Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jingle Dancer” as Want to Read:
Jingle Dancer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jingle Dancer

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  702 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Tink, tink, tink, tink, sang cone-shaped jingles sewn to Grandma Wolfe's dress.

Jenna's heart beats to the brum, brum, brum, brum of the powwow drum as she daydreams about the clinking song of her grandma's jingle dancing.

Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared by generations of women in her family, and she hopes to dance at the next powwow. But she
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 5th 2000 by William Morrow
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jingle Dancer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jingle Dancer

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  702 ratings  ·  168 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Jingle Dancer
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
This book meant so much to me when I read it. Page after page resonated with who I am as a Native woman that dances (for us, dance is a form of prayer. It isn't entertainment or performance.) As a mother, it reminded me of the first time my daughter, Liz, danced for the first time. She was just barely three years old. Getting her ready was much as described by Smith in JINGLE DANCER. The family involvement is central. The family-in-present-day setting is crucial. Non-Native readers (I include bo ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa (not getting friends updates) by: Abigail A.
Oh, I just loved these watercolor illustrations, from the vibrant and joyful cover illustration on. Jenna just jumps off the page. I love her expressions, especially when she’s dancing on the cover illustration and when she’s daydreaming, and when she’s interacting with her older female relatives. The only illustrations that seemed slightly lackluster were of Jenna dancing at the end; they don’t match that cover illustration. Jenna just shines in this story.

I enjoyed this story of a young Musco
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Debbie Reese recommends, because #OwnVoices; set in present-day; names the specific nation.
But all that is icing on the cake.
The reason to read this book is because it's a beautiful story about a community, about traditions cherished and passed down with love. Lovely art, too.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Good Picture-Books with Native American (Muskogee) Characters & Settings
Jenna dreams of being a jingle dancer like her Grandma Wolfe, but where will she find the four rows of jingles she needs to make her dress "sing?" The answer comes to her as she visits the older women of her community, from Great-aunt Sis, whose legs are not as strong as they once were, to Cousin Elizabeth, whose job as an attorney keeps her so busy that she sometimes has to miss powwow.

The story of a contemporary Muskogee (Creek) girl, Jingle Dancer was Cynthia Leitich Smith's first book, and o
La Coccinelle
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
This is a sweet little story about a young girl named Jenna who wants to participate in jingle dancing. But her dress has no jingles. Using creativity, respect, and the love of her community, she comes up with a way to solve the problem and become the dancer she always wanted to be.

The note at the end offers a little more information on the background of the character portrayed in the story, and talks a bit about how the story is structured. Four is an important number in some Indigenous traditi
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Opinion: I really liked this story. It is a short, sweet story about a young girl who wants to dance at the powwow. The story does a wonderful job incorporating important details of the importance of the steps, the jingles, and the sense of family. The figurative language was beautiful. “As Moon kissed Sun good night” and that the dresses needed “to keep their voice”. The story itself was simple, but showed so many positive aspects. The women in the story were portrayed as strong, educated, and ...more
Jamie Forrest
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am always searching for good literature that supports our curriculum mandate to incorporate First Nations teachings. This book is an amazing book. The story is great on so many levels. It teaches about Powwows and the Jingle Dress dance. It alludes to some traditional games and stories that can be researched further. The illustrations are beautiful. The language used is just stunning. The story is touching too. I just really loved this book.
Ryan Dreier
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Illustrations by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

This book was about a Native American girl who needs to borrow jingles to attached to her dress so that she may dance in the pow-wow. Great illustrations depictions of Native Americans of today (you won't find any tepees, long house, or wigwams here) were great characters don't don animal hides or head dresses, traditional clothing is illustrated at the pow wow which Smith informs the reader that is a time of cultural celebration.

