Written and Illustrated by: Michaela Goade
Published by: Little, Brown and Company, 2022
In her beautifully illustrated book, Berry Song, author and illustrator Michaela Goade celebrates the gifts of the forest with wisdom, gratitude, and kinship with the land. In Berry Song, a young girl and her grandmother go to the forest in search of tléikw (berries), just as their Tlingit ancestors have always done. As they pick berries, they sing to the land, to the berries, and to their ancestors, offering gratitude for the gifts of the forest.
Nature nurtures us
While foraging, the grandmother shares wisdom with her young granddaughter, teaching her to listen to the forest because we are a part of the land, and the land is a part of us. Berry Song’s delightful illustrations will take you deep into the magical coastal rainforest of Goade’s ancestral lands, while its joyful prose celebrates Indigenous values of treating the land and its beings with great reverence and gratitude.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ relationship with the land
Readers from all cultures can learn valuable lessons from Goade’s “note from the author” at the end of the book, which celebrates and shares Indigenous Peoples’ reciprocal relationship with the forest and land. Goade thoughtfully explains:
“I layered in different themes – the importance of traditional food gathering activities, the passing on of ancestral knowledge and values, the cycle of life, our intertwining relationship to each other and to the land rooted in respect, reciprocity, and balance. In the end, I wanted to communicate love and gratitude for the land that raised me while inviting readers to nurture their own relationship to the land.”
Take children on a walk through a forest or community park with trees and consider all the different parts of the forest that we can be grateful for. Encourage children to express their gratitude aloud.
See Appendix F “Traditional Knowledge and Gratitude Walk” in Trees and Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children for more.
Consider using this book to highlight the gifts from the forest and the relationships between the forest and all beings. We’ve listed activities taken from various PLT products that Berry Song can help enhance.
Use this book with the following activities from PLT’s Trees & Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children:
- Follow Your Nose
- My Tree and Me
- Home Tweet Home
Use this book with the following activities from PLT’s flagship curriculum Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide:
Try a few of our free and simplified family activities, perfect for families!