I am not a teacher or an expert in Native American culture (or language or history or…), but when I read this book it occurred to me that this might be a particularly useful story for Native American Heritage Month. The reason is that the story is about an Ojibwe boy who arrives at a community event feeling very hungry. Ojibwe traditions require allowing the elders to eat first, so Johnny (who loves to eat), must learn to sit patiently and wait his turn.
It’s a very simple story about a cultural tradition that kids can readily understand. It’s also the kind of thing that exists in many cultures, in one form or another, so it’s an easy thing to talk about.
Again, I’m not an expert, and I most certainly could be wrong about all of this, but those are my thoughts. Take them for what you will.
“He looked at all the people still waiting to eat and started to count them. “One, two, three…” Grandma tapped Johnny’s knee. “It’s Time to eat.””
–Hungry Johnny, written by Cheryl Minnema and illustrated by Wesley Ballinger