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Hungry Johnny

Hungry Johnny

Regular price $ 17.95

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Regular price $ 17.95 Sale price $ 17.95

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Author Cheryl Minnema, Illustrations by Wesley Ballinger

Minnesota Historical Society Press (May 1, 2014)

At the community feast, observing the bounty of festive foods and counting the numerous elders yet to be seated, Johnny learns to be patient and respectful despite his growling tummy.


“I like to eat, eat, eat,” choruses young Johnny as he watches Grandma at work in the kitchen. Wild rice, fried potatoes, fruit salad, frosted sweet rolls—what a feast! Johnny can hardly contain his excitement. In no time, he’ll be digging in with everyone else, filling his belly with all this good food.

But wait. First there is the long drive to the community center. And then an even longer Ojibwe prayer. And then—well, young boys know to follow the rules: elders eat first, no matter how hungry the youngsters are. Johnny lingers with Grandma, worried that the tasty treats won’t last. Seats at the tables fill and refill; platters are emptied and then replaced. Will it ever be their turn? And will there be enough?

As Johnny watches anxiously, Grandma gently teaches. By the time her friend Katherine arrives late to the gathering, Johnny knows just what to do, hunger pangs or no. He understands, just as Grandma does, that gratitude, patience, and respect are rewarded by a place at the table—and plenty to eat, eat, eat.

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Author information

Writer and beadwork artist Cheryl Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Her beadwork is also featured in our Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Kit.

Artist Wesley Ballinger, also a member of the Mille Lacs Band, works for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Reviews and news

Indian Country Today
American Indians in Children’s Literature
Aitkin Independent Age
Ashland Daily Press

Native America Calling Book Club Selection, July 2014

  • 32 pages
  • fully illustrated in color
  • 10 x 10 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519267

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