Lakota Author’s ‘Spotted Tail’ to Represent S.D. at National Book Festival

Great Reads from Great Places: David Heska Wanbli Weiden's Children's Book Chosen for South Dakota

The South Dakota Center for the Book has selected David Heska Wanbli Weiden's "Spotted Tail" to represent South Dakota at the 2020 National Book Festival. The book is the state's selection for the Festival's "Discover Great Places Through Reading" map.

"'Spotted Tail' is an excellent choice to introduce young readers to a slice of South Dakota's past and present," said Jennifer Widman, director of the South Dakota Center for the Book. "As Weiden tells the life story of an influential leader during a pivotal time in our state's history, he also provides insight into Lakota culture, especially the tribes' relationship to the Black Hills. In addition, it's just a gorgeous book, with traditional ledger art and creative mixed-media illustrations by Jim Yellow Hawk and Pat Kinsella."

Every year, as part of the Great Reads from Great Places program, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress's Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library, and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state's culture and heritage.

The complete "Great Reads from Great Places" map is posted on the Library of Congress website.
Learn more about Weiden's book in this special video presentation:

About the Book

Named as one of the best books of 2019 by American Indians in Children's Literature, "Spotted Tail" traces the life of the famous Lakota leader who expertly guided his people through a pivotal and tumultuous time in their nation's history as they fought and then negotiated with the U.S. government. Spotted Tail is remembered for his unique leadership style and deep love for his people. Today, a university is named in his honor.

About the Author

David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Sicangu Lakota, is the author of the novel "Winter Counts" and the children's biography "Spotted Tail," winner of the 2020 Spur Award for Juvenile Nonfiction from the Western Writers of America. His work appears in Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, and other magazines.

Weiden has received a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Ragdale Foundation Residency, and the PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship. He has an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and teaches Native American studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

This year the National Book Festival will be a virtual event held on Sept. 25-27, 2020 at LOC.Gov/bookfest and a special PBS broadcast on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. ET. States will feature videos of their Great Read selections in the festival's virtual Roadmap to Reading exhibits. Selected state Great Reads videos will also be featured On KidLit.TV.

Meet Weiden Virtually

Meet Weiden and 10 other children's authors at the Virtual 2020 Young Readers Festival of Books.