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Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story

"I was born in an earth lodge by the mouth of the Knife River, in what is now North Dakota, three years after the smallpox winter." - Buffalo Bird Woman

Born in the 1830s, Buffalo Bird Girl was a member of the Hidatsa people, a Native American community that lived in permanent villages along the Missouri River on the Great Plains. Like other girls her age, Buffalo Bird Girl learned the ways of her people through watching, listening and then doing. She helped plant crops in the spring, tended the fields through the summer - scaring off birds and other animals, as well as hungry boys! - and in autumn joined in the harvest. She also learned to prepare animal skins, dry meat and perform other household duties. Along with her chores, however, there was time for playing games with friends or training her dog. Her family also visited the nearby trading post, where all sorts of magnificent things from the white man's settlements in the East could be seen.

Interweaving the actual words and stories of Buffalo Bird Woman with his artwork and archival photographs, award-winning author and artist S.D. Nelson has woven a poignant yet vibrant story, beautifully capturing the spirit of Buffalo Bird Girl and her lost way of life. The book includes a historical timeline.

"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

"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"

Educator Information
This fascinating picture book biography tells the childhood story of Buffalo Bird Woman. 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.

Recommended Ages: 6-10

Additional Information
56 pages | 10.50" x 10.25"