A touching story of familial love and of respect and gratitude for the bounty of the land.

BERRY SONG

A magical intergenerational story of gifts and cultural rituals shared between a grandmother and her granddaughter.

A Tlingit grandmother takes her young granddaughter to a nearby island for a berry-picking adventure in the forest. To alert the forest bear and the various types of berries that glow “like little jewels” of their presence, the pair sing a harvest song: “Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry. Huckleberry, Soapberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.” Grandma teaches the girl that “we speak to the land…as the land speaks to us,” and “we sing too, so the land knows we are grateful.” As they gather berries in the misty rain, they listen to the sounds of insect wings, inhale the sweet scent of cedar, and feel the soft moss on tree branches. Back at home, “the kitchen glows like a summer sky” as the girl, her grandmother, her father, and her younger sister make syrup, marmalade, jelly, jam, pie, and scones to share. When winter comes, the forest is described as “dreaming, waiting for berry song.” Seasons change, marking the passage of time and leading to a bittersweet, full-circle ending. This beautifully written story by Caldecott medalist/debut author Goade features breathtaking, atmospheric artwork inspired by the wild landscape of her hometown, Sheet’ká, Alaska, and incorporates rich symbolism and imagery from Tlingit culture. A closing author’s note elucidates sacred Tlingit principles mentioned in the story, and dazzling endpapers identify different berry varieties. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A touching story of familial love and of respect and gratitude for the bounty of the land. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-49417-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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