The range of target ages for "picture books" can be debated, and this particular title and its related books from recent years are certainly aimed at upper age elementary or middle grades. Even so, this is a picture book of outstanding value and appeal. With support, it can be a valuable resource with younger ages as well.
|Annick Press, 2022|
SKY WOLF'S CALL: The Gift of Indigenous Knowledge is written by the award-winning team Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger. (The other titles in this masterful series are WHAT THE EAGLE SEES and TURTLE ISLAND.)
This latest addition to the titles about Indigenous People of North America (especially in the political area now known as Canada) reveals traditional knowledge and values related to WATER, FIRE and SMOKE, FOOD SECURITY, HEALING, SKY, and KEEPING KNOWLEDGE with the PEOPLE. The four foundations for all of these are stated on opening pages:
"Everything is connected.
The world is a gift.
The sacred is a vital part of knowing.
We are always learning."
The format for this title (and the series) incorporates traditional book elements (table of contents, index, picture captions, sidebars, chapter titles and subheadings, with back matter that includes glossary, bibliography, and added reading sources). The text itself is a readable and appealing blend of explanatory text, storytelling, and profiles of Indigenous knowledge leaders among past and contemporary communities. By spanning many centuries through legendary tales, historical practices, modern applications, archival photos and modern images with photos, illustrations, and diagrams, these brief but potent chapters are very user-friendly and also invite questions and participation from readers. I was especially pleased and impressed that the full presentation allows readers to see Natives as contemporary people in society, not as stereotypes or icons of some imagined/westernized past
The author points out early that traditional tales are under the ownership and rights of the particular Native nations and may not be told/shared without permission. In this case he chooses to share stories from his own Pikani heritage.
I first encountered these earlier titles through CYBILS AWARDS nominations and I welcome this latest addition. It is an ideal match for its intended yound audiences but is a worthy read for adults, too.