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Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend


Series
Jo Jo

by
Dawn Quigley
illustrated by
Tara Audibert

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Heartdrum
ISBN
9780063015371

Awards and Honors
2022 Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children - Honor Book
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$18.30   $15.25
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The first book in a chapter book series about a funny and proud young Ojibwe girl, written by American Indian Youth Literature Honorwinning author Dawn Quigley (Ojibwe), and illustrated by artist Tara Audibert (Wolastoqey).

Hello/Boozhoo—meet Jo Jo Makoons! Full of pride, joy, and plenty of humor, this first book in a new chapter book series 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. . . .“About This Story.” Glossary. Author’s note. Black-and-white illustrations. 

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

80

Trim Size

7 3/5" x 5"

Dewey

F

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Fic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Oct 2021

Book Genres

Early Chapter Book, Chapter Book

Topics

Girls. Friendship. Best friends. Native Americans. Ojibwe reservations. Family life. Cats. Pets. Schools.

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 2-5–Seven-year-old Jo Jo Makoons Azure lives on a fictional version of an Ojibwe reservation, and likes to do things a little differently than everyone else. When her cat Mimi sleeps on her feet every night and makes them too warm, Jo Jo solves the problem by cutting the toes off all of her nighttime socks. Her idea of Language Arts is drawing pictures with Ojibwe captions for Teacher: “language + arts!” Readers follow Jo Jo through a myriad of first grade adventures involving her family, classmates, and cat Mimi. Even though Mimi is her best friend at home, Jo Jo is worried about her friendship with Fern when the girl stops doing school best friend things like saving her a seat at lunch. The story playfully captures age-appropriate concerns and interests, as young Jo Jo navigates family traditions and shifting friendships. Audibert’s fun illustrations utilize big expressions to convey the book’s gentle high jinks and Jo Jo’s rambunctious, carefree nature. Quigley includes “Jo Jo’s Glossary” and an author’s note for further explanation about Ojibwe language and culture. The story is interspersed with Ojibwe and Michif words; Jo Jo even explains that if readers can pronounce Tyrannosaurs rex, they should be able to say these words as well. VERDICT A sweet, slice-of-life series debut. Readers will love Jo Jo and want to be her friend.–Danielle ­Burbank, San Juan Coll., Farmington, NM

Horn Book

This series opener introduces Jo Jo Makoons Azure, a rambunctious first grader with “strong lungs” (according to her mom) and a wish to make more friends. In eight brief yet eventful chapters, we follow this seven-year-old Everygirl through a relatable and entertaining series of misadventures and misunderstandings—over everything from rhyming words, to teachers (“Jim” is astonishingly not the P. E. teacher’s first name), to Little Shell Elementary School’s yearbook cover. 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. Will Mimi, her cat and “home best friend,” deflate like a balloon when she gets her shots? And why hasn’t Fern, her “school best friend,” been sitting with her at lunch lately? Throughout, contemporary Native culture takes center stage: Jo Jo’s multigenerational family lives on the fictional Pembina Ojibwe reservation; some Ojibwe and Michif words are phonetically spelled within the text in a manner consistent with Jo Jo’s hilariously frank voice (“If you can say Tyrannosaurus rex, you can say nindizhinikaaz [“my name is…” in Ojibwe]”). Audibert’s cartoony illustrations add humorous layers to this exemplary transitional reader. SAM BLOOM

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 2-5–Seven-year-old Jo Jo Makoons Azure lives on a fictional version of an Ojibwe reservation, and likes to do things a little differently than everyone else. When her cat Mimi sleeps on her feet every night and makes them too warm, Jo Jo solves the problem by cutting the toes off all of her nighttime socks. Her idea of Language Arts is drawing pictures with Ojibwe captions for Teacher: “language + arts!” Readers follow Jo Jo through a myriad of first grade adventures involving her family, classmates, and cat Mimi. Even though Mimi is her best friend at home, Jo Jo is worried about her friendship with Fern when the girl stops doing school best friend things like saving her a seat at lunch. The story playfully captures age-appropriate concerns and interests, as young Jo Jo navigates family traditions and shifting friendships. Audibert’s fun illustrations utilize big expressions to convey the book’s gentle high jinks and Jo Jo’s rambunctious, carefree nature. Quigley includes “Jo Jo’s Glossary” and an author’s note for further explanation about Ojibwe language and culture. The story is interspersed with Ojibwe and Michif words; Jo Jo even explains that if readers can pronounce Tyrannosaurs rex, they should be able to say these words as well. VERDICT A sweet, slice-of-life series debut. Readers will love Jo Jo and want to be her friend.–Danielle ­Burbank, San Juan Coll., Farmington, NM

Horn Book

This series opener introduces Jo Jo Makoons Azure, a rambunctious first grader with “strong lungs” (according to her mom) and a wish to make more friends. In eight brief yet eventful chapters, we follow this seven-year-old Everygirl through a relatable and entertaining series of misadventures and misunderstandings—over everything from rhyming words, to teachers (“Jim” is astonishingly not the P. E. teacher’s first name), to Little Shell Elementary School’s yearbook cover. 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. Will Mimi, her cat and “home best friend,” deflate like a balloon when she gets her shots? And why hasn’t Fern, her “school best friend,” been sitting with her at lunch lately? Throughout, contemporary Native culture takes center stage: Jo Jo’s multigenerational family lives on the fictional Pembina Ojibwe reservation; some Ojibwe and Michif words are phonetically spelled within the text in a manner consistent with Jo Jo’s hilariously frank voice (“If you can say Tyrannosaurus rex, you can say nindizhinikaaz [“my name is…” in Ojibwe]”). Audibert’s cartoony illustrations add humorous layers to this exemplary transitional reader. SAM BLOOM

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