When the Shadbush Blooms Reviews

Book Reviews

What People Said – “The glory of white shadbush blossoms on the cover should be used as an excuse to pull it out in the spring and share it!” From:http://kidslit.menashalibrary.org/archives/017347.html                                January 10, 2008   Posted by Tasha Saecker on January 10, 2008 1:45 PM

When the Shadbush Blooms is still available as a hardbound book which you may order a signed edition from www.whentheshadbushblooms.com

A great gift idea for a family member, teacher or group leader.

Border flowersWhen the Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz, illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden.  (Fall 2007, Tricycle Press/Random House) Books in which Native American traditions are accurately portrayed are very few, especially in picture book format.  To have a traditional Native American side-by-side with a contemporary one is nearly unheard of.  In this picture book, you will see the traditional way of life alongside the contemporary one.  There is a constant tie between the two, but each is unique and lovely in its own way.  The book moves through the year from month to month, starting with the When the Shad fish Return Moon and circling to a finish with the same month again.  The book ends with additional information on the Lenni Lenape people, meaning that this is not meant to be a more general Native American story, but distinct to a people.  This alone makes it worthy of attention, because so many Native titles are left meaninglessly generic where these specific traditions and people bring life and accuracy to the story. The text of the book is clear and has a great rhythm even though it is prose.  There is a consistent tie to nature and wildlife in each month that makes the passing of the months fascinating.  The illustrations are the real bridges between the modern and the historical.  The same setting is used for both periods and they share the same space, making the point of the text all the more clear for readers.

Highly recommended, this book is perfect to use when discussing calendars with children.  I would hate to see it relegated to only being pulled out during a unit on Native Americans around Thanksgiving.  Instead, the glory of white shadbush blossoms on the cover should be used as an excuse to pull it out in the spring and share it.

Celebrate First Nations! First Nations Public Libraries Week (Feb. 11 to 16, 2008). Celebrate the end of this special week by reading these excellent aptly-themed stories from the Timmins Public Library….. When the Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz (Tricycle Press, Ages 5-10) Past and present meet in this unique picture book, told side-by-side by Traditional Sister and Contemporary Sister. The story moves through the year using the Lenni Lenape calendar, beginning and ending in spring with When the Shad fish Return Moon or Mechoammawi Gischuch. Each passing month has a specific link to nature, and the text explains how even 400 years apart, the young girls spend time with their loving families doing similar activities. This book about tradition, change and nature’s cycle is illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden.  Getting the Word Out, written by Jose Gagnon Timmins Daily Press in Ontario, Canada

More Deserving of the Caldecott, September 14, 2007  By  Susan G. Beck (South Range, MI) – on Amazon.com “While the beautiful illustrations may first attract you to Where the Shadbush Blooms, the words that describe the feeling of joy that children take in their families now, and took long ago–and the simple pleasures that hold families together–will hold you and any child. Kids will be fascinated by the historical differences in clothing and tools, and interested in similarities over time. They will ask you to read and reread the story, and they will love trying to pronounce the Lenni Lenape words for the seasons and the moons. (The authors wisely included a pronunciation dictionary along with the background of the tribe.) The book holds potential for family conversation, games, and challenges–not to mention those in a classroom. While it describes the Original People, it applies to all people and to the strength of families everywhere. It deserves to win the Caldecott.” Susan Gilbert Beck, former Children’s Librarian, Librarian and Information Specialist, Certified Teacher, Emanda, Inc.

shadberries in bark bowl - Judy Dow*Basket & Shadberries courtesy of basket maker Judy Dow, Abanaki.

 

More “The book is beautiful. The concept is brilliantly simple in the way of all truth, richly opening the door to that subtle reality of All Time that is so elusive to the Western mind. “The berries ripen, dangling like tiny hearts” is a gorgeous line, as is “I lick from one finger a drop as sweet as summer.” The emphasis on chasing the crows vs. on the plants, themselves, is so joyous and really opens the reader’s mind to the flutter of wings– fabulous, just fabulous to then be given “when the tall stalks rustle”. And I love the generational difference expressed by how fast the corn gets eaten. It’s magical the way it starts from the perspective of the deer and how it ends with the deer being within a larger universe that includes the stream and the people.”  From Linda Griffith Kirkus Review, Big Book Guide – BEA/ALA   (Book Expo Association/American Library Association), Spring 2007

When the Shadbush Blooms Carla Messinger with Susan Katz Illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden Tricycle Press / Random House / September 9781582461922 / $15.95    American culture “When the Shadbush Blooms demonstrates how much Lenape children share with children of every other heritage,” says the author, “family relationships, seasonal activities, work and play.  At the same time, it shows how similar all of those activities and relationships today are to those experienced by Lenape children centuries ago.”  David Kanietakeron Fadden’s artwork reproduces the evergreen qualities of planting a garden, fishing for shad, harvest festivals—stories that pass on traditions and keep the dark of night at bay.  “My ancestors invented their own calendar based on the local environment,” says Messinger.  “This was a long time ago, and we still use the calendar today.  It is but one element that serves to remind Native children of their contributions and instills cultural pride.  It’s not easy being a Native American, especially a child, as the discrimination is so subtle and pervasive.  I hope that showing the continuity of Native culture and its commonality with other cultures will give non-Native children a better understanding of our past and present, and of the humanity that we share.   I hope, too, that the book will be useful to Lenape children.  They are our future leaders and need to be reminded that we are still ‘The People.’  We have endured; we are still here.”  And Messinger offers great tribute to that fact.” Kirkus Review  Fall, 2007

….”A three-page author’s note about the Lenni Lenape is informative and useful. This is a gentle introduction to the fact that Native Americans are an important part of our history-and of our present. (Picture book. 6-10)”