Why We Dance A Story of Hope and Healing

Why We Dance

A Story of Hope and Healing

  • ISBN: 9781419756672
  • Publication Date: February 6, 2024


Price: $18.99

From Indigenous creative team Deidre Havrelock and Aly McKnight comes a powerful and exuberant story about the heritage, joy, and healing power of the Jingle Dress Dance—a perfect read-aloud picture book.

It’s a special day—the day of the Jingle Dress Dance! Before the big powwow, there’s a lot to do: getting dressed, braiding hair, packing lunches, and practicing bounce-steps.

But one young girl gets butterflies in her stomach thinking about performing in front of her whole community. When the drumbeats begin, though, her family soothes her nerves and reminds her why she dances.

Emerging historically in response to the global influenza pandemic of 1918–19, the Jingle Dress Dance is a ceremonial dance of healing and prayer that still thrives today in many Indigenous and First Nations communities across North America.

Lyrically and rhythmically written with lush, full-color illustrations, Why We Dance is a joyous celebration of a proud Indigenous tradition that inspires hope, resilience, and unity.


"A powerful story that will have hearts beating in time with the pounding drums and dancers’ bounce-steps."

"A moving portrayal of how Jingle Dress dancers “dance for those who can’t.”"
—Horn Book

"The subtlety of the text is beautifully complemented with watercolor illustrations that depict a close, strong, intergenerational community steeped in the importance of valuing tradition even while tradition evolves with time. Why We Dance should be part of all readers’ repertoires."

"The specifics and cultural context of the Jingle Dress are left to the author’s note, allowing the text to focus fully on the emotion of the day, from the girls’ excitement and nervousness to the entire community’s love of and devotion to a tradition that honors elders and ancestors while growing contemporarily."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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