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heartdrum cynthia leitich harper imprintSoft watercolor smudges of vibrant red, turquoise, and yellow sprawl across the first pages of the children’s book Jingle Dancer, by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Head in hand, Smith’s young protagonist, Jenna, imagines her grandmother donning Native American regalia as she dances a traditional jingle dance: “Tink, tink, tink, tink, sang cone-shaped jingles sewn to Grandma Wolfe’s dress.” Inside the wisps of Jenna’s daydream, Grandma Wolfe stands tall in a red dress sewn with neat rows of silver metal cones, which hit one another to create a tinkling, rainlike sound. She’s also wearing a contestant number strung along the bottom of her gown; she’s about to participate in the women’s jingle dance, a powwow event in which dancers compete for prize money. Smith and illustrators Cornelius Van…

The post Less Than 2 Percent of Children’s Books Feature Indigenous Characters. Heartdrum Wants to Change That. appeared first on Texas Monthly.

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