When the Shadbush Blooms

by Carla Messinger, Susan Katz, and David Kanietakeron Fadden

The voice of a contemporary Lenape girl opens this picture book that marks the cycle... read more

The voice of a contemporary Lenape girl opens this picture book that marks the cycle of the seasons and the activities associated with each month of the year and also references the link between present and past generations and the continuity of tradition and family. The girl notes that “my grandparents’ grandparents’ walked beside the same stream where I walk with my brother, and we can see what they saw.” Each two-page spread describes an activity in a specific month, identified by its Lenape name in both Lenape and English. During Mechakhokque or Cold Makes the Trees Crack Moon, “Grandma mends our winter clothes and Grandpa tells us stories.” Illustrator David Kanietakeron Fadden brings a wonderful visual dimension to the storytelling by showing the contemporary girl and her family on the right-hand page of each spread, while the girls’ ancestral family is engaged in a parallel activities on each left-hand page. There is also a girl in the long-ago family, along with a brother and a baby, parents and grandparents. The two families are identical in structure, and the narrative often has a fluid feel of moving back and forth through time, with only occasional markers establishing which girl might be speaking. Author’s notes provide additional information about Lenape culture and the seasons, along with a pronunciation guide for the Lenape name of each moon. (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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