Written & Illustrated by: Julie Flett
For Ages: 3 years and up
Language: English & some Cree
Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, Own Voices, Intergenerational Stories, Single-Parent Families, Moving, Nature, Seasonal Changes, Drawing.
Summary: Katherena is a young Cree girl who moves with her mother from a little house by the sea into a little house in the country. Near this new little house is an elderly woman named Agnes that Katherena befriends, and they spend lots of time outdoors together gardening and chatting together.
This beautiful book follows the changing of the seasons and the reader watches Katherena and Agnes grow closer together. Simple and emotional, we see how Agnes’ health declines while Katherena’s love of drawing returns. Birdsong, like all of author/illustrator Julie Flett’s work, is breathtaking. The natural landscapes take over the page and the colors evoke the seasons changing so well I can practically feel the breeze on my face and the chill in my fingers. I love the Cree words integrated seamlessly into the text, and the pronunciation guide is beneficial for readers unfamiliar with Cree. This splendid story will occupy shelf space in our home until it turns to dust.
This book was kindly sent by Greystone Kids, but all opinions are my own!
Julie 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.