Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Heartdrum. Feb. 2021. 320p. ed. by Smith, Cynthia Leitich, ed. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062869944.
Gr 3-6–Editor Smith and 16 other authors and artists collaborate in this #OwnVoices short story collection from HarperCollins’s HeartDrum imprint, which was created to “highlight the voices of Native creators.” Each story focuses on a different character and their experience of an intertribal powwow in Michigan. The stories range from solemn to silly, but each emphasizes the power of the tribal community to support and heal its members. The well-edited volume begins with welcoming and humorous tales before moving into heavier territory. Each creator provides a short biography in the back matter, which includes their tribal affiliation and other works, in addition to their acknowledgements and notes on their contributions to the book. This anthology aims to both increase Native representation in middle grade literature and promote knowledge and understanding in non-Native readers. While not every story will be equally engaging for every reader and some points of overlap might seem a bit redundant, there is still more than enough to recommend this for school and public libraries everywhere.
VERDICT All libraries should make room on their shelves for this collection of Native-voiced stories. Recommended.

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