For this week’s children’s book review, I chose a goodnight story perfect for our youngest readers. This title has a special place in my own heart as it reminds me of the days when I carried my daughter through the house saying goodnight to everything that was important to her, do you do that with your children? We walked around noticing the treasures of our home, big and small from the trees in our backyard, Max, the goldfish, photos of grandparents hanging on the wall, the stars, even spiders showing up in our 100 year old house by the woods… AS a family, we savored this ritual of deep appreciation and connection for the things our family needed and the things that needed us.
I'm Dreaming of...written by Musqueam, Coast Salish author and artist Melaney Gleeson-Lyall, is a celebration of connection and an ode to the world we live in. The language in the story is rich and poetic, the illustrations by various First Nation and Native artists are calming and beautiful.
This is a bedtime story but it is much more than that. It is an expression of gratitude towards all living things, a story to re-connect you and your loved ones after a busy day.
It is at this time of the day when our thoughts slow down and we can experience surroundings and feelings more deeply. The time when the flowers seem to impress with their most intense smells, the time when we listen to the wind dancing in the leaves, the time when we are grateful for another day on earth and for everything we are sharing it with.
On the cover a bear is resting in a tree, a feather is silently falling, the moon and the stars are brightening up the dark sky signaling the beginning of quiet time. In the distance we see houses where we live.
The book is dense and rich with the beauty and power of nature. In it your child will meet jumping salmon enjoying the rushing waters as their playground, soaring eagles, running deer in lush forests, robins singing a lullaby, rivers glowing like stars, ravens chatting about their day, whales swimming in the oceans with city lights in the distance, floating otters, moose walking through water in a fall like scene.
This is how we live.
This is our place.
A symbiosis of humans and nature as it is perceived by a child.
The final picture appears like fireworks celebrating the joy of life brought to the reader by a special messenger - the hummingbird alongside a big, calm moon announcing the end of the day.
Time to turn off the last light in town.
Often I hear from people that the art of storytelling seems to disappear in the hustle and bustle of life. First Nation storytellers like Melaney are keeping this tradition alive and it is a gift I truly appreciate it for myself and my children.
I remember the day I met Melaney Gleeson-Lyall at a First Nations conference. I actually didn’t meet her at first, I heard her singing the most beautiful song in a language I didn’t understand.
But I felt it.
I closed my eyes for a moment in this busy conference environment and suddenly I heard eagle sounds so real, I imagined a soaring eagle above us. What I learned from this experience was to just stop and listen sometimes.
As a teacher of Early Childhood Education I highly value that the publisher of this book, Native Northwest, supports Aboriginal Early Childhood Development programs with partial proceeds of this book.
I'm dreaming of...by Melaney Gleeson-Lyall, Native Northwest Vancouver, 2017
Retail Price $10.00, board book, recommended for ages 0-4