A picture book that tells the story of the Mother Earth Water Walkers, a group that walks to bring awareness to the importance of clean water.
Nokomis (“grandmother”) Josephine Mandamin, an Ojibwe, loves and respects Nibi (“water”), greeting it every morning with gratitude. Hearing an elder predict that clean water will soon be more precious than gold, Nokomis decides to take action. She and other women begin to walk, first around the Great Lakes (an endeavor that takes seven years), then around other bodies of water, to highlight the importance of unpolluted water. Author/illustrator Robertson, an AnishinaabeKwe, tells her true story without lecturing and fills it with bright, effectively childlike illustrations. She writes with verve and occasional gentle humor about the need to respect Nibi and to make decisions for “your grandchildren’s grandchildren.” The humor extends to the illustrations; in one image Nokomis sits with her feet in bunny slippers, using her laptop to buy new sneakers. There is a slight storyline confusion (was it Nokomis Josephine or other women who did the walking from the four points of Turtle Island?), but this is a small quibble in a book about such a large issue. The illustrated glossary with pronunciations is essential, since Robertson uses Ojibwe words throughout, a decision that enhances the book’s substance.
An important topic is treated with grace, love, and a smidgen of humor in this delightful, necessary book. (informational note) (Picture book. 3-7)