Very Good
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a lovely story. I loved the importance of family on every page - you can tell that the relationships portrayed in the book between Jenna and the women in her life are all loving and kind. The smiles on every page as Jenna prepares to dance, practicing, collecting jingles made me smile myself.
Brittany Dalziel
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction: I thought this book was entertaining and a nice story about how a young girl, with the help of four people who she is close to, is able to dance at the powwow. My favorite part of the book was how the author put a page at the end, explaining certain terms used in the book and describing the culture and traditions of the Muskogee nation, which the character in the story is a part of. The illustrations of the book were pretty and colorful and made the book enjoying. I also liked ...more
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-indian
Published: 2000, HarperCollins
Age: 4-10
Jenna is a modern Native American girl who sees her grandmother on a video performing a “Jingle Dance.” She wants to jingle dance too, and practices the dance. She wants to perform it at an upcoming powwow but she doesn’t have the four rows of tin jingles needed to sew onto a skirt. So, she visits a great aunt and asks to borrow a row of jingles. She only asks to borrow one row so her skirt won’t lose its voice. Then she visits a neighbor who is making Indi
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jingle Dancer tells the story of Jenna, a modern Native American girl whose dream is to jingle dance in the powwow like her Grandma Wolfe. Even though Jenna practices often, there is not enough time to order the four rows of jingles to make the dress "sing." But, when Jenna visits some of the older women in her family, they give her some of their jingles and ask her to dance for them at the powwow. In the end, Jenna is able to make her dress using these jingles and dance in the powwow.

I loved s
Katieb (MundieMoms)
This is such a wonderful book for young readers. It follows young Jenna, who wants to be a Jingle Dancer, like her Grandmother Wolfe. In search of Jingles for her dress Jenna visits her Grandmother, her Great Aunt Sis, her friend Mrs. Scott and her cousin Elizabeth, all are Jingle dancers, but for various reasons won't be able to dance in the upcoming Pow Pow. Jenna is asked to dance for them and giving some of their Jingles. In order for Jenna to dance, she must attach the jingles to her dress, ...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This is such a wonderful book for young readers. It follows young Jenna, who wants to be a Jingle Dancer, like her Grandmother Wolfe. In search of Jingles for her dress Jenna visits her Grandmother, her Great Aunt Sis, her friend Mrs. Scott and her cousin Elizabeth, all are Jingle dancers, but for various reasons won't be able to dance in the upcoming Pow Pow. Jenna is asked to dance for them and giving some of their Jingles. In order for Jenna to dance, she must attach the jingles to her dress, ...more
In this book we meet Jenna who is a member of the Muscogee Nation. We also meet her grandma, aunt and other members of her family and community. Jenna wants to be just like her grandmother, she wants to dance at the pow-wow, but she doesn't have a jingle dress - a traditional attire. Jenna seeks help in her family and the community. Soon she collects enough jingles to make a dress of her own. This book teaches us little about the Muscogee Nation, but it shows us how our families come together to ...more
It’s often a surprise to read what seems like a simple story, and after reading the back matter, I realize there is much more in the story than I understood. Young girl Jenna daydreams of the day when she can jingle-dance like her Grandma Wolfe, but Grandma says there isn’t enough time before the Powwow to order the jingles. Jenna visits various relatives to see if she might borrow one line of jingles from their own dresses, and manages to do it. Each one has a reason to give: one isn’t strong ...more
Alyssa Becker
Jingle Dancer; written by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu; Copyright 2000, 30 pg.
*Contemporary Realistic Fiction #1*

The young girl in this story, Jenna, is of the Muscogee Nation and of Ojibway descent. In her intertribal community, powwows are a tradition to be held. The members of the community put on traditional dresses with jungle on them and dance beautifully for all to see. When Jenna watches this, she wants to dance too. However, she does not ha
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-books
Genre: PB10

This was a good story about not giving up when you want something. I liked the illustrations the most. They really helped capture all the parts of the story and bring it into focus more for the readers. I had never read a story about a Powwow and hearing Jenna describe the work she puts into her dance as well as the time it takes to get a costume together was great to read. This book would make a great introduction into a lesson on other cultures for almost any school age group. I thi
This is a great book to introduce a discussion on Native American customs and traditions. Jenna, the main character in this book, wants to jingle dance in the next powwow, so she asks to borrow the jingles from many family members in order to have enough for her own dress. Jenna is able to accomplish her dream of dancing at a powwow by representing all her family members who are not able to dance. It would also be interesting to point out the language of this book because it refers to the sun an ...more
Susan Menk
Tags: multicultural, Oklahoma, Creek Nation, Native American, family pride, honor, regalia, powwow, matriarchal, tradition, heritage, jingles, Standard Source

Jenna wants do be a jingle dancer at the upcoming powwow but she doesn't have enough jingles for her dress. She asks various female members of her extended family for help, while promising to dance in their place as a family representative. Set in contemporary Oklahoma, the story emphasizes the traditions and culture of the Native Americans
Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
I got this book because I like, if possible, to have a variety of books from a variety of views for my nieces to read. A book about a Native American girl *living today* (it's so easy for young children to get the impression that Native Americans either are all dead, or are about as real as witches and ghosts, because all they ever hear about them is in the past), written by somebody who probably knows what she's talking about? I had to try it.

