Review of Grandma’s Tipi: A Present-Day Lakota Story

Grandma’s Tipi: A Present-Day Lakota Story Grandma’s Tipi: A Present-Day Lakota Story
by S. D. Nelson; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    40 pp.
5/23    9781419731921    $18.99
e-book ed.  9798887070599    $15.54

Nelson (Sitting Bull, rev. 11/15; Red Cloud, rev. 7/17) shares Indigenous traditions and practices involving tipis that continue in modern times. Young Clara comes to stay with her unci (­grandmother) and cousin ­Juniper, who live on the Standing Rock Sioux ­Reservation. Over the course of an ­idyllic summer, the two girls learn about their history, particularly about the ­family tipi, a precious object that has been passed down through the ­generations and has profound significance for their family. The girls have lunch in the tipi; their unci braids their hair in the tipi; they even sleep in it overnight. Their unci adds the girls to the family’s generational story by asking each granddaughter about her aspirations (Juniper wants to be a basketball player; Clara, a pilot) and then making their spirit ­paintings on the outside of the tipi. Nelson’s vibrant illustrations are stylized to reflect Lakota ledger drawings. He effortlessly blends this art style into his realistic, authentic depictions of modern Lakota life. An extensive author’s note provides more information about tipis from prehistory to the present and ­information about Nelson’s own family. Also appended are a photo of a Lakota beaded dress (circa 1900) and tipis in use during the Standing Rock protest.

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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