We Are Water Protectors

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We Are Water Protectors
Cover art of a girl standing in water and holding a feather
AuthorCarole Lindstrom
IllustratorMichaela Goade
PublisherRoaring Brook Press
Publication date
March 17, 2020
ISBN978-1-250-78099-7

We Are Water Protectors is a 2020 picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade. Written in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, the book tells the story of an Ojibwe girl who fights against an oil pipeline in an effort to protect the water supply of her people. It was published by Roaring Brook Press on March 17, 2020. The book was well received. Critics praised its message of environmental justice and the watercolor illustrations, for which Goade won the 2021 Caldecott Medal.

Synopsis[edit]

The narrator, an Ojibwe girl, recalls her grandmother telling her about the sanctity of water. Her people foretell a black snake that will one day destroy their land and poison their water. She says that the black snake has already arrived in the form of an oil pipeline. She resolves to rally her people against it and protect their water supply for the sake of animals, plants, the environment, and the Earth. Reflecting on her grandmother's words, the girl declares that "we are water protectors" who will give the black snake the fight of its life.

Background and publication[edit]

We Are Water Protectors was written by Carole Lindstrom, who is Ojibwe, and illustrated by Michaela Goade, who is a member of the Tlingit and Haida tribes.[1] Lindstrom decided to write the book after learning about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock in 2016. She was unable to attend in person due to family issues and wrote the book to raise awareness of the protests. The book was originally envisioned as a novel with a more substantial plot, but eventually into a shorter picture book with poetic language.[2] Lindstrom wrote the manuscript in 2018 and Goade agreed to illustrate it that year after she received a copy from her agent. The illustrations were painted in watercolor over a period of three to four months.[3]

The book was published by Roaring Brook Press on March 17, 2020.[1] An animated adaptation, narrated by Lindstrom and animated by Galen Fott, was released by Weston Woods Studios in June 2021.[4][5]

Reception[edit]

We Are Water Protectors received starred reviews from Booklist,[6] BookPage,[7] Kirkus Reviews,[1] Publishers Weekly,[8] and School Library Journal.[9] Goade received the 2021 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations, becoming the first Indigenous artist to win the award.[10] The book was the 2021 Jane Addams Children's Book Award winner in the Books for Younger Children category,[11] and it was a finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize in the Young Readers' Literature category.[12]

Critics praised the message of environmental justice and Goade's watercolor illustrations. Ronny Khuri, writing for Booklist, described the book as "a beautiful tribute and powerful manifesto", applauding the paintings of water, landscapes, and the black snake.[6] A reviewer for Kirkus Reviews wrote that the fearsome depiction of the black snake is counterbalanced by the book's call to action, and praised the diversity of the girl's community and the symbolism of elements drawn from Lindstrom's and Goade's lineages.[1] In a review for The Horn Book, Autumn Allen wrote that "one could read the pictures without the words and take away the same main messages". She compared the text to a chanted poem and commented that the combination of the text and the illustrations enables the book to "influence minds and cultures".[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "We Are Water Protectors". Kirkus Reviews. December 8, 2019. Archived from the original on November 4, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  2. ^ Saxon, Antonia (March 17, 2020). "Q & A with Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on February 21, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  3. ^ Lockett, Michael S. (January 27, 2021). "'It just feels very surreal': a Q&A with Southeast's recent Caldecott Medal winner". Peninsula Clarion. Archived from the original on March 6, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  4. ^ Knapp, Maggie (November 2021). "DVD Reviews". School Library Journal. 67 (11): 42. ProQuest 2590228265.
  5. ^ Wilson, Brian (September 1, 2021). "We Are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom". Booklist. Archived from the original on November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Khuri, Ronny (February 1, 2020). "We Are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom". Booklist. Archived from the original on November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  7. ^ Allen, Autumn (March 19, 2020). "We Are Water Protectors". BookPage. Archived from the original on November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  8. ^ "Children's Book Review: We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illus. by Michaela Goade". Publishers Weekly. January 9, 2020. Archived from the original on April 14, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  9. ^ Saarinen, Tamara (April 1, 2020). "We Are Water Protectors". School Library Journal. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  10. ^ Egan, Elisabeth (February 25, 2021). "This Indigenous Author and Artist Team Have an Important Message". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 7, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  11. ^ Zeng, Cady (January 21, 2021). "Jane Addams Children's Book Awards Announced". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  12. ^ "McBride, Wilkerson among nominees for Kirkus Prize". The Washington Post. Associated Press. September 9, 2020. Archived from the original on November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  13. ^ Allen, Autumn (October 13, 2020). "We Are Water Protectors". The Horn Book. Archived from the original on November 16, 2021. Retrieved November 16, 2021.

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by Caldecott Medal recipient
2021
Succeeded by