The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood
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The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Virginia's coat is too small and hardly protects her from the frigid South Dakata winter. As Christmas approaches, all the children on the Sioux reservation look forward to receiving boxes full of clothing sent by congregations in the East. Virginia spots a beautiful gray fur coat but holds back tears as it is claimed by one of her classmates. Later, virginia can't believe...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Holiday House
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Dec 06, 2011 Carolynne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Malinda, Kalli Muhlhausen
Like Abigail, I grew up wearing hand-me-downs from others, so I can identify with the embarrassment of having to accept handouts from family who were better off. And like Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, I grew too fast and so can also identify with the discomfort of wearing clothes that were clearly too short. This book is movingly written and conveys very well the situation, growing up on the Rosebud Sioux reservation in South Dakota, that Sneve describes. She also describes the anomalous position...more
Those of you know read American Indians in Children's Literature know that Native critics often object when characters are shown wearing a headdress. We do so with good reason. Too many people think we all (there are over 500 federally recognized tribal nations) wear headdresses. Some of us did, and some of us do, for very specific reasons.

That's the case with THE CHRISTMAS COAT. There's a reason the boys on the cover are wearing headdresses. Do check out the book. It won the picture book award...more
Michelle Pegram
Virginia, the daughter of the Episcopal Priest of the Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, is in desperate need of a new winter coat. She and all of the other children at the reservation school are waiting anxiously for 'theast' boxes to come with clothing donations from the east. Virginia's mother reminds her that there are others who need the clothes more than she, and she must wait until all of the other children have gone through the donated clothing before having her turn. Will Virginia get h...more
The idea behind this book - the need for a new coat, but the need to make sure others who need things more get what they need - is not new, but the story is told and illustrated well. And, it can really contribute to much needed diversity.
Audience: This is a story for those who like to read about real people. It is also for those who have wanted something really bad. It is a story of hope and of doing the right thing. It would make an excellent text to teach personal narrative in writing.

Appeal: This book oozes authenticity. The character is so honest and so descriptive readers feel like they are freezing on the way to school and their hearts break when she must give her beloved coat up. It compels you to read on and cheer at the...more
Penny Peck
A girl describes one Christmas (when she was about 11 years old), on the South Dakota Rosebud Sioux Indian reservation. Her family is waiting for the clothes donation books coming from back East, because Virginia really needs a new coat. Because there is a page of text (instead of a paragraph) on most openings, this is a picture book for those older than preschool, or for those with interest in the subject. The watercolor illustrations are lovely and the narrative is interesting, it is just a li...more
The author, the daughter of an Episcopal priest and a Lakota Sioux mother, grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. In this book, set in the winter of 1945, she writes of her own experience during her 12th Christmas. She had outgrown her old winter coat, and was looking forward to the arrival of donated used clothes that came yearly from congregations in the Eastern U.S. When a box finally arrives, however, Virginia must obey the family rule of putting the needs of the rest of the con...more
The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood, by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve and illustrated by Ellen Beier, was published in 2011 by Holiday House. The text tells the story of Virginia, the daughter of an episcopal priest, who desperately wants and needs a new coat for Christmas. The source of this new coat will likely be the “Theast boxes” filled with used items sent from New England church congregations to Virginia’s reservation village in South Dakota. Virginia and her brother, Eddie,...more
Betti Napiwocki
The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood is a beautifully told story of a young girl who wants a new red coat for Christmas. Virginia lives on the Sioux Reservation in South Dakota with her family. Her father is an Episcopal priest on the reservation. Every year boxes of donated clothing are sent to the reservation for the families and children there. Because Virginia's father is the priest, his children are taught to let all others go first before them. This particular year, Virginia...more
The frigid air blew across the prairie in South Dakota as Virginia, Eddie her brother, and classmate walked to school. Virginia shivered as she pulled her mittens up and sleeves down to cover her bare wrists. Her jacket was too small. They students waited for Theast boxes, large cartons of used clothing, shoes, and other items, to arrive from New England. She spotted a shimmering gray fur coat with satiny silver lining but just knew someone else would pick it. Virginia was always the last one to...more
Michelle Kim
This story is about a young Sioux girl, Virginia. It is Christmas time and she needs a new coat. Her community receives donations every year. She hopes that there will still be donations from the coat drive but continuously gives up her coat to others who may need it more than she does. But by a turn of events she ends up with a new coat at the end that suits her perfectly. As a teacher you could use this text to show empathy, sharing, and giving. This would be a good introduction to food drives...more
Virginia was out growing her coat and needed a new one. When the donation box arrives, she sees the most beautiful fur coat and she badly wants it. However, she is the daughter of a Episcopal priest and her family always picks last from the box. A classmate picks the fur coat and Virginia holds back the tears.

This is a biographical and I think it is very relatable. I know as a kid and my parents not having much money, we often had to do without a lot of things and other people getting the stuff...more
Debra Wake
Aug 09, 2012 Debra Wake marked it as to-read
Ages - 5 and up, Christmas story, Indian girl

Appeal - this story was based on the author's childhood. Virginia's coat is too small and she is hoping for a coat in the box that one of the churches sends over. There is a coat in the box, but it is claimed by another little girl. This story illustrates the true meaning of Christmas. It would be a good class read aloud.

Award - 2012 American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner
Ms. Bell
Audience: K-3, girls and boys interested in stories about Sioux culture and experiences, readers interested in Christmas stories, readers looking to emotionally connect with characters.
Appeal: Sweet, heartwarming story accompanied by beautiful illustrations. This text along with the illustrations, authentically bring to life this story from a Sioux childhood.
List: 2012 American Indian Youth Literature Award

Audience: Students 1st-4th grade, teachers, Native Americans, children from low income families

Appeal: Quick read, underdog story, you're rooting for Virginia to get a new coat because hers doesn't fit but then someone else gets the one she wants and her spare is taken away.

Awards: 2012 American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner
Autumn Bumgarner
I loved how the photographs show children from different countries dressed in traditional clothing from each culture. The pictures matched each of the meaningful words and made the story come to life. I loved how the true meaning of Christmas comes out in this book
It was a nice trip home for me. I have always loved Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve's style. This biographical tale is beautifully illustrated by Ellen Beier. It's heartwarming and educational.
2012 American Indian Library Association picked this as the best children's book! The story is great for children of all ages! Love the illustrations too!
Beth Cronk
Straightforward picture book on Lakota minister's family on a reservation in South Dakota. Message of sharing even when one doesn't have enough.
Based on the author's memories of life on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota... longing for coat for winter.
Karen Arendt
beautiful story about sacrificing even though you don't want to, but getting what you need (and want) in the end.
Richard Guinn
Award Winner. Native American. Father as priest. Christmas.
Gino marked it as to-read
Sep 12, 2014
Olivia marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2014
Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson marked it as to-read
Jun 20, 2014
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Jun 19, 2014
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Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. She was
the daughter of an Episcopal priest and a Lakota Sioux mother. Sneve received her B.S. and M.Ed. in 1954 and 1969, respectively, from South Dakota State University. She has taught English in public school of South Dakota, and at the Flandreau Indian School in Flandreau. Her career also includes edito...more
More about Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve...
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