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SHE SANG PROMISE: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader

Author: Jan Godown Annino

Illustrator: Lisa Desimini

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Publisher: National Geographic Books, ©2010

Material: hard cover

Summary: Betty Mae Tiger is the granddaughter and daughter of Seminole healers. Her father was French. She and her family were "outcast" from the Seminole tribe, but her grandmother and mother made sure she understood her heritage. When Betty Mae got her first glimpse of school, she begged her family to let her go. At 14, she learned to read, left home to attend school, and returned to the Seminole tribe first as a nurse, and ultimately as the first woman elected to be the Seminole tribal leader. This is a picture book biography told as a poem and a story.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 6 to 10

Reading Level: 4

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: Beautiful in story, illustration, and spirit. When I read the poem in the preface, I was a little bit concerned about a biography written in rhyme. But it isn't. Even though the story is told in short stanzas, they are beautifully written and packed with power and hope.

Pros: Gorgeous illustrations complement this picture book biography of Betty Mae Jumper. Readers are in for a treat!

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a beautifully illustrated book. If you're looking for a story with a strong, positive, before-her-time female, then this is one to read.


Educational Themes: Although the book is primarily a biography, there is a lot of history, too. The chronology offers readers specific milestones and windows into how the world "thought" at various times. With older readers, definitely take the time to read the author's note at the back ... kids may not think much of newspapers, but one article inspired a book.

Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, biography, Native Americans

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2014

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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