‘Calling for a Blanket Dance’

An emotional coming-of-age tale filled with family sagas

By Stefanie Davis

“Calling for a Blanket Dance” by Oscar Hokeah tells the story of Ever Geimausaddle through his family tree. Ever is Mexican and Native American. The reader learns about Ever through 11 members of his family. The story begins when Ever is 6 months old, and his father Everardo is brutally attacked by Mexican police. Next, we learn of the struggles facing Ever’s family. His father is struggling from the police attack and kidney failure, and his mother is struggling to hold down a job and care for the family. Ever’s grandfather Vincent is struggling with sobriety and has been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. They give him a 50 percent chance of surviving the next 12 months. Vincent then realizes that much of his culture and traditions are slowly disappearing, and he is determined to teach his grandkids about his Kiowa culture. He sews his grandsons’ gourd dance regalia and teaches them about their heritage through traditional gourd dances. Ever’s uncle, Hank Quoetone, calls for a blanket dance to help Ever and his kids financially. Hank says, “sometimes a blanket dance can fill up your spirit, and this was one of those moments” (Hokeah, p. 205). One of my favorite things about Hokeah’s writing is how he weaves his native language and customs throughout his narrative storytelling. There is a lot to learn about Native culture from this book. This is an “own voices” emotional coming-of-age tale filled with family sagas. For read-alikes, I recommend “Woman of Light” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, “There, There” by Tommy Orange, “Sing, Unburied Sing” by Jesmyn Ward, and “Quiet Until the Thaw” by Alexandra Fuller.



“Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas” by Jennifer Raff

“Indigenous Continent: The Epic Conquest for North America” by Pekka Hamalainen

“Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry” by Joy Harjo

“Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present” by Adrienne Keene

Young Adult:

“Native Women Changing Their Worlds” by Patricia Cutright

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley

“A Snake Falls to Earth” by Darcie Little Badger

“Hunting by Stars” by Cherie Dimaline


“Race to the Sun” by Rebecca Roanhorse

“Keepunumuk: Weeachumun’s Thanksgiving Story” by Danielle Greendeer

“The Star That Always Stays” by Anna Rose Johnson

“Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids” by Cynthia Leitich Smith