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Indian Shoes


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About the Author

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the bestselling, acclaimed author of books for all ages, including Rain Is Not My Indian Name, Indian Shoes, Jingle Dancer, and Hearts Unbroken, which won the American Indian Library Association's Youth Literature Award; she is also the anthologist of Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids. Most recently, she was named the 2021 NSK Neustadt Laureate. Cynthia is the author-curator of Heartdrum, a Native-focused imprint at HarperCollins Children's Books, and serves as the Katherine Paterson Inaugural Endowed Chair on the faculty of the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and lives in Austin, Texas. You can visit Cynthia online at www.cynthialeitichsmith.com.


Gr 3-5-Smith adds her voice to the precious few authors portraying realistic contemporary life for Indian children. Although she tells little of his background, the author uses six vignette chapters to introduce Ray, an affable mixed-blood Cherokee-Seminole boy living in Chicago with his Grampa Halfmoon. With humor, compassion, and ingenuity, Ray trades his own high-tops for some old-time Seminole moccasins for his grandfather, overcomes wardrobe trouble to serve as ring bearer in a family friend's wedding, and harbors a houseful of neighbors' pets during a winter power outage. He wins third place in a local art contest, inspires team spirit for his baseball team with a unique and colorful haircut, and enjoys the quiet splendor of a predawn fishing trip with his grandfather during a visit with relatives in Oklahoma. There are no mystical nature spirits or cathartic history lessons, only the everyday challenges common to any contemporary kid, as experienced by an Indian boy who is firmly grounded in his own family's heritage. With its unadorned portrayal of urban Indian life, Shoes is a good book for any elementary-aged reluctant reader, and a necessity for indigenous children everywhere.-Sean George, St. Charles Parish Library, Luling, LA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"A very pleasing first-chapter book from its funny and tender opening salvo to its heartwarming closer."--Kirkus Reviews
"Indian Shoes is about belonging to family and community, helping neighbors, and sometimes feeling different but most times knowing who you are in the world."--Multicultural Review
"Shoes is a good book for any elementary-aged reluctant reader, and a necessity for indigenous children everywhere."--School Library Journal

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