The Cloud Artist, A Choctaw Tale
by Sherri Maret, illustrated by Merisha Sequoia Clark
The RoadRunner Press, 2017
A Choctaw tale, told in both English and Choctaw languages, tells of a young girl gifted as a cloud artist, where she turns clouds into pictures. With her gift Leona entertains her tribe. Then a circus promoter noticed the cloud art and asked Leona to make cloud art for the circus goers. Her first day she happily shares art as it comes to her. But by the second day, people started demanding for what they wanted to see, each demand becoming more and more outlandish. Angry, she stops the art and leaves. The next day she returns to give back the money given her and inform the promoter she will no longer do art for money.
Somehow a truth and honesty run through the story, where Leona listens to her heart to make her own decisions. And there’s a magic in a gift we don’t hear about, forming art in the clouds. The Choctaw show how they appreciate each person’s gift for what it gives to them in joy; money isn’t important. A refreshing tale.