This November 2022, we are uplifting the work of the indigenous author and illustrator Michaela Goade!
November 14, 2022
Michaela Goade is a member of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska who has focused her work on celebrating and honoring indigenous cultures and tribes. Her work enables us to learn from indigenous creators, voices, and traditions.
There is so much we can learn from indigenous communities about caring for God’s creation and being in the right relationship with the created world that has given to us abundantly. As United Methodists, we understand indigenous peoples’ culture and traditions to be sacred. (Book of Resolutions #3334)
Berry Song is Michaela’s first self-authored picture book. It is a beautiful lyrical story that reminds us of our connection to the land and sea and that nature gives us many gifts. If we are in harmony with creation, singing the song it sings back with respect, joy, and gratitude, creation will continue to sing and give to us.
This story also echoes indigenous peoples’ sacred connection to their ancestors and the land through traditions like berry picking and making delicious food with berries. We are promised a harmonious future by protecting the earth, knowing our connection creation, and echoing nature’s song.
Be sure to sing the berry song and take in the beautiful pictures.
Questions for the Reader
We have generated some questions to talk about with your reader; please feel free to contextualize them so your little reader can be engaged as you reflect.
- What are some of the gifts or goodness that creation gives to us?
- In this story, we see the wisdom of gratitude. How do we show gratitude to creation? If we do not practice gratitude to creation, how can we?
- Are there foods we eat or special dishes that your family prepares that connect you to your ancestors or family tradition?
- How does this book demonstrate how to be in a good relationship with creation?
God, you have created a world full of goodness.
We give thanks for the many gifts the land and sea provide, and we can taste your love for us in sweet berries and a cool drink.
Move us to care for and respect nature so we can continue to sing of your goodness for generations to come.
We give thanks to you and promise to protect creation.
Other fantastic books illustrated by Michaela Goade include:
Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Medal for its illustrations and was a Kirkus Prize Finalist. This picture book is focused on environmental justice, the sacredness of water, stewardship, and community action. We have a read-along featuring this book with resources to unpack the topics mentioned above.
I Sang You Down from the Stars
This picture book centers on a mother preparing to welcome a new baby. She gathers gifts for her child from nature that connects to pieces of their family, heritage, and cultural identity. There is so much love captured in the illustrations.
This book won the 2018 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Picture Book. It is part of the Sealaska heritage program, which offers school readiness, and respects culture and heritage. It tells an ancient Tlingit story about respect for nature and animals.