We are grateful Otsaliheliga

Traci Sorell

Book - 2018

Otsaliheliga is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
[Watertown, MA] : Charlesbridge [2018]
Language
English
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
ISBN
9781580897723
158089772X
Main Author
Traci Sorell (author)
Other Authors
Frané Lessac (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

In Cherokee culture, Sorell shares, the expression of gratitude is part of daily life and extends from elaborate celebrations to struggles to ordinary life moments. She organizes her debut picture book by seasons, beginning with the fall, which is a time for collecting foliage for basket making and remembering those who suffered on the Trail of Tears. It also contains the Cherokee New Year and the Great New Moon Ceremony, a celebration of renewal and coming together. Each season section starts with the name of the season in Cherokee, an expression of gratitude for the change in nature, and subsequent pages describing community activities pertinent to that season. Lessac's folkloric illustrations in bright gouache colors stand in pleasing contrast to the book's contemporary feel and setting. The text reads like poetry but has a gentle instructional dimension to it. On many pages, Cherokee words are accompanied by English translations, pronunciation guides, and Cherokee syllabary. Back matter contains relevant explanations and provides good context, and the author's note sets past misrepresentations right. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 2—Sorell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, offers readers a look at contemporary Cherokee life as she follows a family through the seasons of the year as they take part in ceremonies and festivals. The book opens, "Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude. It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles—daily, throughout the year…." Beginning in the fall (uligohvsdi) with the Cherokee New Year, a variety of rituals and cultural symbols are introduced, all in spare, lyrical, accessible language. Traditional foods, crafts, and songs are part of the engaging narrative, as is the refrain, "we say otsaliheliga." Once through the calendar, Sorell circles back to the Cherokee National Holiday (Labor Day weekend), "when we recall the ancestors' sacrifices to preserve our way of life…. to celebrate nulistanidolv, history, and listen to our tribal leaders speak." Cherokee words are presented both phonetically and written in the Cherokee syllabary. Lessac's lovely gouache folk-art style paintings bring the scenes to life. Back matter includes a description of the various ceremonies, notes, and a page devoted to the Cherokee syllabary. VERDICT This informative and authentic introduction to a thriving ancestral and ceremonial way of life is perfect for holiday and family sharing.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Follows a full year of Cherokee celebrations and experiences, describing how the Cherokee Nation expresses thanks and reflects on struggles all year long.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

2019 Sibert Honor Book2019 Orbis Pictus Honor BookNPR's Guide To 2018’s Great Reads2018 Book Launch Award (SCBWI)Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2018School Library Journal Best Books of 20182018 JLG selection2019 Reading the West Picture Book AwardThe Cherokee community is grateful for blessings and challenges that each season brings. This is modern Native American life as told by an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah."A gracious, warm, and loving celebration of community and gratitude"—Kirkus Reviews STARRED REVIEW"The book underscores the importance of traditions and carrying on a Cherokee way of life"—Horn Book STARRED REVIEW"This informative and authentic introduction to a thriving ancestral and ceremonial way of life is perfect for holiday and family sharing"—School Library Journal STARRED REVIEW"An elegant representation"—Shelf Awareness STARRED REVIEW