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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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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

Editorial Reviews

"Just as the original Braiding Sweetgrass offers a lifeline back to Indigenous teachings, this adaptation augments these stories with exquisite visuals such as Skywoman Falling and the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address as an epic gathering of all beings, and it wraps key concepts and questions within a braid of sweetgrass. 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

Other Print

"What an open-armed invitation for youth to enter into relationship with the ideas, the stories and the teachings from Robin Wall Kimmerer's phenomenal and deserved bestseller Braiding Sweetgrass! This adaptation by Monique Gray Smith, the renowned and beloved writer for children and young adults, allows young readers to take into their lives the offerings and guidance of Robin's stories, no matter what their experience is, no matter where they come from, no matter who they are. In language that respects the love for all living things that young people are born with, accompanied by powerful illustrations that are works of heart, this book is itself a beautiful braid of three women, dare I say Three Sisters--Robin Wall Kimmerer, Monique Gray Smith and Nicole Neidhardt, brilliant storytellers, story-tenders and storykeepers.
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. Imagine growing up guided by the questions "How can we make our relations with the world sacred again?" and "What will your offering be?" This book will plant a garden in young hearts and then, oh, what a world!"—Shelagh Rogers, OC, host and producer of CBC Radio One's The Next Chapter, and former chancellor of the University of Victoria

Other Print

"Monique Gray Smith has exquisitely captured the tone of Robin Wall Kimmerer's voice in this masterful adaptation for young readers of Braiding Sweetgrass. It has all the power, poetry and passion of the adult edition but there is a delightful intimacy that will make YA readers feel as if Kimmerer is holding an intimate conversation with them about Indigenous knowledge and it's connection to the well-being of the planet. 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

Other Print

"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. So many teachings within the pages. I love the mix of photos, illustrations, and text boxes filled with reflective questions and translations. I will be purchasing boxes of this incredible book to share with loved ones! Chii miigwech!"—Angeline Boulley, #1 NYT Bestselling author of Firekeeper's Daughter

Other Print

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