Sootface, An Ojibwa Cinderella Story


Retold/Written By Robert D. San Souci, Illustrated by Daniel San Souci

This is a beautiful Cinderella story, retold from an Ojibwa legend and set in the woodlands of the Northern Central United States.  In this story readers meet a small girl who is the youngest daughter of a warrior whose wife has died.  While the father is away, her older sisters are cruel and force her to do all their work.  Since she does all the family’s cooking over a wood fire, they tease her and call her “Sootface”.

One day the village’s daily life is interrupted by a remarkable announcement.  A nearby young medicine man I looking for a bride.   Handsome and powerful, this young warrior can even make himself invisible.  Only the woman who can see him and can answer a riddle about his bow and arrows will prove she is pure in heart and can share his life.  The rest of the story unfolds perfectly, accompanied by lovely illustrations with an eye to authentically portraying the details of clothing, shelter and other aspects of Ojibwa life.

A wonderful tale of how remaining true to one’s self eventually becomes it’s own meaningful reward.

Sootface (Paperback)

By (author): Robert D. San Souci

Once, an Ojibwa man whose wife had died raised three daughters alone. The two older girls were lazy and bad-tempered, and made their youngest sister do all the work. When the flames from the cooking fire singed her hair or burned her skin, they laughed and called her Sootface.

While she worked, Sootface dreamed that one day she would find a husband. Then a mighty warrior with the power to make himself invisible decides to marry. Only a woman with a kind and honest heart could see him, and be his bride.

Though her sisters ridicule her, Sootface sets off to try her luck, never looking back. Her courage and good nature bring her the husband she has longed for.
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[…] from My Favorite Multicultural Books also looked at Sootface, An Ojibwa Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci. In this story, Cinderella attracts her husband with her honesty, courage, […]


I would love to share this version with my daughters – I love the message of staying true to yourself and that, as you mention, the illustrations are authentic to Ojibwa life.


I am still waiting for this book to come in from the library!:) Thank you so much for sharing this version. I had not heard of it, and am happy to see this folktale:). Thanks for participating!!