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Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Storyby S. D. (rtl) Nelson
Synopses & Reviews
This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Indian born around 1839. Through her true story, readers will learn what it was like to be part of this Native American community that lived along the Missouri River in the Dakotas, a society that depended more on agriculture for food and survival than on hunting. Children will relate to Buffalo Bird Girls routine of chores and playing with friends, and they will also be captivated by her lifestyle and the dangers that came with it.
Using as a resource the works of Gilbert L. Wilson, who met Buffalo Bird Woman and transcribed her lifes story in the early 20th century, award-winning author-illustrator S. D. Nelson has captured the spirit of Buffalo Bird Girl and her lost way of life. The book includes a historical timeline.
Praise for Buffalo Bird Girl
"The extraordinary illustration of this handsome volume begins with the endpaper maps and features acrylic paintings of the Hidatsa world reminiscent of traditional Plains Indian art. Pencil drawings and relevant, carefully labeled photographs round out the exquisite design. All the artwork both supports and adds to the text. An extensive authors note and timeline supplement this beautiful tribute."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This is a lovely and graceful introduction to a way of life that persists despite cultural obstacles and the march of time."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"Nelson's quiet, respectful tone capably balances the factual details of daily life in the Hidatsa tribe with the obvious joy and nostalgia Buffalo Bird Girl feels toward her childhood."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"As a writer, storyteller, and traditional artist of the Sioux people, his perspective is genuine and effectively portrayed. This book would be enjoyable for anyone interested in history, but would also be an effective resource in the classroom to support the curriculum.”
—Library Media Connection
"Nelson's acrylic paintings and b&w pencil drawings are intriguingly interlaced with the photographs, contrasting Native American figures in blunt profile with harvest colors and background textures that mimic dried spears of grass, leather skins, and basket weaves."
Cooperative Childrens Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - Biography and Autobiography
Gelett Burgess Award - Arts and Letters category
"Blending archival material with original prose and artwork, Nelson (Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story) crafts a first-person biography of Waheenee-wea (Buffalo Bird Woman), a member of the Hidatsa tribe that flourished near the Missouri River on the Great Plains. Photographs of the Hidatsa people tending to crops, preparing food, and dressed in traditional attire bring their daily activities and traditions into vivid relief. Nelson's acrylic paintings and b&w pencil drawings are intriguingly interlaced with the photographs, contrasting Native American figures in blunt profile with harvest colors and background textures that mimic dried spears of grass, leather skins, and basket weaves. Quotations from Buffalo Bird Woman's writings (which she recorded in collaboration with an anthropologist in 1906) appear throughout, including a lament over the loss of land and customs after her people were relocated to a reservation: 'I am an old woman now. The buffaloes and black-tail deer are gone, and our Indian ways are almost gone. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I ever lived them.' A memorable account of perseverance. Ages 6 — 10. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
S. D. Nelson is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakotas. He is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous childrens books, including Black Elks Vision, Gift Horse, Coyote Christmas, and The Star People. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. Visit him online at www.sdnelson.net.
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