Friday, October 21, 2016

October 2016: Spotlight on Julie Flett

We Sang you Home by Richard Van Camp illustrations by Julie Flett (2016) #ownvoices (board book)

I was overjoyed to get my hands on this much-anticipated new board book. Julie Flett is one of my favorite illustrators these days, and I loved this duo's previous collaboration, Little You. After getting my copy of We Sang You Home in the mail, I literally just ordered five more copies, because this is going to be my go-to baby gift book for the rest of my life. There are so few picture books by or with Native characters to begin with, and even fewer authentic/non-problematic ones, it can be really really hard to find anything to share in storytime. I will definitely share this one in my baby storytimes, and if I had smaller family storytimes I would share it there too.

We Sang You Home, like On the Night You Were Born (Tillman) before it, captures that mysterious juxtaposition we feel when we're celebrating a new life--the world is the same, the world is different.  The mundane occurrence of birth alongside the primal miracle of new life entering the world. One of my favorite things about this book is the respect and agency that the child is given. We Sang You Home celebrates the way that a family belongs to and has responsibility to and for each other.

We sang you from a wish. We sang you from a prayer / We sang you home and you sang back / 

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith illustrations by Julie Flett (2016) #ownvoices (board book)

I reviewed this on for SLJ pre-publication*, and fell completely in love. I recently ordered a set of 16 copies "My Heart Fills with Happiness" to add to my library's selection of books to share during baby storytime, since we follow a one-to-one model of book sharing with babies. If you have a smaller storytime, this would definitely work with older ages as well.

 *You can read my review on Amazon here.

When We Were Alone by David Robertson illustrated by Julie Flett (2017) #ownvoices

Watch out for Flett's March 2017 collaboration with David Robertson, When We Were Alone. Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature has seen it and reviewed it well, so I'm really looking forward to taking a closer look when it comes


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