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Powwow Day

Powwow Day

illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

River has been very sick and cannot join in the dancing at this year's tribal powwow, but as she watches her family dance for her healing, she has faith she will dance again.
Powwow Day

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Remembering the strength that comes from who you are, who your family is, and who your community is can be healing. In addition to healing from her illness, River needs healing from the loss of being able to do the things she loves, like dance at the powwow.

Attending the powwow helps River and her family feel connected to others in their community. Talk with students about things they do and places they go where they feel connected. Is school one of those places? Have them think about a time when they felt a strong connection with someone at school, write about what happened, and reflect on what the experience meant to them.

Then have students brainstorm ideas together about what they could do to strengthen connections with those in their school community. Give them the opportunity and support to implement their ideas and help them share their strengths with others.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. What is a powwow? Have you ever been to or participated in a powwow? What did you learn about powwows from this book? What other questions do you have about powwows?
  2. Why does River feel sad about missing her part of the activities? Why is the jingle dress dance so important to her?
  3. Do you understand what River is feeling? Why are books a great way to see other people's perspectives and practice using empathy?
  4. How do River’s family and friends support her? What does this mean to River? How does your family and community show support for one another? 

Related Resources

Author Chat

Hear how Traci Sorell addresses the heavy topic of children dealing with terminal illness while weaving in the Native people's cultural elements in Powwow Day.

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