Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 7
- Grade: k to 2
“Textured acrylic paintings, done in rich earth tones...portray the sanctity of the natural environment...a sensitive, respectful portrayal of contemporary Native Americans.” — School Library Journal
This simple story in Cree and English explores a young child’s relationship to his grandmother, or nôkhom, as they go for a walk in the woods to pick rosehips. The young boy follows his grandmother, walking, listening, picking, praying and eating, just as she does. In doing so, he absorbs the rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage.
Caitlin Dale Nicholson’s acrylic-on-canvas illustrations portray the close relationship between the boy and his grandmother and the natural beauty of the bush. Her text has been translated into Cree by Leona Morin-Neilson, who was also the inspiration for niwîcihâw / I Help.
Formerly titled Niwechihaw / I Help, this revised paperback edition features updated text, including Cree syllabics in addition to standard roman orthography and English.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).
About the authors
Caitlin Dale Nicholson is a graduate of the First Nations Studies program at the University of Northern British Columbia, and she teaches art and English at an alternate school in Prince George. She is also learning about traditional plant medicines from Leona Morin-Neilson. Caitlin’s first picture book, Niwechihaw / I Help, has been highly acclaimed. She lives with her family in Prince George.
LEONA MORIN-NEILSON teaches Cree at the “Power of Friendship” Aboriginial Headstart program in Prince George, British Columbia, and at the University of Northern British Columbia. She also teaches people in her community about traditional plants and how they can be used for medicinal purposes.
Susan Ouriou is an award-winning literary translator who has translated the fiction of Quebec, Latin-American, French and Spanish authors. She won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation in 2009 for Pieces of Me by Charlotte Gingras, after first being shortlisted for The Road to Chlifa by Michèle Marineau and then for Necessary Betrayals by Guillaume Vigneault. The Road to Chlifa was also awarded an honour list placing by IBBY (International Board of Books for Youth) as were Naomi and Mrs. Lumbago by Gilles Tibo, This Side of the Sky by Marie-Francine Hébert and Pieces of Me. Necessary Betrayals was also voted one of the 100 best books of 2002 by the Globe and Mail. Another translation, The Thirteenth Summer by José Luis Olaizola, was runner-up for the John Glassco Translation Prize. She has worked as the director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre and as faculty for the Banff Centre's Aboriginal Emerging Writers residency. She is the editor of the 2010 anthology Beyond Words – Translating the World.
Textured acrylic paintings, done in rich earth tones…portray the sanctity of the natural environment…a sensitive, respectful portrayal of contemporary Native Americans.
School Library Journal
…a quiet narrative…broad brush strokes and blurred colours conveying light and atmosphere as much as personality…the simple verbs in present tense provide a wealth of clues about the workings of the Cree language.
…acrylic-on-canvas paintings give a dream-like feel to the story, making it almost a nostalgic look at childhood…Recommended.