Musquon’s first trip to the salt marsh with Grandmother to gather sweetgrass!
But in an ocean of grasses, how will the young girl know which kind to pick?
Grandmother patiently shows her the emerald green grass with a purple bottom and reminds Musquon that her ancestors are here with them, where so many have carefully picked sweetgrass for basketmaking and spiritual medicine.
Musquon breathes the salty air, remembering that Grandmother learned as a small girl in this same marsh to pass over the first blade of sweetgrass she finds: “If we never pick the first blade, we will never pick the last one.”
Soon she will learn how to braid sweetgrass and help Grandmother make baskets as the Wakenabi people have done for countless generations.
The authors note the cultural significance of sweetgrass for First Nations’ peoples in their home state of Maine and beyond, as well as a glossary of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet words used in the story including Musquon (“blue sky”) who shares a name with one of their daughters. Watch an interview with the authors here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7weayTgxwgk
What gifts of the natural world are important to you?
Book info: The First Blade of Sweetgrass: a Native American Story / Suzanne Greenlaw & Gabriel Frey; illustrated by Nancy Baker. Tilbury House Publishers, 2021. [author & illustrator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.