Discover the wonder of ancient sea gardens on the Northwest Coast
Sea gardens have been created by First Peoples on the Northwest coast for more than three thousand years. These gardens consist of stone reefs that are constructed at the lowest tide line, encouraging the growth of clams and other marine life on the gently sloped beach.
This lyrical story follows a young child and an older family member who set out to visit a sea garden early one morning, as the lowest tides often occur at dawn. After anchoring their boat, they explore the beach, discover the many sea creatures that live there, hear the sputtering of clams and look closely at the reef. They reflect on the people who built the wall long ago, as well as those who have maintained it over the years. After digging for clams, they tidy up the beach, then return home.
An author’s note provides further information about sea gardens (also known as clam gardens), which yield a reliable food source and have been traditional places of learning. They have been found along the Pacific coast, from Alaska to British Columbia to Washington State, and some of these gardens are being restored today.
The manuscript has been vetted and approved by the scientists of the Clam Garden Network and Kwaxsistalla Wathl’thla Clan Chief Adam Dick. Roy Henry Vickers, whose ancestry includes the Tsimshian, Haida and Heiltsuk First Nations, has created hauntingly beautiful images to accompany the text.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
>With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
Name the author and illustrator of a text and define the role of each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.
Kay Weisman is a librarian who has worked in elementary schools and public library youth services departments. She is a longstanding reviewer for Booklist and has contributed articles to various journals, including Book Links, NoveList and School Library Monthly. Her research for this picture book debut included traveling to several sea gardens to observe archeologists and marine ecologists at work. Kay lives in Vancouver.
Roy Henry Vickers is an artist, speaker, storyteller and a leader in the Indigenous community. His art is inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest Coast and the ancient cultures of his ancestors. He carries the Chieftainship, Tlakwagila, from the House of Walkus in Wuikinuxv. Roy has also received the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada for his involvement in the community. He holds an honorary Doctor of Letters from York University in Toronto. His art can be found in collections around the world, including a painting gifted to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Praise for author Kay Weisman and illustrator Roy Henry Vickers for If You Want to Visit a Sea Garden:
“The text and illustrations combine grace and knowledge, offering a stunning nonfiction picture book that celebrates First Nations cultural traditions.” — School Library Journal, starred review
“This engaging tale is a natural for lessons about ecology and units on Indigenous peoples, and the illustrations will pop for story-hour audiences.” — Booklist
“A lyrical story for nature-loving readers, told with reverence for the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.” — Kirkus Reviews
“This beautiful book will enhance awareness of the tradition through its impressive visual presentation.” — CM Review of Materials
Praise for Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd for Hello Humpback!:
“Graceful, well-constructed rhymes pair with First Nations artist Vickers’s crisp, luminous scenes … It’s a gorgeous glimpse of the distinctive landscapes and creatures of the Northwest, and it will enchant residents and nonlocals alike.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd for Peace Dancer:
“A rare variant of a nearly universal myth, with powerfully evocative illustrations.” — Kirkus Review