Taku Wadaka He? (What Do You See?)

Bibliographic Information: Zacharias, J., & Smith, S. (2008). Taku wadaka he? (What do you see?). Edina, MN: Beavers Pond Press.

Brief Annotation: Presented in Dakota and English, Taku Wadaka He? explores the significance of the paintings on a Dakota tipi through a conversation between a Dakota girl and her grandfather.

Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Grade Level: PreK-3rd

Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy reading about Dakota language and culture; readers who speak Dakota; readers who have a close relationship with a grandparent

Rating/Response: 5; The combination of simple text with stunning illustrations makes this book a gem. Incorporating Native American culture into the curriculum is an important part of the Minnesota State Standards, which can be difficult to do due to a lack of materials. This book is an excellent addition to a classroom’s library or to a lesson plan. Every page is presented in Dakota and English. The illustrations pull out and elaborate one scene from a tipi as the grandfather in the story asks his granddaughter, “Taku wadaka he?” (What do you see?) and she answers him. Included at the beginning is a glossary of the Dakota words included in the text, along with English translations and phonetic spelling. Zacharias also explains the cultural significance of the art on the tipi for the Dakota people to assist readers who are unfamiliar with the culture in a greater level of understanding. This book would pair nicely in a PreK or Kindergarten class with Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

One question you would ask before a read aloud: This book has words in two languages: English and Dakota. What are some other languages you know? What are some languages you speak at home or with your friends?

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