#DecolonizeReading2023 Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Symphonies Of Nature Captured By Indigenous Creators

"We take care of the land as the land takes care of us." - Michaela Goade "... and still this love goes on and on. Still this love goes on." - Buffy Sainte-Marie and illustrations by Julie Flett.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). It has been awhile since I joined this reading community and I intend to be more present this year, life circumstances permitting.

Similar to last year, 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
  5. Translated or international literature

Still This Love Goes On (Amazon | Book Depository)

Song by Buffy Sainte-Marie Illustrated by Julie Flett
Published by Greystone Kids (2022)
ISBN: 9781771648073 (ISBN10: 1771648074) Literary Award: CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards for Sing (2023) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Based on “pathfinder… innovator artist, and a disrupter of the status quo” Buffy Sainte-Marie’s song (can you tell that I love her author bio), this book is a celebration of the turning of the seasons, humans’ indivisibility with nature, and love infinite, it “goes on and on. Still this love goes on.”

I have always been a fan of Julie Flett’s art – see my review of We All Play here [Amazon | Book Depository] and I have recommended Birdsong in quite a number of conference presentations I have done [Amazon | Book Depository]. With her trademark spare style and muted colors, there is something comforting and soothing as the reader flips through the pages, a warmth that emanates from the softness of the images.

The song speaks of constancy and a heart that beats in time with the earth’s pulse, with every bloom of sunflowers in fields, with every hip-sway in a jingle-dance while sweetgrass burns in a dream’s echo.

The refrain “…still this love goes on and on. Still this love goes on” feels like a fervent prayer, a ceremonial dance, a talisman against all that would harm the grass, the painted ponies, the soaring singers – a guarantee of boundless love despite and in spite of humanity’s follies and foibles. I found a youtube video of Buffy Sainte-Marie singing the song live – she is such a rockstar.

Berry Song (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written and Illustrated by Michaela Goade
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers (2022)
ISBN: 9780316494175 (ISBN10: 0316494178) Literary Award: Caldecott Honor 2023 Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

We speak to the land as the land speaks to us.

We take care of the land as the land takes care of us.

We are a part of the land as the land is a part of us.

I read this book last year and revisited it once again after learning about its Caldecott Honor win just a few days ago. I was in awe of this book the first time I read it, and I remain even more in awe after repeated re-readings to prepare for this post.

Michaela Goade has captured the magical nature of the forest as grandmother and grandchild enter a canopy of greens – and how humans seem to lose their edges as their beings fuse with the trees, the leaves, the colorful berries that give joy, nourishment, life.

I was especially taken by the detailed Author’s Note at the end where Goade shared snapshots of her childhood, growing up with the sound of the berry song, as she prompts readers to also listen to nature’s song that is everywhere, and hand to heart, say: “Gunalchéesh” – a gratitude that overflows.

This rootedness with the land that breathes and sustains us human beings – is the symphony that Goade plays in this picturebook. Her art – infused with boundless joy, enchantment, the wondrous soul of nature – is a testament to this. My dryad spirit rejoices in all the greens and beauty and nature’s hum, a vibration I feel within my spirit. This is a special book. Find it and share it with all your bright-eyed marvels.

#DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 11/12 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).

2 comments on “[Monday Reading] Symphonies Of Nature Captured By Indigenous Creators

  1. I am captivated by the beautiful images throughout this book! Adding this one to my TBR – its at my library, but it is closed today.


  2. I’ve noted Still This Love Goes On, Myra, looks beautiful, as is Berry Song, which I shared today, too. Your review is wonderful. I loved the “extra” at the back, too. Have a lovely week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

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