A Note to Readers
Happy Reading and Writing!
Teaching Cady and the Bear Necklace
Tell us about your book
Cady and the Bear Necklace is my MG/YA award-winning novel. Cady, a 13-year-old girl of Native American heritage, has experienced big changes in the past year including her father’s marriage to a much younger woman, a new baby brother, and a move from Minnesota to Michigan where she is attending a reservation school for the first time. One day at school Cady finds and eagle feather on the hallway floor and reports it to the principal. He thanks her for this act of honor and tells her that a mystery might soon appear in her life. Not long after, Cady discovers an antique Indian beaded necklace hidden under the floor of her bedroom closet. She knows she’s found it for a reason but what is the reason? Is this the mystery the principal predicted might appear? She consults with the elders who tell her it is her “job” to find out why. In the process of solving this mystery, Cady’s home life calms down and she draws closer to the teachings and traditions of her culture. Helping her are her new friends Irish, John Ray Chicaug, and a crazy talking blue jay.
What do you hope your young readers will take away from your book?
I hope that young readers will realize that no matter your culture, race or gender, all children/teens face the universal social and emotional struggles presented when undergoing a move, changes within the family structure, changing schools, the loss of a parent and entering adolescence.
How might a teacher or librarian use your book in the classroom?
This book connects with Native American Heritage Month. In 2020 it received State History Award (Books/Children & Youth) from the Historical Society of Michigan; New Mexico-Arizona Book Award (multicultural); Midwest Book Award (Young Adult) and was a Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist.
Can you share an exercise or activity that teachers can do with students after they’ve read your book?
Here are a few activities:
- Have students write a letter to Cady giving her advice on how to fit in at her new school. Other suggestions: how to curb her anger issues.
- Research these topics: Ojibway culture; Potawatomi culture; pow wows. There are different dance styles in the native culture including: grass dancers, jingle dancers, fancy dance, etc. Choose one style and share the information with the class. Artwork (photos, drawings, etc.) could be included.
- Search out Native American place names in your state, choose one and writer/tell about its history.
I’ve also prepared a document with discussion questions for readers.
What book(s) pair well with your book?
I would pair Cady and the Bear Necklace with Louise Erdrich’s The Birchbark House.
About the author
Ann has lifelong roots in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her first Middle Grade novel, Cady and the Bear Necklace, was published by HenschelHAUS Books of Milwaukee, WI. A graduate of UW-Madison (Journalism Education), she earned an MA in Secondary Education/Reading from Viterbo University. She started out as a newspaper reporter/photographer and returned to journalism after retiring from teaching. She loves delving into “the story behind the story” whether it be of persons, places or things. She continues to freelance for several publications while writing about 13-year-old Cady, and the challenges she faces while solving mysteries.