As a child in Oklahoma, Wilma Mankiller experienced the Cherokee practice of Gadugi, helping each other, even when times were hard for everyone. But in 1956, the federal government uprooted her family and moved them to California, wrenching them from their home, friends, and traditions. Separated from her community and everything she knew, Wilma felt utterly lost until she found refuge in the Indian Center in San Francisco. There, she worked to build and develop the local Native community and championed Native political activists. She took her two children to visit tribal communities in the state, and as she introduced them to the traditions of their heritage, she felt a longing for home.
Returning to Oklahoma with her daughters, Wilma took part in Cherokee government. Despite many obstacles, from resistance to female leadership to a life-threatening accident, Wilma's courageous dedication to serving her people led to her election as the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. As leader and advocate, she reinvigorated her constituency by empowering them to identify and solve community problems.
This beautiful addition to the Big Words series will inspire future leaders to persevere in empathy and thoughtful problem-solving, reaching beyond themselves to help those around them. Moving prose by award-winning author Doreen Rappaport is interwoven with Wilma's own words in this expertly researched biography, illustrated with warmth and vivacity by Linda Kukuk.
About the Author
Doreen Rappaport's nonfiction and historical fiction books have been acclaimed for their meticulous research and varied literary styles. She is the recipient of the Washington Post Children's Book Guild lifetime achievement award for the writing of nonfiction. Among her many award-winning biographies are Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier, a Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Orbis Pictus Honor Book, and a Jane Addams Children's Book Award winner; and Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, the Library of Virginia's Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award winner, a CCBC Best Book of the Year, and an IRA Teachers' Choice. Doreen lives in upstate New York. Visit her at www.doreenrappaport.com.
A native of rural Oklahoma with Choctaw ancestry, Linda Kukuk specializes in both scratchboard art and watercolor painting. She is a member of the Oklahoma Art Guild and has received numerous awards for her work. Her art has been featured in the International Society of Scratchboard Artists Show, as well as the Festival of Arts in Oklahoma City, the OCCC Arts Festival Oklahoma, the Downtown Edmond Art Festival, the Red Earth Festival, the Cherokee Art Market in Tulsa, the Oklahoma Art Guild National Show, and the Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest Art Show. In addition to art, Linda enjoys travel, photography, gardening, cooking, and competing in 5K races. You can visit her online at www.lindakukuk.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This beautfully illustrated book on the life of Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller is a must read for young people, especially those from Oklahoma. The book travels through Wilma’s life, from her beginning in rural Oklahoma, to her family’s move to San Francisco (through an ill-advised government program to relocate Native American’s) and return to Oklahoma. Chief Mankiller’s warmth, strength and perseverance should serve as an inspiration to young readers and adults alike.