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When the Shadbush Blooms

Written by Carla MessingerAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Carla Messinger and Susan KatzAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Susan Katz
Illustrated by David Kanietakeron FaddenAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by David Kanietakeron Fadden

When the Shadbush Blooms Cover

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My grandparents’ grandparents walked beside the same stream where I walk with my brother, and we can see what they saw.

Today when a Lenape Indian girl ventures to the stream to fish for shad, she knows that another girl did the same generations before. Through the cycle of the seasons, what is important has remained: being with family, knowing when berries are ripe for picking, listening to stories in a warm home.

Told by Traditional Sister and Contemporary Sister, each from her own time, this is a book about tradition and about change. Then and now are not so very different when the shadbush blooms.


“The book captures so much that is Native: cycles, the particular roles and joys of people of different ages, plants and animals as integral parts of life, the richness of lives lived simply, and our connection to the past, and thus to the future. The language is crystalline, pure and sparkling, nothing wasted; nothing more needed.” --Karen Coody Cooper (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), Museum Training Coordinator, National Museum of the American Indian

“Both text and pictures invite you in, not as a stranger viewing a different culture, but a welcome guest. ...It does not imbed a Native nation in the distant past. Instead, we see both then and now side by side, deeply connected, flowing into each other.” --Joseph Bruchac, Abenaki storyteller and writer

“Over and against the plethora of ‘multicultural’ writing for young children, this is the one I would choose to show them our pre-conquest lives: the balance of life, the belonging to the land and to each other, and how, for the fortunate among us, it still is that way. The traditions live, we adapt; what sustained us then, sustains now.” --Doris Seale (Dakota, Cree, and Abenaki), poet, and editor/author of Through Indian Eyes and A Broken Flute

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