Monday, December 09, 2019

Recommended: MAY WE HAVE ENOUGH TO SHARE by Richard Van Camp; photographs by Indigenous Women

Published in 2019 by Orca Book Publishers, May We Have Enough to Share features photographs taken by Indigenous women who blog at Tea & Bannock. As I page through it, I can't help but smile over the expressions of joy and surprise on the faces of the babies and toddlers!

And I find myself peering closely at the stunning beaded artwork on each page. A note in the front of the book tells us it is by Caroline Blechert (Inuvialuit). It is traditional stitchwork that uses dyed and natural porcupine quills and delica beads. Her beaded artwork is beneath Van Camp's words, in a white circle that is placed inside of what looks to me like birchbark. Coupled with the photos, it makes for layers of image to study.

I don't know what Van Camp's intent was, but I read his words as a reminder to all of us that while world politics are in chaos, there are little ones in our lives who, in fact, count on us for their well being.

"May we" he writes on several pages, "have enough to share." Let's look a bit closer at his words. On the first page, I read
May we have enough to share, to know the sweetness of every day.
He doesn't say enough of what, on that page, or on any of the others. I see some reviews characterizing it as gratitude (probably because the words on the back cover include "gratitude"), but I think that's not quite what he's reaching for. I think he's talking about the human impulse to care and love the new and young lives in our own lives. With so much wrong with politics and the environment, we may lose sight of the need to make sure we're holding young ones close, all the time.

May We Have Enough to Share is just what we need!


Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for you to review this one with anticipation. It is beautiful, hopeful, and loving. Perfection.

Laura Fournier - Librarian

Jean Mendoza said...

I so appreciate the message in this book. It warms me from the inside out to see it stated so plainly and without preachiness in a book for very young children.

When there is "enough to share," it means that no one in a family or community has to go hungry or thirsty or cold or un-cared-for. So the people can grow up healthy, knowing that they have something to offer others, and that in times of need, others will be there for them. So there's no need to fear what can happen to people's minds and hearts when they start out life without enough of what's essential (greed, suspicion of others, fearfulness). Under those conditions, people can thrive without harming anyone else.

Jean Mendoza said...

Ugh, my sentence was so poorly constructed -- the greed, suspicion, and fearfulness are what can happen to people's minds and hearts; those things are NOT "what's essential."