Cover Image: Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

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Member Reviews

This book is fantastic! It is group of short stories that all connect together around on powwow that each story incorporates. It is amazing how each author wrote separate stories that all connect together so well but are also independent. While each story could be read as a stand alone they are much better together. They show many different perspectives of what it means to be a Native American and that is not one singular thing. Each story adds something to the readers understanding, One of the stories is even in the perspective of a dog, which is amazing! I think middle grades students would love and benefit from reading this book. I could see it adopted as a whole class read for middle grades. Read this book!
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I really enjoyed this collection of short stories that revolve around a large powwow that happens at the University of Michigan every year.  While each story is separate, there are brief interactions with characters and storylines from other stories as well.  I learned so much reading this book, and spent lots of time looking up videos about the various dances and regalia that were described.  What I found when I looked at the videos, is that they were very much like I had imagined based on the writing!
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Whether you've been to many powwows or none, this book will touch your heart. Kim Rogers starts things off brilliantly with a definition poem that will introduce the uninitiated and bring memories to mind for those who've had powwows as part of their lives. A powwow has so many facets and many are explored briefly in the poem, but then more thoroughly in the stories that follow.

Monique Gray Smith brought tears to my eyes right from the start. So much of the powwow experience is about connection and family, healing and belonging. She is able to show this through a lovely relationship developing between a step-parent and child. 

The individual stories have connections beyond just the fact that everyone is attending the same powwow. Within the first few stories we meet characters that will have cameos in some of the other stories. One of my favorites is Rez dog.  This dog bobs and weaves through many of the stories bringing smiles and even creating some helpful changes for folks. This critter helps demonstrate a sense of community and belonging.

There are stories that show forgiveness and healing. There are stories that let us see resilience and strength. Readers also get to see the joy of the dance and the pulse of the drum.

One of the best aspects of this book is the many perspectives. The characters are coming from many different states with different types of transportation from a wide variety of tribes and everyone is coming with their own hopes and ideas about what will happen during this weekend. No two people are having the same exact experience, but they are all connected by what happens at this event at this moment in time. Carole Lindstrom's poem at the end brings it all back to a circle explaining that we are all related.

Recommendation: This book is a delight. I recommend it for any home, school, or public library or for any place serving young people.
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Thank you to Net Galley and Heartdrum for the digital ARC of this book. 

This middle grade anthology centers around the stories and perspectives of the many different people that attend a powwow. For those of us non-native readers, we are let in to the personal lives of Native people from tribes across North America. The goal of the author/editor, Cynthia Leitich Smith, was to gather stories that bring a powwow to life on the page while also highlighting the individuals behind the dancing and celebration. Through the many stories and poems, she successfully represented the multifaceted people and diverse stories they bring. This is a great introduction to attending a powwow.
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This is a fantastic set of stories. I loved reading this book and learned so much from it. It will be a great addition to my classroom library and I know students will enjoy reading it.
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This is a collection of short stories that take place at a powwow in Ann Arbor, MI. Each story is written by a different Native American author and highlights the diversity of the different Nations. I absolutely love the idea of intersecting stories told from different perspectives and highlighting different characters so it was fun to spot some of the common threads throughout each story. This is a great intro to Native authors, cultures, and customs for young readers and folks interested in learning more. 
Please note, I have included each author’s affiliated Nation/tribe as found in the “About the Contributors” section.
   - What is a Powwow by Kim Rogers (Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) - Poem - 5
   - Fancy Dancer by Monique Gray Smith (Cree and Lakota Nations) - 5
   - Flying Together by Kim Rogers (Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) - 5
   - Warriors of Forgiveness by Tim Tingle (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) - 4.5
   - Brothers by David A. Robertson (Norway House Cree Nation) - 5
   - Rez Dog Rules by Rebecca Roanhorse (Ohkay Owingeh) - 5
   - Secrets and Surprised by Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation) - 5
   - Wendigos Don’t Dance by Art Coulson (Cherokee Nation) - 4
   - Indian Price by Eric Gansworth (Onondaga Nation) - 4
   - Senecavajo: Alan’s Story by Brian Young (Navajo Nation) - 4
   - Squash Blossom Bracelet: Kevin’s Story by Brian Young (Navajo Nation) - 4
   - Joey Reads the Sky by Dawn Quigley (Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe) - 4
   - What We Know About Glaciers by Christine Day (Upper Skagit Tribe) - 5
   - Little Fox and the Case of the Missing Regalia by Erika Wurth (Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee Nations) - 3
   - The Ballad of Maggie Wilson by Andrea L. Rogers (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) - 5
   - Bad Dog by Joseph Bruchac ( Nulhegan Abenaki citizen) - 4
   - Between the Lines by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek Nation.) - 4
   - Circles by Carole Lindstrom (Anishinaabe/Metis, enrolled member of Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe) - 
      Poem -  5
Cover illustration by Nicole Neidhart (Dine, Navajo Nation)
Overall rating: 4.25
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Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids is an absolute must have book for school and classroom libraries. I loved these short stories and how each was interconnected to the collection as a whole through the Intertribal Pow Wow setting. Outstanding storytelling throughout!
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Essential reading for any young person. What a profound and positive own voices collection of stories. Wow!
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This anthology is an excellent read! In a time when so many are leaning into their cultures, it is important to remember to learn about others and this is a great book to use in the classroom. I enjoyed the intertwining of the characters as they all gathered at big intertribal powwow and yet still described their own traditions and dancing of their own tribes. I think middle school students, no matter their background, can find a character or a story to connect to and discover that there are other who struggle with family, identity and culture.
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The story anthologies that I like the best are the ones where the stories not only share a theme, but also have some sort of common element running through it. For this book it is the Intertribal PowWow that takes place every year in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Because of the stories all basically having the same setting, you really get a sense of what it is like to be at a powwow, and how important they are to all of the characters in these stories.

