Written & Illustrated by: Violet Duncan
For ages: 3 years and up
Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, Own Voices, Lived Experience, Growing Up, Culture & Identity, Hoop Dancing, Sports, Family, Love, Native Experience.
This lovely book is all about the lived experiences of an Indigenous family, comparing their traditional Native activities with other things the family does such as dancing, taking both ballet classes and practicing hoop dancing weekly. I absolutely love the pairing of hobbies and activities like cooking, riding bikes or horses, and camping.
The beauty of this book is both the positive messaging associated with Native culture and the pairing of what some might call “contemporary” activities like camping in a nylon tent rather than a tipi. Because schools so often teach Indigenous history as if it’s just that-in the past, this is a refreshing story that shows readers who may be unfamiliar with present day Indigenous practices the way that cultures meld together to create strong and resilient humans today. Classrooms and schools need these contemporary depictions of Indigenous families living their lives just as much as they need the books that focus on Native history and the history of colonialism in the States and globally.
This book is joyful, colorful, and a wonderful addition to any bookshelf! I particularly like that real photos are the basis for the illustrations. There are stunning and brilliant Indigenous and First Nations books with beautiful illustrations, but less often I have seen books that use photographs. This is true representation showing a real family, authentically living their lives together. Own Voices to the max!
The author, Violet, was kind enough to send us this book for review, but all opinions are our own!
About the Author & Illustrator:
Violet Duncan is an author, storyteller, educator & performer, (Native American Hoop & Powwow dancer). She’s a proud member of the Plains Cree of Kehewin Cree Nation & Taino.
Violet facilitates workshops to promote spiritual wellness & cultural education across the United States, Canada & Europe.
After becoming a mother of 4, she saw a need for Native American representation in literature. Violet took it upon herself to author two children’s books; “When We Dance” & “Let’s Hoop Dance!” She is now a featured storyteller at many Festivals Nationally & Internationally.
Some of Violet’s accomplishments include holding the “Miss Indian World 2006” title & representing all Indigenous people of North America. You can also see Violet in the 2013 music video “Big Hoops” by Nelly Furtado as the Native American Fancy Dancer.