Review of We Are Water Protectors

We Are Water Protectors
by Carole Lindstrom; illus. by Michaela Goade
Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g
3/20    978-1-250-20355-7    $17.99

The book opens with a young Indigenous girl collecting water with her grandmother, who tells her that “water is the first medicine.” Vibrant blues, greens, and purples depict the river as it flows in the background of the beautifully composed spread. The river then flows onto the next spread, encircling a mother and her unborn child. The water “nourished us inside our mother’s body. As it nourishes us here on Mother Earth.” With every page-turn, the river continues to flow; it becomes the young girl’s hair as she leads members of her community to where the “black snake” threatens to take over their land and water. The refrain “We stand / With our songs / And our drums / We are still here,” which punctuates and strengthens the main text, is printed in italics and can easily be read as the voice of the ­community come together. The book closes with members of multiple Native communities united at Standing Rock to stop the “black snake.” Back matter includes more information about water protection and Standing Rock; a ­glossary of Ojibwe, Tlingit, and Lakota words; an illustrator’s note; and an “Earth Steward and Water Protector Pledge.”

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Nicholl Denice Montgomery

Nicholl Denice Montgomery is currently working on a PhD at Boston College in the curriculum and instruction department. Previously, she worked as an English teacher with Boston Public Schools.

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