Jo Jo Makoons
The Used-to-Be Best Friend
May/June 2021 Kids Indie Next List
— Katherine Nazzaro, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
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American Indian Youth Literature Award: Middle Grade Honor Book! Hello/Boozhoo—meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this first book in an all-new chapter book series by Dawn Quigley celebrates a spunky young Ojibwe girl who loves who she is.
Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn—about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly.
Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), she’s worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore…
The Heartdrum imprint centers a wide range of intertribal voices, visions, and stories while welcoming all young readers, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes. In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.
Praise For Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend…
"Young readers will revel in the humor this chapter book offers: the wordplay, the nicknames, and Jo Jo’s irrepressible narrative voice. A joyful book about growing up Native in a loving community—not to be missed." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In a winning, straightforward voice, Quigley adeptly creates strong classroom scenes that convey an inclusive student body’s realistic dynamic and an endearing, assured seven-year-old protagonist who appreciates her cultural identity." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Jo Jo's magnetic personality and liberal humor should endear her immediately to readers struggling to sort out their own worlds--she is sure to be young readers' new 'book best friend.'" — Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"In eight brief yet eventful chapters, we follow this seven-year-old Everygirl through a relatable and entertaining series of misadventures and misunderstandings. Through it all, the first-person narrative is consistently engaging, with just the right touch of primary-grade silliness to balance out Jo Jo’s fears about friendship. Audibert’s cartoony illustrations add humorous layers to this exemplary transitional reader." — Horn Book (starred review)
"A sweet, slice-of-life series debut. Readers will love Jo Jo and want to be her friend." — School Library Journal (starred review)
"Funny and smart, with a sly sense of humor that’s entirely its own, prepare for a series that you’ll want to see much more of in the future." — Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production (SLJ blog)
"Readers come to know Jo Jo’s quirky perspective, her insecurities and her cultural identity, which informs how she sees the world. Jo Jo’s sense of humor, playful attitude and frequent misinterpretations of dialogue and body language are sure to lead to plenty of giggles. Jo Jo’s family, teachers and friends keep her on her toes, learning and growing. Quigley’s first-person narration is fast paced, witty and engaging, while illustrator Tara Audibert’s black-and-white cartoon-style illustrations assist with character development and deepen the story’s setting." — BookPage
"A fun and fanciful story... Jo Jo Makoons, the first in a series, provides Indigenous children an opportunity to see themselves in books and teaches non-Indigenous children more about Ojibwe culture." — Quill & Quire
Heartdrum, 9780063015371, 80pp.
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
About the Author
Dawn Quigley is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, North Dakota. Her debut YA novel, Apple in the Middle, was awarded an American Indian Youth Literature Honor. She is a PhD, education university faculty member, and a former K–12 reading and English teacher, as well as Indian Education program codirector. You can find her online at www.dawnquigley.com.
Tara Audibert is a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, cartoonist, animator, and podcaster. She owns and runs Moxy Fox Studio, where she creates her award-winning works, including the animated short film The Importance of Dreaming, comics This Place: 150 Years Retold and Lost Innocence, and “Nitap: Legends of the First Nations,” an animated storytelling app. She is of Wolastoqey/French heritage and resides in Sunny Corner, New Brunswick, Canada. You can find her online at www.moxyfox.ca.