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Indigenous People's Day -- Perfect Picture Book Friday

Monday is Indigenous People's Day. I wanted to re-share a couple posts as well a a new one. Something I have learned over the years is that books open the door to learning about other people and cultures. I have learned through reading books by and about people of other cultures, that we are in so many ways the same, and in so many ways unique and special.

Title: Birdsong

Author and Illustrator: Julie Flett

Publisher: Greystone Press, 2019

For ages 4 and up

Themes: Intergenerational friendships, death, moving, Indigenous People

This is tender and quiet story about a Katherena who moves from her home in a city by the sea to the country where she makes a new friend.

The story is told in first person by Katherena who meets and becomes friends with her elderly neighbor Agnes. Through the seasons their friendship grows as Agnes' health changes. Katherena and her mother continue their friendship to the end.

Opening Pages:


It's a mucky spring morning as we pack up the last of our belongings and leave our little home in the city by the sea.

I'm going to miss my friends and cousins and aunties and uncles. I'm going to miss my bedroom window and the tree outside.

"Goodbye, tree friend," I whisper.

Why I love this book:

While moving and death are challenging topics, they are also some of the most indelible moments in our lives.

I still remember the sadness of moving away from my first home. It was many decades ago and I don't remember what the inside of the house looked like, I couldn't give you directions to find the house, but I remember the sadness of leaving something behind.

I also remember when my grandfather died. A sense of sadness I didn't understand. A confusion of him being there one day, then being taken to the hospital and never coming home again only to be seen one last time laying in an open coffin at the church.

This book allows a child and adult to be there in the moment. To sit with loss, and cherish the moments of togetherness, and accept and sit with the sense of sadness.

Not easy, but real and important to dealing with life, changes, and death.

Katherena uses her love of art to express herself, to bring joy, and to deal with her feelings.

Julie's art is soft and open, inviting you in. It allows you to be a part of this life journey.

On the copyright page, you will find a small glossary of the Cree-Métis words shared in this book.

Activities and Resources:

Learn more about Julie Flett and her books.

Discover more about Indigenous People's Literature. Books that are recommend and those that are not.

Check out the full list of 2020 literature awards. Check them out from your library or purchase them for your collection. If your library doesn't own them, ask them to add them to their collection.

Spend time with people from other generations and cultures. Share who you are and learn more about the people you meet.

Make pictures for your friends.

Check out my blog post from April about We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade.

And another favorite, Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard illustrated by Juanita Martinez-Neal

For more Perfect Picture Books, read Susanna Hill's blog.

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Beth Anderson
Beth Anderson
Oct 10, 2020

You're so right - moving and a family death change your reality forever and leave a mark. Excellent topics for books to help kids see there's a way through these difficult times.


There is something so wistful about the cover. It's amazing how art, when made and used skillfully, evokes emotion. This sounds like such a beautiful and poignant book. Thanks for sharing!

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