The story is fairly simple - a girl wants to dance,
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book, which tells of a young Muscogee/ Ojibwe girl getting help and support from her relatives and neighbors so she can participate as a jingle dancer in an upcoming powwow. The story has a lovely rhythm and cadence to it. The girl and her extended family easily participate in both traditional and modern Native American customs and practices - their heritage is clearly celebrated, but they are not romanticized and participate in modern life (e.g. watching TV, being a lawyer...). The s ...more
Gail Barge
I have heard about this book before and am so impressed by the power of the simple story. The tight-knit family is so important in this story and could be a good place to discuss the tribal bonds of Native American families. The sounds present in the story would be fun for read-aloud, we well as the images of the dancing women. The history and heritage present in this book lends itself perfectly to a truthful and honest study of Native American culture and tribes.
Jenna wants to dance at the next powwow, but first she must gather the jingles to sew to her dress. Without enough time left to order away for the materials, Jenna visits different family members and borrows some jingles from each of their dresses to make her own.

The writing is beautiful and very poetic. An author's note follows the story and discusses Jenna's tribal affiliation in more detail. Watercolor illustrations. Grades PreK-2+.
Every classroom and school library should have a copy of this book. It's important that children (and adults) see Native Americans thriving in a modern setting. ...more
Ben Truong
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jingle Dancer is a children's picture book written by Cynthia Leitich Smith and illustrated by the team of Ying-Hwa Hu and Cornelius Van Wright, which stars Jenna, who is determined to dance at an upcoming powwow, despite not having a dress with jingles.

As the Google Doodle for the day (15 June 2019), at least around my part of the world, is celebrating the Jingle Dance. So I thought this book would be apropos to read for today.

Smith's text is rather simplistic and straightforward. It is a wonde
Virginia Duran
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to learn more about Native American culture and traditions. This story is about a young girl who wants to learn to dance the Powwow like her grandmother and the other women in her family. She learns the moves but does not hear the jingle. She needs 4 rows of jingles for her dress to “sing”, but where will she find them? After a visit her great aunt, she finds her solution! I enjoyed reading the author's notes to learn more about the importance of the number 4.

I would recomm
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall, I enjoyed this. I like that the book shows the importance of different female family members/community members in the main characters' life, as well as the fact that it follows the cardinal directions and incorporates the meaning of four. It also has a poignant meaning that resonated with me about how we dance (more generally live) not only for ourselves, but for, and empowered by our family, friends, community and ancestors. ...more
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A nicely illustrated story about a small girl who watches a videotape of her grandmother dancing at a pow-wow and wants to dance just like her! She has a chance and goes to collect jingle bells from each of her close loved ones and thinks about them when she finally dances. A very touching story!
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jingle Dancer, beautifully illustrated with watercolors, is the story of a young Native American girl, Jenna, who wants to take part in a jingle dance at the next powwow. Jenna lives and represents a more modern aspect of her culture, but she must borrow the jingles for her dress from family and neighbors, which to me represents her leaning into a more traditional aspect of her culture and community, especially her Grandmother.
Themes of Native American culture are authentically woven into the s
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bowwow Powwow : Bagosenjige-niimi'idim
  • When We Were Alone
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
  • Sweetest Kulu
  • You Hold Me Up
  • Your Name Is a Song
  • My Heart Fills With Happiness
  • Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
  • First Laugh--Welcome, Baby!
  • Black Is a Rainbow Color
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
  • Wild Berries
  • We Are Water Protectors
  • The Water Princess
  • Carmela Full of Wishes
  • All Because You Matter
  • My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World
  • Under My Hijab
See similar books…
Cynthia Leitich Smith (born 1967) is a New York Times best-selling author of fiction for children and young adults. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, she writes fiction for children centered on the lives of modern-day American Indians. She also writes picture books and YA gothic fantasies. She hosts a website for Children's Literature Resources.

Smith, a graduate of the University of Kansas an

News & Interviews

  Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team...
15 likes · 2 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »