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Young Adult Nonfiction Aboriginal & Indigenous

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults

Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

by (author) Robin Wall Kimmerer & Monique Gray Smith

illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt

Lerner Publishing Group
Initial publish date
Nov 2022
Aboriginal & Indigenous, Botany, Cultural Heritage
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12
  • Reading age: 13 to 14


Drawing from her experiences as an Indigenous scientist, botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer demonstrated how all living things—from strawberries and witch hazel to water lilies and lichen—provide us with gifts and lessons every day in her best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass. Adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith, this new edition reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us. With informative sidebars, reflection questions, and art from illustrator Nicole Neidhardt, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults brings Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the lessons of plant life to a new generation.

About the authors

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her first book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. Her writings have appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals. She lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Robin Wall Kimmerer's profile page

Monique Gray Smith is a mixed–heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry and a proud mom of twins. Monique is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. Her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Monique and her family are blessed to live on Lkwungen territory in Victoria, British Columbia. 

Monique Gray Smith's profile page

Née à Santa Fe au Nouveau-Mexique, Nicole Neidhardt est d’origine diné (navajo) du clan Kiiyaa’áanii. Elle est titulaire d’un baccalauréat en beaux-arts et complète actuellement une maîtrise en beaux-arts à l’Université OCAD de Toronto. L’identité diné de Nicole est au coeur de sa pratique artistique qui intègre notamment l’usage du pochoir au mylar, la peinture, l’art numérique et les fresques de grandes dimensions. Elle vit à Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Nicole Neidhardt's profile page


  • Winner, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12
  • Winner, Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
  • Winner, The Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Winner, Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Short-listed, Parents Magazine Best Kids' Books
  • Winner, Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award for Children's Literature
  • Winner, Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year
  • Winner, Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

Editorial Reviews

"Urging a look toward history and tradition to teach us how to answer the questions of the future, Gray Smith adapts Wall Kimmerer's wisdom for a new, hungry audience."—Foreword Reviews

"Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults is my new favorite book! What a great way for young people (and anyone, really) to learn about our healing medicines. Chii miigwech!"—Angeline Boulley, #1 NYT Bestselling author of Firekeeper's Daughter

"[F]illed with legends, reminiscences, bits of history, sidebars, drawings, and gentle challenges to readers, encouraging them to consider making changes in their actions, beliefs, and values. Truly, a lovely, calming addition for collections."—Booklist

"This beautiful, imaginative revisioning is a gift to our children that teaches them how to follow the path of our ancestors."—Diane Wilson, author of The Seed Keeper

"Gray Smith's adaptation makes this visionary exploration of Indigenous connections to the land, to plants and to storytelling and story-making accessible to a whole new readership and hopefully will inspire young people to rise to the challenges of the Climate Crisis." –Jeffrey Canton, Children's Book Columnist, The Globe and Mail

"Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults is a book to grow up with and grow into. It is both medicine and a loud and urgent call to honour the gifts of the earth and the responsibility to give gifts to the earth in return."—Shelagh Rogers, OC, host and producer of CBC Radio One's The Next Chapter, and former chancellor of the University of Victoria

"A book that is entirely in a class of its own, this belongs in every collection for teens."—starred, School Library Journal

"Both an urgent, essential call to action and an uplifting love letter." –starred, Kirkus Reviews

"Smith smartly streamlines language while staying true to the narrative's core concepts by adding brief sidebars that explain featured terminology, pose reflection questions, and highlight important passages, inviting collaborative discussion and acting as a call to action."—starred, Publishers Weekly

Other titles by Monique Gray Smith

Other titles by Nicole Neidhardt