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.