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I Sang You Down from the Stars

New York Times bestseller!

A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book

This unique baby book sings with Native cultural detail, while striking a universal chord in its celebration of the blossoming of love that comes with expecting and welcoming a new baby—with art by New York Times bestselling illustrator and Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade

 
As she waits for the arrival of her new baby, a mother-to-be gathers gifts to create a sacred bundle. A white feather, cedar and sage, a stone from the river . . .

Each addition to the bundle will offer the new baby strength and connection to tradition, family, and community. As they grow together, mother and baby will each have gifts to offer each other.

Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Michaela Goade, two Indigenous creators, bring beautiful words and luminous art together in a resonant celebration of the bond between mother and child.

Pages: 32

Ages 4-8

By Tasha Spillett-Summer

Illustrated by Michaela Goade

Praise: 

 *"Gorgeous, shimmering, heartfelt."— Kirkus

"...will make a beautiful gift for an expecting family."— Shelf Awareness

“I loved you before I met you./ Before I held you in my arms,/ I sang you down from the stars,” begins Spillett-Sumner’s gentle tale, which shares, per an author’s note, “the traditional understanding of my Nation, the Inniniwak, and many other Indigenous peoples globally: that babies choose their parents.” As an Indigenous woman sings to the sky, a shooting star leads her to a white eagle feather, beginning her journey to create a “sacred medicine bundle” for her unborn child that’s filled with items from nature—a feather, sage and cedar, a “star blanket,” and a smooth stone from the river. When the child arrives, she relays how these items will keep the baby connected to their Native identity. Caldecott Medalist Goade (who is Tlingit) contributes enchantingly expansive, star-stippled landscapes done in watercolor and mixed media, with a semi-translucent ribbon of stars tracing the connection between “all living things.” A tender celebration of parenthood that will resonate with Native and non-Native readers alike. Back matter includes an author’s and an artist’s note. Ages 4–8. (Apr.) — Publishers Weekly

"A heart-warming story from an Indigenous perspective about a mother preparing for her baby's entrance into the world. Spillett-Sumner is Inniniwak and shares with readers how a sacred medicine bundle is created for a child with natural elements such as sage, cedar, stone, and eagle plume. The care and love felt through the pages of the illustrations are dreamlike and ethereal. Readers follow the mother and baby's journey through the seasons and explanations of the medicine bundle and traditional teachings. The emotions stirred by word choices and visual elements can be overwhelmingly tender. In a moment where the mother stitches a star blanket with the help of her family, she is then shown spending time alone to complete it. During this time, she says something that captures the essence of the book, "With each stitch, I whispered a prayer for you and thought about wrapping you up warm and safe, just like you are now in my belly." VERDICT Recommended for all libraries especially those with baby programs and other early literacy initiatives. — School Library Journal


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