An intimate gateway to learning about the Cree First Nations people from the perspective of its elders.



From the This Land Is Our Storybook series

Henry Beaver (Cree) shares truths about the Cree culture with his visiting grandchildren to pass on its traditional knowledge.

The first lesson he introduces is how to harvest salt on the salt plains of Fort Smith, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Colorful photos then show Henry and the grandchildren trapping beaver while Henry’s wife, Eileen, (Cree and Chipewyan) demonstrates how to skin the animal for hides used in making mitts, moccasins, and parkas. There’s actual step-by-step instructions for tipi setup with accompanying illustrations. Eileen shares the importance of smudging and offers descriptions of each of the sacred plants that are used for spirit cleansing. This is followed by traditional Cree stories told by Eileen and Henry as they spend the night in the tipi with their grandchildren. The importance of teaching as a vehicle for transmitting culture suffuses the narrative, with lessons gleaned from the smallest of details transmitted smoothly and naturally in the narrative; that learning never ends is emphasized in Henry’s description of himself as “an Elder in training for twenty years.” The trip is a heartfelt family experience, and the accompanying photos lend the book the feel of a family album packed with good memories, a visual connection made to be accessible to all readers.

An intimate gateway to learning about the Cree First Nations people from the perspective of its elders. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-927083-52-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Fifth House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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How and when the Western Hemisphere, particularly North and South America, came to be populated continues to be both mysterious and controversial for scientists. Archaeologists plug away with the tools at their disposal but have “more questions than answers.” Harrison does a good job setting the issue in context. He describes the earliest efforts to identify the original inhabitants of the continents, exploring the Clovis culture, believed by many to be the first humans to reach North America. After clearly explaining how scholars decided that they were first, he then lists the arguments against this hypothesis. In the course of looking at both sides, he introduces young readers to “the strict rules of archaeology.” The author demonstrates the precise work of those attempting to understand the hidden aspects of human history and how many of these old questions are seen in the light of new technologies and discoveries. The narrative is aided by both photographs and original illustrations that imagine scenes from both the distant past and the field experiences. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59078-561-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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Adults may have to force-feed this purposive book to those not yet committed to the important causes outlined here.



"Organic," "sustainable" and "food miles" all appear in the comprehensive glossary of this book, whose simple title and cover photograph imply a basic approach to the international topic of food.

This very political book, biased toward food equity, explains why certain foods are eaten in certain countries and why school lunches are important. They fill various needs, from the teaching of courtesy and table manners in France and Japan to the supply of basic nutrients for Somali children in refugee-camp schools. Efforts to improve children’s eating habits, curb obesity, encourage use of local crops and provide food to students with limited economic resources are discussed. As the book is from Canada, naturally there are some references to that country in many of the comparisons. Though published in a seemingly picture-book format, the text is complex. Most two-page spreads describe school lunchtime in an individual country, with a cartoonish illustration on the left and a large photograph of a typical meal on the right with numbered arrows pointing to particular elements. Lengthy captions are keyed to each number. Small globe images in each spread point out countries, but larger maps and a bibliography would be useful. “The Message to Parents, Teachers and Students” provides project ideas.

Adults may have to force-feed this purposive book to those not yet committed to the important causes outlined here. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-88995-482-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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