Monday, July 15, 2019

Summer Is For Reading! The Sockeye Mother

Summer is for reading!

I just read The Sockeye Mother (2017) by Hetxw'ms Gyetxw (Brett David Huson).

I can see so many classroom uses for this nonfiction picture book! It details the life cycle throughout the year of a sockeye salmon, a key species for the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia. I'll be adding it to my school's purchase list.

Teachers, if your third grade does the Lucy Calkins animal research unit, this book would be perfect! It would also be a great fit for ecosystem standards (fifth grade in my home state), and animal studies standards (fourth grade in my home state).

But wait, there's more! See those text features in the pic below? You know how hard we work to teach young readers how to recognize and use these in all grade levels. This book has an author's note, a map, headings and science vocabulary text boxes (as per pic below).

Beautiful artwork by Natasha Donovan also keeps young readers engaged, as does the connection to the seasons and the Gitxsan people (see pic below).

This book is remarkable in that the overarching theme is how the two species, the sockeye salmon and the people, are interconnected. Nonfiction animal fact text and theme? Yep! It's there.

Debbie Reese has a more detailed review on her blog, American Indians In Children's Literature that you should check out, too. Debbie suggests using the video that is on the Portage & Main Press site (linked above), Youtube, and also her review, to learn how to pronounce some of the Gitxsan words in the book. I'd also suggest showing the video to your students. Have fun and do your best with the words and use it as a model of your learning, along with your students!

There is also a video on Youtube of the author, Brett Huson, talking about culture, the importance of women, mothers, grandmothers, and family, as well as where the story of The Sockeye Mother came from. This is a longer, but very interesting video that teachers will want to watch/listen to and then choose parts to share with students.

Get it, teach it, love it.

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