FICTION
Wilma's Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller
illus. by Linda Kukuk. 48p. (Big Words). bibliog. chron. notes. websites. Disney-Hyperion. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484747186.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 1–5—Rappaport's latest recounts the life of Wilma Mankiller. She grew up "dirt poor" in Oklahoma, and her family survived by following Gadugi, the philosophy of helping one another, trading for the necessities to live. She and her family were uprooted to San Francisco as a result of the Relocation Act. Kukuk's illustrations draw parallels between Mankiller's experiences and those of her Cherokee ancestors, who were forced to walk the Trail of Tears. Feeling alone and disconnected from her Native roots, she found belonging at the Indian Center in San Francisco. Mankiller took part in the occupation of Alcatraz Island, which set her on the path of activism, and eventually returned to Oklahoma, where she learned to help her people by listening first and working together to solve problems. She became the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation, not without resistance. Her legacy lives on through Native people as a strong leader who believed collaboration was the only way to govern. In an author's note, Rappaport discusses meeting with Mankiller's husband and friends; also included are a time line, a pronunciation guide, a bibliography, and source notes. Kukuk's artwork brings Mankiller to life, from her childhood days to her sunset.
VERDICT An important read for all libraries, this work highlights a strong woman who left a vital message for future leaders.

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