Monday, April 3, 2023

Spring Reading 2023 She Persisted: Wilma Mankiller

The biography of the first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation has joined the titles in the She Persisted series. Author Traci Sorell traces Chief Mankiller's life from her birth in Oklahoma through her family's move to California, then her return to Mankiller Flats and her work with the tribe. Readers will learn how the family lived in Oklahoma and contrast that with the conditions in San Francisco. It may encourage children to read that someone who would grow up to lead her nation at one point lost interest in school and even ran away from home. They may also be inspired by her persistence in overcoming obstacles such as a serious car accident and several health problems. 

It is also clear that her own experiences growing up with no electricity or running water made her aware of conditions that could be improved with help from the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department. Her work there and as deputy chief, then principal chief, gave her opportunities to help the people and "the hardships they faced." Besides personal details of Wilma's life, the history of how the Cherokee came to be living in Oklahoma is explained, as well as the later Indian Relocation Act of 1956, the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, and other significant events.

As in the other books of the series, there is a list of suggestions on how readers show persistence in their own lives. A list of acknowledgments and references appear in the back matter, as well as an explanation of the seven-pointed star on the book's cover and a discussion of the various terms used "to describe the peoples how originally lived on this land and continue to do so." I especially appreciate that the book was written by an author who is also a member of the Cherokee Nation and has a personal connection to its history. Readers may also enjoy the Cherokee headings for each chapter.

P. S. Has anyone else seen the quarters with Wilma Mankiller on the reverse side? I found my first one last week and saved it. 

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