Friday, December 13, 2013

WILD BERRIES by Julie Flett

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In 2011, I read Julie Flett's alphabet book, Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer. In English, the title of that book is Owls See Clearly at Night. I wrote about it  in January of 2012, noting especially Flett's gorgeous art. Not long after that, I read Richard Van Camp's Little One. Flett did the art for it, and like Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer, the art is gorgeous. 

Today, I am sharing her newest book, Wild Berries with you. It is available in two versions. Here's the cover for the Cree version:

Beneath her name on the cover, the title of the book is printed in a Cree syllabary and in a Cree dialect. In English, the title is Wild Berries. Here's the first page of the English version of the book:

Lovely, isn't it? When you turn that page, you'll see Clarence walking behind his grandmother, no longer a baby. He is now five years old and sings along with his grandma as they gather berries.

Flett's art is both--bold and spare--and so are her words. Together or apart, they exquisitely convey the relationship of Clarence and his grandmother and the simple act of being outside gathering berries. That alone would make this a stand-out book, but there's other things to note that make it exceptional. The Cree language sprinkled throughout is one. Another is the recipe for wild blueberry jam. And yet another is that Flett is Cree Metis herself.

I'm really taken with this book!

Wild Berries is a 2013 book, published by Simply Read Books. If you order from Amazon, please consider using this link to place your order, because a portion of your purchase will go towards the American Indian Library Association, including its Youth Literature Award: