Cover Image: Powwow Day

Powwow Day

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Member Reviews

Have you ever been really sick? So sick it left you weak for months afterward? I have, and so has the main character of Traci Sorell’s new book “Powwow Day”. Sorell’s young protagonist, River, has been very sick. She’s getting better, but she’s still weak. When powwow day comes, she’s sad because she’s too weak to dance. As River watches her friends and relatives dance she gradually comes to a place of hope for the future.

I enjoyed this book. For one thing, I could really relate to River’s struggle, having been in that same place of slow recovery from sickness. For another, I I loved Madelyn Goodnight’s colorful illustrations, and I appreciated the chance to learn more about powwows. There are so few books out there that teach respectfully about native culture, and this book did a very good job of summarizing about powwows in a way that’s accessible even to young children. I loved learning more about these special celebrations.

“Then the powwow begins as the emcee calls, ‘Time for Grand Entry – stand up. Gentlemen, remove your hats.’ My uncles strike a large drum together. Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam. They sing, ‘EH-yah, EH-yah, WEY-eh-yah-ah.'”

Both of the ladies who gave us this book, Traci Sorell and Madelyn Goodnight, are native themselves. Traci Sorell is Cherokee and Madelyn Goodnight is Chickasaw. The book is filled with so many little details about powwows, and there is even more information in an afterword.

I recommend “Powwow Day”. It’s a wonderful way to teach your little ones about the humanity of native people.
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This is a lovely picture book for young readers, who will relate to eight-year-old River, whether they are Native or non-Native. River loves to dance in her jingle dress at powwows, but she's still recovering from a serious illness. She's sad when she can't join her sister and friends in the dance, but even more scary is the fact she can't feel the beat of the drums. But as the dancing continues her heart begins to beat with the sound of the drum and she knows that she will dance at the next powwow.

The text by Cherokee writer Traci Sorell is simple but never talks down to readers, while the illustrations by Chickasaw artist Madelyn Goodnight are full of color and charm. Older readers will also benefit from the clear explanations at the end of the story about the history of, and etiquette for, powwows. The story is all the more poignant as the dress and dance originated during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, when a father received a vision as to how his daughter could be cured.

Thanks to Charlesbridge for a copy of the soon to be published book in exchange for an honest review. (
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Wow, wow, wow! I am always looking for indigenous picture books to add our collection. Traci Sorell never disappoints. This is one of my favorites so far. Beautiful graphics and a narrative that is both interesting and deeply empathetic. As a native person myself, I found the representation of native spirituality accurate and refreshingly nonchalant. Overall, I would highly recommend this book for children’s collections, classrooms, and parents.
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Powwow Day tells the story of a sick young girl named River who will be attending a Powwow with her family. Although River is disappointed that she is not able to participate and dance in the Powwow, she still enjoys the ceremony with her family. The story also contains information about Powwows and the significance of the drumming and dancing. The illustrations are very realistic and depict the stunning ceremonial clothing that is worn for this special event. 
There is also a section at the back of the book which contains additional information about Powwows. This is great information for a teacher and/ or caregiver to share with children as they read this beautiful story aloud. I also liked that this story is written by a Native American who has attended Powwows, even if the author is not a member of a tribe which conducts Powwows.  I appreciate learning about and sharing information concerning Native American culture. This is vitally important so that the customs and traditions are celebrated and passed down for more generations to enjoy.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an electronic copy to read and review. 

I must say the illustrations are the stars of this gorgeous picture book! The detail in the drawings of the jingle dancers' dresses and of all the regalia is stunning! I love that we get to learn about the dances at a powwow and have a visual representation to refer to. The end of the book has some great information on powwows, the Grand Entry, and other important information that may not be known to the reader. I can't wait to purchase a copy of this for my classroom library!
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A great book that shows both some of what happens at a powwow and a girl who cannot participate while recovering from an unnamed illness. A great book for developing understanding and empathy. There's also a section in the back that explains some context information about powwows for readers.
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I liked the illustrations and the education part of this story. I would be hesitant to read the chants out loud as I feel like this could come across as wrong as I am not Indigenous. I liked that the book offered information at the end to the reader to explain the different cultural components of a Powow. Something I didn't love about this book is that it never really talked about what was wrong with the main character. I felt that there was a little bit of a disconnect with the story as this seemed like it was lacking some information.
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Powwow Day is a gorgeous picture book that lives up to the standard Traci Sorrell has brought to all of her work thus far. As we follow the main character through her day, we see jingle dances, hear drums, and see community come to life. The colors are bright and lively, while creative use of spacing and text placement draws our attention to important parts of the story. I only wish that River had found to feel more of a part, rather than feeling left out due to her illness, but I appreciate how everyone affirms her and speaks hope to her future. It also acknowledges the very real feelings that young children may have when they cannot do the things they used to or do things that they see their friends doing, for any number of reasons.
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This book is perfect for young readers or to share in a classroom. I’m always looking for more books to share in my class about Native American history. I loved Rivers story and the pictures that went along with it. It will definitely captivate young children and educate them on traditional dances in a fun way.
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This book is a wonderful representation of Powwows in society. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to sharing it with my Native American family.
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A beautiful book with all of the colours and sounds of a POW Wow.  The main character takes us on a journey through a Pow Wow through her eyes.  Unfortunately, this year, she is unable to dance, but her descriptions of the drum, regalia, and dances are beautiful.  An enjoyable read that your littles at home or in the classroom will really enjoy.
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#PowwowDay is a beautiful book I got to read via @NetGalley by @tracisorell. A beautiful book that teaches us to honor those who can’t dance with us just yet. The colors and dresses are so gorgeous. I need to read more Native lit.
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I received an eARC for this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I really enjoyed this book, which is the second of Traci Sorell’s books I have read. I enjoyed this one so much more - probably because I read rather than listened to it! The information was well presented and I appreciate how Ms. Sorell adds references to her books. The art was beautiful and engaging. While I inferred that the main character has been battling cancer, no specific illness is ever mentioned, so any child who has been through a memorable illness can relate to the main character. It gives a positive, hopeful viewpoint. I am glad to know now that jingle dress dances are for healing!
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This is my fourth picture book by Traci Sorell, and she has very quickly become an author whose books I will always grab when possible. I wasn't familiar with Madelyn Goodnight's work prior to this, but the cover is gorgeous, so I was looking forward to this overall.

