Monday, May 23, 2022

Highly Recommended: IT'S A MITIG by Bridget George

It's A Mitig!
Written and illustrated by Bridget George (Kettle & Stony Point First Nation)
Published by Douglas and McIntyre
Published in 2020
Reviewed by Debbie Reese
Review Status: Highly Recommended


This morning, I came across It's A Mitig! Written and illustrated by Bridget George, it is absolutely terrific! On the cover, you see a hand that is holding a magnifying glass. Turn the page, and you see that the story starts with morning time:
Giizis is rising, the day is brand new. Let's learn some words nature's gathered for you.
Right away, we are told what to expect. We'll learn some words---in Ojibwe, and we'll do it using rhyming words (new/you). Sometimes, the rhyming words are in English and Ojibwe, like on this page (log/gaag):

I love every page! The text on the final page of the story is:
Dibiki-giizis is glowing and bright. You've learned many new words, now it's time for goodnight. 
I'd be using this if I was teaching in an early childhood classroom, or in a language course, or with a child in my family sitting next to me. The final pages include a pronunciation guide, and one that functions as a picture book dictionary:

As I look at that page with all the items and their Ojibwe words, I think about how I might extend that with a different language. If I used Tewa (the language we speak at Nambé), I might say something like "The Ojibwes say giizis. We say than."

There are interviews with Bridget George in several places. In them she talks about how she was setting up a nursery for her baby and that it was hard to find what she wanted: books with Ojibwe words and characters. Her search is familiar. Many Native writers create the book they wanted, either as a child or an adult, because they weren't finding what they wanted. 

On some pages, George includes people. Here's an adult and child, sitting by the ziibi, reading:

I'm sharing that particular page because of the way George depicts them. These are clearly people of the present day. Regular readers of AICL know that I am especially keen on books that depict us as people of today! 

It is all here: Native author, Native characters, set in the present day, includes Native language... it is so very good! I'm delighted to see it. I highly recommend you get it. And keep an eye out for Bridget George's books! I see she's doing Too Much with Laurie Goodluck. It'll be published by Simon & Schuster in 2024.