Review of Mnoomin maan’gowing / The Gift of Mnoomin

Mnoomin maan’gowing / The Gift of Mnoomin
by Brittany Luby; illus. by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley; trans. into Anishinaabemowin by Mary Ann Corbiere
Primary    Groundwood    36 pp.
10/23    9781773068466    $21.99
e-book ed.  9781773068480    $16.99

A lyrical text written in Anishinaabemowin and English tells about the journey of a seed and of an ecosystem. “A seed is a story you can hold in your hand.” The mnoomin seed travels first in the waterways, where it remembers Mayfly, who fed Pike, “who in turn nourished the earth below”; Eagle, who makes sure Muskrat does not eat “more than the field could bear”; and Moose, who “uproots crowding plants” by walking through the water. When the seeds sprout in the water, their leaves provide hiding places for small fish and protection for Duck and her ducklings on shore. Luby’s reverent text then describes the traditional method of harvesting what grows. The winnowed grains are danced upon, washed, roasted, and eaten. Some are stored, and some sown for future harvest. Pawis-Steckley’s vibrant color palette captures the hues of sunlight throughout the story as well as the lush flora and fauna and the warmth of the human interactions. Notes about the balance of the ecosystem and about the book’s use of language are appended.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Naomi R. Caldwell

Naomi R. Caldwell, PhD, is an educator and a board member for the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature.

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