We Sang You Home

Written by: Richard Van Camp

Illustrated by: Julie Flett

For Ages: Infant and Up

Language: Bilingual-English and Plains Cree; English.

Topics Covered: Family, Indigenous Voices, First Nations, New Baby.

Summary: This board book is from the perspective of new parents speaking to their child, celebrating their birth and arrival to the family.  The metaphor “we sang you home” is used throughout the book to describe the baby’s arrival.  Short lines of text on each page describe how this new arrival blesses the family, and the promises the parents are making to their new child.  “As we give you roots you give us wings” and “thank you for joining us thank you for choosing us” are examples of the tender words being spoken to this new family addition.  A perfect book to read to children to help them understand how loved they are.

Reflection Questions:

  • What would you like a new baby to know about your family?
  • How do you think your parents felt when you were born?
  • If you have a little sibling, would you like to read them this book?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Think about your family.  What is special about it?  Make your own book about your family and what a new baby might want to know about the fun things you will do together.
  • What is another way to welcome someone new into your family?  It doesn’t have to be a baby, it could be a new uncle or aunt, or sometimes a new mom or dad!  How could you help someone new feel loved and appreciated?
  • Make a book or draw some pictures of your favorite things; things that you would want to show a new person in your life!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

david a robertsonRichard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, NWT, Canada from Fort Smith, NWT. He is a graduate of the En’owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria’s Creative Writing BFA Program, and the Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a movie with First Generation Films and premiered in September of 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is the author of four collections of short stories, Angel Wing Splash Pattern, The Moon of Letting Go, Godless but Loyal to Heaven and Night Moves, as well as two children’s books with Cree artist, George Littlechild: A Man Called Raven and What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? His first baby book, Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, was the official selection of the Books for BC Babies program and was given to every newborn baby in British Columbia in 2008. Richard followed this up with another board book: Nighty-Night: A Bedtime Song for Babies. His third book for babies, Little You, is now out with Orca Book Publishers. The amazing Julie Flett is the artist. Little You is published in Bush Cree, Dene and South Slavey, courtesy of the South Slave Divisional Board of Education. His new book for babies with Julie Flett is called “We Sang You Home” and it is gorgeous!

julie flettJulie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet, by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS, by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki (Tradewind Books), and My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014–2015.

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