Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte- Marie and Julie Flett

Still This Love Goes On

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Author and Songwriter

Julie Flett, Illustrator

Greystone Kids, Poetry, September 22, 2022

Pages: 40

Suitable for ages: 3-7 years

A New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2022

NAMED A BEST PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR: Kirkus Reviews, Globe and Mail, and Chicago Public Library

Themes: Indigenous people,  Nature, Seasons, Family, Community, Traditions, Song

Opening: “Sat beside a beaver dam and watched the winter grow. Ice was hard with little tracks appearing on the snow.”

Publisher’s Synopsis:

With breathtaking lyrics by internationally renowned Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and stunning images by award-winning Cree-Métis author and illustrator Julie Flett, this picture book, based on the same name, is a love letter celebrating seasons, place, Indigenous traditions and community. At the hear of the heart of the picture book is a gentle message about missing our loves ones and promise of seeing each other again. 

It is a song of hope   Of power and place and change and time. Of summer flowers turning tields to sun, and hearts filled with drumbeats. Read it. Sing it. Share it.

Why I love Still This Love Goes On:

I am always searching for beautiful books that represent the Indigenous and Native American cultures for children. It mention sweetgrass, morning, cranes, horses, buffalo, drums, jingle dresses and starlit nights, which highlight the relationship between the people and their culture. This book is a gem.

Julie Flett’s two-page spreads will mesmerize children as they pour over her beautiful pastels. I love that there is so much space in each spread, which gives the artist the time to work her magic with readers. The cover is beautiful!

Resources: There is sheet music of Buffy Sainte Marie’s beloved song at the end.  And make sure your read both Buffy and Julies about messages to readers about the inspiration behind the music and the artwork for this very happy book. If you are American or Canadian, read books about the indigenous people in your area. Enjoy indigenous artwork. And celebrate Indigenous People’s Day Oct. 9, 2023 or Native American Month in November 2023. 

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a world-renowned and Academy Award-winning Cree singer–songwriter, activist, educator, and visual artist. She has made her voice heard through her music, establishing herself among the ranks of songwriter greats. . Her other books for kids include Hey Little Rockabyeillustrated by Ben Hodson, and Tâpwê and the Magic Hat

Julie Flett is a Cree–Métis author, illustrator, and artist who has received numerous awards for her books, including two Governor General’s Awards and the American Indian Library Association Award. Her work has been reviewed widely, including in the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and Publishers Weekly. Her books Birdsong and We All Playalso published by Greystone Kids, earned multiple starred reviews and appeared on many best of the year lists.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library book.

 

Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal

Zonia’s Rain Forest

Juana Martinez-Neal, Author and Illustrator

Candlewick, Fiction, Mar. 30, 2021

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Amazon rain forest, Indigenous people, Wildlife, Nature, Environmental dangers

Opening: “Zonia lives with those she loves in the rain forest, where it is always green and full of life.”

Synopsis:

Zonia’s home is the Peruvian rain forest. It is her backyard and her front yard, her neighborhood and her playground. Every morning, it calls to her. Every morning, she answers: hello to the sloth family, greetings to the giant anteater, a run with the speedy jaguar…

One morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia in a different voice, a troubled voice. This is the story of that morning.

Why I like this book:

Zonia’s Rain Forest is a visual feast for the eyes and spirit. It carries a beautiful message that nature must be cherished and cared for. It is the perfect opening for discussion with children about the environment and the role the rain forests play in protecting our planet.

Zonia, is an Asháninka girl, who lives in the rain forest and loves to explore its many wonders.  Each morning, this joyful child dances and sings her way through the forest greeting all of her friends and cultivating goodness. Children will love following the Blue Morph butterfly that accompanies Zonia on her journey of transformation.  One morning she discovers that a patch of the forest has become victim to deforestation. It frightens her but she knows she must find a way to protect her home.

Juana Martinez-Neal’s book is a treasure. Her illustrations are exquisite and are created with acrylic colored pencil, pastel, ink and linocuts and woodcuts printed on handmade banana bark paper. The result is breathtaking and an important choice for Zonia’s story. She beautifully captures the lush green rain forest abundant with life. Zonia wears a cheerful yellow tunic, which accents her brown-skin and showcases her happy, sunny nature. Just look at that cover!

Zonia and her people are learning to live in harmony with their surroundings. But the rest of world is impatient and wants to develop the Amazon rain forest. Make sure you read the backmatter about The Asháninka People, with a population more than 73,000, A Few Facts about the Amazon, and Threats to the Amazon. The planet and their way of life is being threatened by greed and it impacts everyone.

Resources:  This is a perfect Earth Day read! Talk about the rain forest with your children or students. Encourage them to draw pictures of their favorite wildlife in the story. Encourage kids to get involved in projects for Earth Day, April 22. There are very simple things that can be done, like planting a tree in a home or school yard.

Juana Martinez-Neal is the Peruvian born daughter and granddaughter of painters. Her debut as an author-illustrator, Alma and How She Got Her Name, was awarded a a Caldecott Honor and was published in Spanish as Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre. She also illustrated La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, for which she won a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, Babymoon by Hayley Barrett, and Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, which won a Robert E. Sibert Medal. Juana Martinez-Neal lives in Arizona with her family. Visit her online at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by Candlewick Press in exchange for a review.