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Berry Song

An Indie Bestseller!

Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade's first self-authored picture book is a gorgeous celebration of the land she knows well and the powerful wisdom of elders.

On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries.

Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry.

Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.

Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade's luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.

Age range: 4-8 years

Pages: 40


"In Caldecott Medalist Goade’s (We Are Water Protectors) solo debut, a Tlingit grandmother and her granddaughter celebrate the earth, foraging through the seasons “on an island at the edge of the wide, wild sea.” Gently evocative, reiterative lines trace the grandmother teaching the child narrator to gather “slippery seaweed,” catch “silvery salmon,” and pick a wide variety of forest berries. When “the berries sing to us,” the duo reciprocates in song (“Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry./ Huckleberry, Soapberry, Strawberry, Crowberry”), so that “berry—and bear—know we are here.” They also express their gratitude for the gift of life-sustaining food, sing for their ancestors and for the future, and seek to “take care of the land...// As the land takes care of us.” Vivid, brilliant hues embolden lushly wrought, soft watercolor and mixed-media illustrations, painting a serene picture of nature and its many gifts in spreads that blur the lines between the landscape and the figures in it. Tapping into themes of people’s connection to nature—and nature’s to people—the volume crucially invites readers to recognize this intersection. An author’s note contextualizes core Tlingit tenets discussed." — Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"A magical intergenerational story of gifts and cultural rituals shared between a grandmother and her granddaughter.

A Tlingit grandmother takes her young granddaughter to a nearby island for a berry-picking adventure in the forest. To alert the forest bear and the various types of berries that glow “like little jewels” of their presence, the pair sing a harvest song: “Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry. Huckleberry, Soapberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.” Grandma teaches the girl that “we speak to the land…as the land speaks to us,” and “we sing too, so the land knows we are grateful.” As they gather berries in the misty rain, they listen to the sounds of insect wings, inhale the sweet scent of cedar, and feel the soft moss on tree branches. Back at home, “the kitchen glows like a summer sky” as the girl, her grandmother, her father, and her younger sister make syrup, marmalade, jelly, jam, pie, and scones to share. When winter comes, the forest is described as “dreaming, waiting for berry song.” Seasons change, marking the passage of time and leading to a bittersweet, full-circle ending. This beautifully written story by Caldecott medalist/debut author Goade features breathtaking, atmospheric artwork inspired by the wild landscape of her hometown, Sheet’ká, Alaska, and incorporates rich symbolism and imagery from Tlingit culture. A closing author’s note elucidates sacred Tlingit principles mentioned in the story, and dazzling endpapers identify different berry varieties. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A touching story of familial love and of respect and gratitude for the bounty of the land. (Picture book. 4-8)"  — Kirkus Reviews

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