Strengthening Native American Communities & Economies
Discussion Guide for Jingle Dancer
Picture books are generally read aloud to a child or group of children. A best practice for reading to children is for you to read the book yourself before reading to a child or group of children. This gives you the opportunity to think about the content of the story and the knowledge of the child or children you will read to. Are there things in the story you’re unfamiliar with? Are there things the children may need to know before they hear the story read to them?
For example, near the end of the story, Jenna and her grandmother work on Jenna’s “dance regalia.” It is common to see the word “costume” used to describe the items that Native people wear, but “costume” denigrates the significance of the items. In fact, Native people use a word or words in their own language to describe the items they wear for ceremonies and dances. In English, the word “regalia” is a more appropriate word choice than “costume.” Think about items in your own family that carry significance and talk with the child about why it is important to use the right words for items.
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Photo by Sam Bond