Book cover of Jo Jo Makoons and the Used-To-Be Best Friend

Jo Jo Makoons and the Used-To-Be Best Friend



Publisher & Publication Year

Heartdrum, 2021

Publisher's Book Page


Dawn Quigley (Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe)

Author's Website 


Tara Audibert (Wolastoqey)



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. And 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…

Notable Achievements

American Indian Youth Literature Award: Middle Grade Honor Book


Publishers Weekly: "In a winning, straightforward voice... Quigley adeptly creates strong classroom scenes that convey an inclusive student body’s realistic dynamic and an endearing, assured seven-year-old protagonist who appreciates her cultural identity."

Kirkus Reviews: "A joyful book about growing up Native in a loving community—not to be missed."

School Library Journal: "A sweet, slice-of-life series debut. Readers will love Jo Jo and want to be her friend."

The Horn Book: "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."

Educator Guide

Link to Guide

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