Wilma's Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller
Wilma's Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller
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Series: Big Words   
Annotation: Presents a picture-book biography of Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Genre: [Biographies]
Catalog Number: #170927
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Kukuk, Linda,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-484-74718-6 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3095-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-484-74718-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3095-2
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2017056157
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Award-winning and prolific biographer Rappaport turns her attention to the indefatigable Wilma Mankiller. Told in straightforward blank verse with not a frill or fancy phrase in sight, the story begins with Mankiller's family's life in rural Oklahoma, where they were "dirt poor," and ends with her leadership as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation via a long and difficult detour. Readers are provided with minimal details about Mankiller's childhood as most of the account is of her life as an activist and community leader. Direct quotes from Mankiller's autobiography are worked seamlessly into the narrative and give it authenticity and weight. Kukuk's realistic watercolor illustrations are notable for the emotions she captures on people's faces. This picture-book biography for older readers is an appetizer that will tempt kids to find out more about Mankiller. The author's and illustrator's notes are good places to start researching, followed by the additional resources listed at the book's end. For a global thematic connection, pair with I Am Farmer (2019), by Baptiste and Miranda Paul.
Kirkus Reviews
This latest in Rappaport's Big Words series highlights Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee girl who grows up to become "the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation."The opening text and accompanying illustration immediately place readers in "rural Oklahoma" on the Mankillers' farm, where Wilma spends her early years in her "family of eleven." Although poor in material wealth, the Mankillers are "rich in love and community," and Wilma is raised with the understanding of Gadugi, the Cherokee "philosophy of helping each other." When a new government policy relocates Wilma's family into urban life in San Francisco, Wilma experiences the threat of acculturation. Yet despite that danger and other challenges during her early adult years, Wilma finds a new community at the Oakland Indian Center and creates opportunities to help other Native people until she finally returns to Oklahoma, where she goes on to accomplish her most memorable work. Rappaport has produced a thoroughly researched biography enhanced by Mankiller's own words, and though it's heavy with text, readers should find that Choctaw artist Kukuk's detailed scratchboard and watercolor illustrations provide visual balance. The combined effect gives readers a sense of intimacy. A solid resource for a classroom or school library about a phenomenal Cherokee woman that feels a bit like flipping through a family photo album. (author's note, illustrator's note, important events, pronunciation guide, resources) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (1/1/19)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Kirkus Reviews
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,994
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 502279 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q76690
Lexile: 840L
Guided Reading Level: M

This Big Words book from an award-winning author tells the courageous life story of Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

As a child in Oklahoma, Wilma Mankiller experienced the Cherokee practice of Gadugi, helping each other, even when times were hard for everyone. But in 1956, the federal government uprooted her family and moved them to California, wrenching them from their home, friends, and traditions. Separated from her community and everything she knew, Wilma felt utterly lost until she found refuge in the Indian Center in San Francisco. There, she worked to build and develop the local Native community and championed Native political activists. She took her two children to visit tribal communities in the state, and as she introduced them to the traditions of their heritage, she felt a longing for home.

Returning to Oklahoma with her daughters, Wilma took part in Cherokee government. Despite many obstacles, from resistance to female leadership to a life-threatening accident, Wilma's courageous dedication to serving her people led to her election as the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. As leader and advocate, she reinvigorated her constituency by empowering them to identify and solve community problems.

This beautiful addition to the Big Words series will inspire future leaders to persevere in empathy and thoughtful problem-solving, reaching beyond themselves to help those around them. Moving prose by award-winning author Doreen Rappaport is interwoven with Wilma's own words in this expertly researched biography, illustrated with warmth and vivacity by Linda Kukuk.

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