Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story

Overview


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 Girl?s routine of chores and playing with friends, and they will also be ...
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Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story (PagePerfect NOOK Book)

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Overview


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 Girl’s 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 life’s 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
STARRED REVIEWS
"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 author’s 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."
Publishers Weekly

Award
Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2013 list - Biography and Autobiography
Gelett Burgess Award - Arts & Letters category

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—In 1921, anthropologist Gilbert L. Wilson published Waheenee: An Indian Girl's Story. In it, his narrator, Buffalo Bird Woman, recounted her experiences growing up on the Great Plains of North Dakota in the traditional Hidatsa culture of the late 19th century. In this lovely book, similar in verbal and illustrative caliber to his Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story (Abrams, 2010), Nelson takes Wilson's rendering of Buffalo Bird Woman's life and focuses on her childhood in the 1830s and 1840s. A meld of full-color, acrylic paintings, soft black colored-pencil drawings, and both period and contemporary photos re-creates the life of a child on the open prairie. The Hidatsa awareness of the passing seasons, the chores, farming tasks, and hunting practices of the tribe are aligned with the annual rhythm in a prose that is at once informative and rhythmic. Historical events are related, such as the advent of the fur-trading business with its concomitant influx of white traders, the construction of Fort Berthold, wars with the Lakota, and the decimating smallpox epidemic that struck when Buffalo Bird Woman was six, carrying off her mother, brother, and one of her aunts. The tone is at once matter of fact and elegiac, as Buffalo Bird Woman finishes her narrative as an old woman, living on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. A beautiful introduction to a traditional way of life, the book contains a detailed historical afterword and a rich array of back matter. This is a lovely and graceful introduction to a way of life that persists despite cultural obstacles and the march of time.Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
Kirkus Reviews
A noted Native American artist interprets the early life of Buffalo Bird Woman, Waheenee-wea, one of the last of the Hidatsa to live according to old traditions. Using material from his subject's own reminiscences, published by an anthropologist in the early 20th century, Lakota painter and biographer Nelson describes Buffalo Bird's village childhood. Each section begins with a quote from her own story. Born around 1840, "three years after the smallpox winter," the girl grew up in Like-a-Fishhook Village high over the Missouri River in what is now North Dakota. There, for nine months of each year, she lived with her family in an earth-mound lodge. She describes helping her aunts and grandmother with traditional household and garden tasks, visiting a trading center, playing with other children and her dog, and a Lakota attack. During winter's worst weather, villagers retreated to temporary lodges in the woodlands, where they ate stored food. 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 author's note and timeline supplement this beautiful tribute. Pair with Nelson's Gift Horse (1999) for a broad vision of Plains Indian childhood. (notes, bibliography, index) (Informational picture book. 7-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419703553
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Pages: 56
  • Sales rank: 286,111
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet 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 children’s books, including Black Elk’s 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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