stories. Ages 8 12. \n