Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller is more a rating of a 4.5 as I had wanted it to be a bit longer. But as it is a picture book, the length is perfect. It is a longer story to start with as many of Doreen Rappaport’s books are. This is a modern and positive look at one of the leaders in not only Women’s History but Native History as well.
Mankiller’s life unfolds on the pages of the book. Linda Kukuk’s illustrations are bold, bright, detailed, clever, detailed, and show the person and time fantastically. The page where Mankiller is playing with her children as toys of our past smile up at us is probably my favorite. Yet, every page is wonderful. There are author and illustrator afterwards, time lines and suggestions to find more information is also included.
The child reader (or listener) that is about ages 7 to 10 (though on the younger 10 side) will enjoy learning about a person we do not see much on. The adults will learn things they were possibly not familiar with (her mother was of Dutch descent; married at age 18). It is great for the classroom setting, but most likely not an easy one-on-one read-aloud. The oversize picture book format makes it easy to hold in a classroom or library reading. This also helps the illustrations to cover several fun details you might otherwise have lost in a smaller format. Rappaport always seems to pick subjects that are interesting. She focuses on highlights, but also gives a feeling of the person themselves.