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The Children's Bookshelf: Powwow Day - June 13, 2022


POWWOW DAY written by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight gracefully rolls two stories together. One is about an energetic, beautiful, and powerful Powwow. The other is about a little girl by the name of River who is overcoming a serious health issue and struggles to enjoy the Powwow. She does not even have the energy to dance the jingle dance.

The story is told in the first person through the eyes of River as she witnesses the Powwow with all its beautiful parts from the Grand Entry to the elder’s prayer, the grass dancers, and River’s favorite, the jingle dancers. “They dance for the Creator, the ancestors, their families and everyone’s health including mine,” says River.

River’s lack of energy is gently caught in the illustrations throughout the book as are her support systems of family and friends. But, when River finally feels the glorious call of the drum she knows she will dance again!

The back material is well put together with useful information about the Powwow, the Arena, the Emcee, the Grand Entry, the Host Drums and the lively Jingle Dance with tiny bells dangling from the dress of each dancer.

POWWOW DAY is written by Traci Sorell, a member of the Cherokee Nation and illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight, a member of the Chickasaw Nation. Children 5-8 years of age will enjoy learning all this book has to offer (Charlesbridge, 2022).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for POWWOW DAY

Older readers please find the answers to these questions in the two pages of back materials: What four things are celebrated during a Powwow? How does the Arena become a sacred place during the Powwow? Who explains to the audience how to behave at a Powwow?

Who maintains order in the circle at a Powwow? Who are the Head Man and the Head Woman? What is the positioning of the different flags as they enter the area? Which dance in this book is considered a prayer for healing?

Younger readers please find the following items embedded in either the front cover or the back cover of this beautifully illustrated book: a can of raffle tickets, an orange flag, a drum, a feather fan, rows of cones clinking, a United States of America flag, an elder, a plate of food, a child being carried and River herself.

What picture is your favorite? Why? If you could be in this story, what part would you like to play? Why? Draw a picture of yourself as that character---be sure to include all of the details such as your facial expression, body shape, color of your clothes and your sense of being part of something exciting and beautiful.