While all of these stories and two poems, were captivating and wonderfully done, there were a few that really stood out to me.

Rez Dog Rules by Rebecca Roanhorse stands out because it is narrated by a rez dog named Ozzie. I really liked Ozzie and his desire to be totally free, yet understands that the humans around him are important too, and that they always help him as well. I really liked how Ozzie is seen in other stories too by other characters as they roam the powwow.

Wendigos don’t Dance by Art Coulson was also quite fun. Which is the story of Jace and his two uncles experience at the powwow. One of the uncles goes off looking for a wendigo and gets more than he bargained for.

Joey Reads the Sky by Dawn Quigley was perhaps my favorite as it had a bit of magical realism in it. Joey was a lovely character who struggles in school, but knows that perhaps his strengths lie in his ability to read the sky, which can be more important than school smarts.

All of the stories were well done and had distinctive characters that all had a love for their families and their communities. The modern setting of all of the stories was also a nice way of introducing non-natives to some of the traditions and customs of the various tribes. This is an anthology that I highly recommend to all schools and libraries.
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This collection of intertribal stories centered around a powwow in Michigan was an absolutely joyous read. Themes of family, celebration, identity, culture, and belonging interweave the 18 stories, along with cameos and a certain pup wearing an Ancestor Approved shirt. There were certainly hardships discussed, but the focus was on resiliency and the love of family. Nations represented include: Cree, Ojibwe, Choctaw, Cherokee, Navajo, Abenaki, and Haudenosaunee.
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I was very excited to pick up an ARC of this title, as it fills a large gap in contemporary Native stories. Knowing it was going to be an anthology, I was anxious to see how the various stories would layer and weave a bigger picture, which is done through a shared setting (U. of Michigan Powwow) and readers gain a better understand of powwows and the intertribal experience. Stories by a few veteran authors like Joseph Bruchac, Eric Gansworth &
Carole Lindstrom stand out as engaging and easy to read, but not all of the short stories keep the attention of the reader, or are too choppy to follow. Overall, I think this is an important text to make available to students and young readers to have representation and #ownvoices contemporary tales of adolescent experiences of Native peoples, and I'm hopeful we get more like it in the future.
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An #ownvoices collection of indigenous stories, all weaving together around the common event of a Michigan powwow. I really liked the interconnected nature of the stories, how the different authors clearly collaborated to create a layered common world. I enjoyed some stories more than others; I don’t typically read middle grade and some of the writing styles felt simplistic. But I will happily recommend this book to children and adult readers alike, as it is a beautiful project that lifts a range of native voices into the spotlight.
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Thank you for this! I'm adding diverse short stories to my syllabus this semester because Epic and Scribd, our main options for remote semester, don't have the most diverse collections. So I'll be selecting one or two from here and strongly recommending to students that they buy the whole book. Thank you!
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If you’re a teacher, this book should be in your library. Also if you’re looking to learn more about powwows this is it! All amazing stories that we don’t get to hear often. I thought it was fascinating that all the short stories were connected by the same powwow. It was interesting to see some of the stories connect characters and experiences as well. I think as well as using this book to learn about cultures students in your class don't know/have never seen, a social-emotional component could also be made for this book. SEL lessons from the same stories told by two different characters would be fascinating. Overall,  I highly recommend this book for older grades and perhaps as a read aloud for younger ones.
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This fabulous collection of short stories introduces readers to the richness of many different native cultures.  The stories will be relatable to so many children, as they focus on finding your place in your family, friends, or community.  They also open a window into the diverse world of Native American art, music, and traditional clothing.  I could see using so many of these stories in my classroom.
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Lots of information about powwow, with sensory descriptions about the dance, foods, costumes, music., feelings of participants.
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I loved this collection! Very easy and short read. Absolutely beautifully woven together. It is unfortunately hard to find stories representing Native American culture. This should be in every classroom for children to have access to diverse literature. Representation matters, and this collection is a must read. Fantastic!,
Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I cannot wait to share this collection of stories with all of my students! I loved the short stories centering around the powwow and how different characters were featured or moved through all of the stories. I felt like I was at the powwow and I felt connected to all of the characters-including the dog!
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Great to see a volume of short stories highlighting different Native authors writing for young people today. Setting it apart from other middle grade/YA collections which center around a common theme or facet of identity, all of the stories focus on attendees of the same powwow. I appreciated how the authors interwove characters and references from other stories into their own so it felt like a comprehensive experience even as they kept the individual flavors of their own stories. As always with collections such as these, there’s some variation in quality, but the wide array of different personalities and interests, backgrounds, tribes, relationships to Native culture, etc both work to keep the reader interested in discovering each new entry and act as a strong refutation of stereotypes and assumptions.
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