#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

Universality and Interconnectedness of Play Among Earth’s Creatures

... in Julie Flett's "We All Play."

Myra here.

For this year’s reading theme, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

We All Play [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written and Illustrated by Julie Flett Published by Greystone Kids (2021) ISBN: 1771646071 (ISBN13: 9781771646079) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Julie Flett is a master at distilling children’s activities and relationships and behaviours in a way that makes her books alive, fun, and infinitely engaging.

This is felt even more keenly with her latest title, We All Play, where the interconnectedness among species who hide and hop, chase and chirp, yip and yawn is celebrated, as befitting all creatures of God’s earth who play and run and frolic under the sun.

The picturebook is also a feast of Cree words, including a list of vocabulary words at the end of book – a celebration of, and tribute to Flett’s Cree-Metis heritage. As she further explained in her Author’s note:

Whether we are running and hopping through the grass or rolling along the street or pondering creatures in the creek, we are all connected, living in relationship and in care to one another, in kinship. In Cree, this is called wâhkôhtowin.

While deceptively simple, the subtext underlying the story is our shared responsibility towards each other, as we all embrace Nature’s bounty in play and joy.


#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 4 out of target 100

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).

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