First Nation Communities READ (FNCR) and Periodical Marketers of Canada (PMC) are pleased to announce jointly that: Wild Berries and Pakwa che Menisu published by Simply Read Books are the FNCR 2014-2015 title selection for year-long community reading. Julie Flett, author-illustrator of Wild Berries and Pakwa che Menisu, is the first-time recipient of PMC’s new Aboriginal Literature Award. There are two editions of this book by Julie Flett. Wild Berries is bilingual (English and n-dialect Cree or Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area). Pakwa che Menisu is Cree only (n-dialect from the Cross Lake, Norway House area).
Cree/Métis author and illustrator Julie Flett has created a charming picture book about the simple act of blueberry picking. Grandmother and grandson Clarence always picked berries together. Even when the boy was a baby Grandmother took him out to the land. Grandmother sang to the child. Now that he has grown Clarence can carry the pail by himself and sing songs with his Grandmother. Grandmother has taught Clarence what to look for when the pair are in the woods. She carefully watches for bears, they discover a spider weaving a web, and they gives thanks together when the picking is complete. The love between Grandmother and grandson is evident throughout this 32-page book. Simple watercolour drawings in black, red and brown mixed with collage capture the natural environment of the Cree grandmother and grandson gathering berries. Descriptive words aid the simply told story about an age old tradition maintained in the present day. Selected words such as grandmother, wild berries, bears, fox, birds, thank you, and sing are provided in Swampy Cree (n dialect) that is spoken in Cumberland House. This community does not use syllabics in their writing. A helpful pronunciation guide is provided by Earl Cook. The author includes a basic recipe for blueberry jam using no preservatives. Highly recommended.