Songs from the Loom

A Navajo Girl Learns to Weave

From the Series We Are Still Here: Native Americans Today

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Jaclyn Roessel live in Kayenta, Arizona, on the Navajo reservation. Like most young girls, Jaclyn has many interests. She likes her math class, she plays basketball and volleyball, and she loves in-line skating. She is also interested in rug weaving, and she has asked her grandmother to teach her how to weave. For the Navajos, weaving is more than a craft or hobby. It is an important part of the culture and history of the Dine—the people. Jaclyn’s grandmother has explained that she wants Jaclyn to learn not just the technique of weaving but the stories and songs that go along with it. These stories about Spider Woman and Changing Woman have been passed down from generation to generation. In Songs from the Loom, photographer and writer Monty Roessel accompanies Jaclyn and her grandmother as they shear sheep, gather plants to dye wool, and weave a rug. Navajo rugs are highly valued and hang in museums around the world. This book looks at what the beautiful rugs mean to the Navajos.

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Interest Level Grade 3 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Social Studies
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction
Copyright 1995
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint First Avenue Editions ™, Lerner Publications ™
Language English
Number of Pages 48
Publication Date 1995-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 4.5
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF018040, JNF006000
Dewey 746.1'089'972
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.25 x 8.125
Lexile 850
ATOS Reading Level 5.2
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 15592
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Maps, and Reviewed

Author, Photographer: Monty Roessel


  • SSLI Book Award Honor Book, Commended, 1995
  • Carter G. Woodson Book Award, Winner, 1995
  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, Winner, 1995



“Roessel. . . weaves bountiful insights regarding Navajo culture into his photo-essay, ranging from ancient stories about weaving to the current state of Navajo unemployment. . . Both the process of weaving and the culture surrounding it are fascinating; the varied photographs communicate the culture’s richness with equal aplomb.”

The Horn Book Guide

“The color photographs of contemporary Navajo life are clear and engrossing, enhancing the solid text.”
The Horn Book Guide

The Boston Globe

“A fascinating glimpse of contemporary Navajo life.”
The Boston Globe