Berry Song

Michaela Goade. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-31-649417-5

In Caldecott Medalist Goade’s (We Are Water Protectors) solo debut, a Tlingit grandmother and her granddaughter celebrate the earth, foraging through the seasons “on an island at the edge of the wide, wild sea.” Gently evocative, reiterative lines trace the grandmother teaching the child narrator to gather “slippery seaweed,” catch “silvery salmon,” and pick a wide variety of forest berries. When “the berries sing to us,” the duo reciprocates in song (“Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry./ Huckleberry, Soapberry, Strawberry, Crowberry”), so that “berry—and bear—know we are here.” They also express their gratitude for the gift of life-sustaining food, sing for their ancestors and for the future, and seek to “take care of the land...// As the land takes care of us.” Vivid, brilliant hues embolden lushly wrought, soft watercolor and mixed-media illustrations, painting a serene picture of nature and its many gifts in spreads that blur the lines between the landscape and the figures in it. Tapping into themes of people’s connection to nature—and nature’s to people—the volume crucially invites readers to recognize this intersection. An author’s note contextualizes core Tlingit tenets discussed. Ages 4–8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (July)
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