cover image Josie Dances

Josie Dances

Denise Lajimodiere, illus. by Angela Erdrich. Minnesota Historical Society, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-68134-207-8

Two Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa citizens join forces to showcase Josie, a dark-haired, light brown–skinned Ojibwe girl hoping to dance in her first powwow. Relying on her matrilineal family to help make her debut a reality, Josie asks her mother to sew her dress and shawl; her aunt to bead her cape; her grandmother to bead her moccasins and leggings; and tribal elder Grandma Greatwalker to dream her spirit name. Inspired by memories of preparing her daughter for powwows, Lajimodiere pens a well-paced, if dialogue-heavy, tale that seamlessly interweaves and contextualizes Ojibwe language. While the visualizations of human characters have a hand-drawn feel, fine-lined watercolor art by Erdrich offers detailed close-ups of hands, beadwork, fry bread, and garb, elegantly portraying animals and nature. Closing with an impactful note (“Listen to the drum, the heartbeat of Aki. You are dancing for the ancestors and all the people you see”), this resonant modern-day Native narrative highlights the warmth of one girl’s family, the pride of traditions, and the beauty of finding a place in the world, themes as contemporary as they are ancient. Back matter includes an Ojibwe glossary. Ages 3–7. [em](May) [/em]