Powwow Day is an absolutely gorgeous book, in both art and story, about River, a young jingle dress dancer who is excited for the powwow but recovering from illness and unable to dance herself. Reading this as someone with chronic illnesses that prevent me from freely doing many of the things I love, it was so easy to connect with River and her longing to dance. The book is also a really beautiful look at powwows and it has an excellent section at the end that provides extra context for readers who haven't been to a powwow before. 

I wanted to read Powwow Day because it looked gorgeous and I know Traci Sorell's work won't let me down, and I can't say no to stories about powwows. I am white, for the sake of clarity, but I have attended a powwow, and this story really captured how beautiful both aesthetically and culturally they are. I didn't delve into the description before reading it though and was surprised to find a deeply relatable sick character at the centre of it. 

I would highly recommend it for the gorgeous art, beautiful powwow portrayal and learning opportunities, Indigenous and illness rep, and all-around overall wonderfulness.
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After Traci Sorell’s “We Are Grateful” and “We Are Still Here”, I was looking forward to her upcoming picture book “Powwow Day”. This book is a great window for me to know more about ‘Powwow’, a sacred social gathering held by many North American indigenous communities.

River, who is recovering from illness, would not be able to participate in the Powwow Day this year. A simple yet enriching story, it is a vibrant narrative about Powwow Day and the uplifting quality of community. It is important to read this book even in this part of the world, because when we hear stories about customs and traditions from the opposite end, we know that we are more alike than different.
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This beautifully illustrated book does a fantastic job of describing a tribe's culture, traditions, and spirituality as told through the eyes of a little girl whose health has prohibited her from dancing this year.  The reader views the story as she does, from the audience.  The traditions and meaning are described in easy to understand language, and the importance of learning from other cultures is celebrated in this book.

I love that there are more books featuring youth who identify as a member of an indigenous culture.  This book is a wonderful story that should be shared with all children and their families.
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Wow! Just wow! Knockout illustrations and the storytelling has a gentle touch. We know that our protagonist is ill, but the illness is never identified, though the back matter refers to Covid-19.  The story conveys the power of community to heal. The back matter also explains how the powwow is one of the inclusive traditions, where outsiders are welcome.
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I got an ARC of this book.

I am not Indigenous. My Chickasaw is better than my French, but just barely. So I really can’t express just how incredible it is to see Indigenous faces and culture in a picture book. It is something that I am incredibly excited about, because I like picture books, but imagine an Indigenous kid actually being able to see themself in a book. That is what is more important than what I think about this book.

That being said, here is my opinion of this book: I really liked it, but the art is what made me excited. I was talking to my Chickasaw partner about this book last night. They said that the art was wonderful, because the faces are not just tinted white faces, that they had Indigenous features. That isn’t something I noticed, but I feel like it is more important than anything I noticed. I noticed the colors, I noticed the outfits, I noticed the hair. I noticed things that just felt exciting. Everything felt alive and exciting. I don’t know a great deal about powwows, so the last few pages that explain the different words and the important of the celebration was really appreciated and meant that this could be used to teach kids that aren’t growing up with these celebrations.

I am going to recommend books by name that you should also read if you are looking at this one. There are other Indigenous picture books out there that seem to be a “if you know you know” situation.

47,000 Beads

Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Little Loksi

C is for Chickasaw

Chikasha Stories (there are multiple volumes, this is the first one)

There are more out there. These are just the ones I have learned about in the last year or so. Please keep looking, please keep talking about these books.
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A touching book about a little girl dealing with illness and a beautiful exploration of celebrations by the Ponca and Omaha tribes. I loved the gorgeous illustrations and information in the back!
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This was such a great book for kids. My daughter loved this one, and I enjoyed it as well. It’s always great to teach kids about other cultures, and I would love more books like this.
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