Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction Anthology
Representation: Indigenous American, Indigenous Canadian, Black Indigenous, Two-Spirit
Themes: Belonging, Family, Connection, Friendship, Grace, Loss
A collection of intersecting stories and poems set at a powwow that bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.
In a high school gym full of color and song, Native families from Nations within the borders of the U.S. and Canada dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. They are the heroes of their own stories. - Editor's website
I don't read Middle Grade books very often but I'm so glad I read this beautiful anthology. This book manages to be a warm reflection for Indigenous folx and educational for non natives at the same time, thanks to the glossary at the end of the book. It includes terms from the following: Cree, Choctaw, Ojibwe, Cherokee, Tuscarora/Haudenosaunee, Navajo, and Abenaki. This allows for the authors to showcase the various tribal nations differences and similarities. Each story has a different experience and smashes the old stereotypes by including mothers in the military, indigenous kids learning to embrace their culture for the first time, connecting with the ancestors and family, and so much more. It's also wonderful to see Black Indigenous and Two-Spirit representation in this mainstream book! Black Indigenous folx often face skepticism at their claims of tribal enrollment, etc.
My favorite stories were "Warriors of Forgiveness" by Tim Tingle, "Between the Lines" by Cynthia Leitich Smith, and "The Ballad of Maggie Wilson" by Andrea L. Rogers.
This is a beautiful book for anyone and everyone!