#ReadIntl2020 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Picture Books Poetry Poetry Friday Reading Themes

[Poetry Friday] Weaving Spells Of Song And Prayer For Protection

.. in Traci Sorell's "At The Mountain's Base" with art by Weshoyot Alvitre.

Myra here.

Thank you to Nix The Comfort Zone for hosting this week.

The illustrator of this gorgeous picturebook is also known as a comic book artist, which makes this a perfect book for our current reading theme. Traci Sorell’s effortless poetic voice also makes this a great fit for Poetry Friday.

At The Mountain’s Base (Amazon | Book Depository)

Poetry by: Traci Sorell Illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre
Published by Kokila (2019)
ISBN: 0735230609 (ISBN13: 9780735230606). Literary Award: American Indian Youth Literature Award Nominee (2020) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Told in verse, this is a powerful depiction of womanity coming together in quiet song, prayer, and poetry for protection and deliverance.

There is also a cumulative quality to the verse that is appealing and comforting. Yet, rather than a building up and expanding, the reader gets a sense of traveling within – a journeying into the inner sanctum of one’s meditative weaving, like saying the rosary, one’s hands busily fingering the beads, breathing out the worry, fears, anxieties.

In the Author’s Note, Sorell explained that this chant of protection is meant for women “from American Indian and Alaska Native Nations” who “have served in intertribal conflicts.” It appears that women have been recently serving at proportionately higher rates in this capacity.

Those lines from the above image are striking: the grasping with one’s hands to form a blessing, the pleading for peace, Mother Earth in the skies, the tie-dyed colours of one love. This is a gorgeous picturebook in verse that I hope finds its way to you soon.

#ReadIntl2020 Update: Traci Sorell is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee nation. Weshoyot Alvitre is Tongva and known within the indigenous art community as an illustrator.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

5 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Weaving Spells Of Song And Prayer For Protection


    ooooh. I need this book! It’s gorgeous. What a beautiful concept–the chant for women. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this. I admire Traci Sorell’s work. Her book “We are Grateful” is wonderful, read on this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUYe12tOqhQ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing a peek into this beautiful picture book here. I’m so intrigued by the idea of a “chant of protection.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maryleehahn

    I love this book! We looked at it long and hard for the Huck Award!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a lovely book, and your post nudges me to reread it! I’m looking at cumulative picture books, and I had forgotten about that aspect of this book. Thanks, Myra!


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