By Cynthia Leitich Smith
Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu
Published by Morrow Junior Books/ Harper Collins
Released on April 30th, 2000
Source- Cynthia Leitich Smith & Harper Collins
5 Stars- I Highly Recommend It
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? (quoted from Goodreads)
This is such a wonderful book for young readers. It follows young Jenna, who wants to be a Jingle Dancer, like her Grandmother Wolfe. In search of Jingles for her dress Jenna visits her Grandmother, her Great Aunt Sis, her friend Mrs. Scott and her cousin Elizabeth, all are Jingle dancers, but for various reasons won't be able to dance in the upcoming Pow Pow. Jenna is asked to dance for them and giving some of their Jingles. In order for Jenna to dance, she must attach the jingles to her dress, and with the help of her Grandmother, she's able to do that.
I really liked how the story showed various Native American women in various jobs, and the importance of the family and their involvement with helping young Jenna prepare for her first dance. I really enjoyed the insight that Cynthia gives into the Native American culture. She portrayed the importance of their relationships within the family and community, as neighbors come together to share and help one another. She provides a wonderful glossary with Native American terms, as well as her own personal notes about the beautiful culture and a brief history about the dignified jingle dancers.
Jingle Dancer is a beautifully written story that belongs in both school and home libraries. I highly recommend this story.