English, Michif & Ojibwe
Dawn Quigley & Tara Audibert
I wish that early chapter books were like this when I was young. Jo Jo Makoons is spunky, self-assured, and ready to tell everyone that she has it all figured out. Jo Jo knoooows she needs more friends (her ultimate BFF is a cat named Mimi who won’t even talk back) and is working hard on being friendly with everyone.
I love how Jo Jo takes the world head on in earnestness and with a zest for life and love of her Ojibwe culture. While the reservation Jo Jo lives on is fictitious, the author has a note in the back about the one that she herself lives on and additional information about where Ojibwe reservations are located on Turtle Island. The illustrations are fun and cartoony, with Jo Jo’s unmistakable “bear hair” that her beloved Kokum does for her as an ode to her name.
I’m really excited to see where this series goes! This book was kindly sent by Harper Kids, but all opinions are my own!
Dawn Quigley, Ph.D. and citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, ND, is an assistant professor at a Midwest university Education Department. She taught English and reading for 18+ years in the K-12 schools along with being an Indian Education program co-director. In addition to her debut coming-of-age Young Adult novel, Apple in the Middle (NDSU Press), “Joey Reads the Sky” in Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, the chapter book series Jo Jo Makoons: The Used to Be Best Friend (book #1), and Native American Heroes (Scholastic Books). Dawn has over 30 published articles, essays and poems. She lives in Minnesota with her family.
TARA AUDIBERT is a Wolatoqiyik artist, film maker, and illustrator with 20 years’ experience in animation, comics, and fine art. Tara aspires to combine traditional First Nations art and storytelling with contemporary design and digital mediums. She runs Moxy Fox Studio and her first independent animated film The Importance of Dreaming, was released in 2017. She is a founder of the Ni’gweg Collective and the app “NITAP: Legends of the First Nations.”