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The Christmas Coat
Memories of My Sioux Childhood
by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
Ellen Beier, Illustrator

Reinforced | 32 pages | 10 1/4 x 9 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823421343 | 07-01-2011

Grade: FIRST | Age: 4 to 8

Themes: Native American Interest , 20th Century, Christmas
Recommendations: C, H, K*, PW, SLJ

About the Book


The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood is the recipient of the American Indian Youth Literature Award, Picture Book category, given by the American Indian Library Association (AILA), an affiliate of the American Library Association.
In this heartfelt story based on the author's memoirs of life on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, Christmas brings unexpected joy for those with generous spirits.

Each day on the long walk to school Virginia's outgrown winter coat lets the frigid South Dakota prairie winds bite her bare wrists. With Christmas coming, Virginia knows that Theast boxes—package of donated clothing from congregations in New England, or "The East"—will be arriving on the reservation soon. But even if the boxes contain a coat that will fit her, Virginia realizes she will probably never have a chance to wear it. Her parents expect their children to consider the needs of others before their own.

When a beautiful coat is claimed by one of Virginia's classmates, Virginia is heartbroken. Will anything be able to rekindle Virginia's spirit?

Author Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, spent her childhood on a reservation. She has received the Spirit of Crazy Horse Award and the National Humanities Medal. For an interview with the author, click here.

Ellen Beier has illustrated numerous books for children. As she notes on her website, "I started drawing as a child at the side of my grandmother, a painter and sculptress." Visit Ellen Beier’s website at

For more about the author and illustrator, photos of the artist at work, recipes, and the official book blog, visit