Sunday, November 05, 2017


The Story of Manoomin (2013), is a photo-essay, an Ojibwe language lesson, and a board book all in one. 

Published by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, this little book explains what manoomin (erroneously called “wild rice) is, how it grows, why it is important to the Ojibwe people, and how they harvest and share it. Full of pictures of kids, families, and local creatures and scenery, it conveys information in a friendly way about a key aspect of Ojibwe community life. I’m charmed.

Though it’s from and about an Ojibwe community, children from anywhere may enjoy it. They may like learning the words for the seasons and the steps in harvesting, or the Ojibwe way to say “I’m tired!” or “I’m hungry!” They may have seen “wild rice” in the store and wondered where it comes from. Share this book with them, and they will know more than most adults do!

We often think of board books as being for toddlers. This one has enough photos of people to interest children that young, if the adult sharing it talks about the pictures. But the content works at other age levels, too, from preschool through first grade, and maybe beyond. One photo of a chubby-cheeked little girl reminds me of one of my granddaughters, who used to toddle purposefully around hugging one or two board books close to her tummy. I think she would have hugged this book.

Adults can pair this with some of the late Jim Northrup’s stories about ricing.

The Story of Manoomin is available at Birchbark Books. 

Review submitted by Jean Mendoza. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am ordering this one for my library - thanks for the recommendation!