This week in the United States, we emphasize giving thanks. Many of us realize that we should give thanks year 'round, not for only one day. That is the premise behind Traci Sorrell's new award-winning picture book, We Are Grateful. This book was just named a National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Honor Book (non-fiction award) for 2019!
Sorrell and illustrator Frané Lessac take us through a year with Cherokee people, showing us the things for which they are grateful, teaching Cherokee words along the way. This focus gives us non-Cherokees a peek into a different culture, leading to conversations about similarities and differences. The colorful artwork shows modern Cherokee people, not caricatures or stereotypes of long-ago Native Americans. I am grateful for We Are Grateful!
This book makes me think of my own heritage. My great-grandparents came from Denmark, and my grandma spoke Danish with her women friends throughout her life. When I was a little girl, I asked Grandma to teach me something in Danish. "Tak," she said. "That means 'Thanks.'" There's no better word she could have taught me. Since then, I have learned "thanks" in several languages, an important word to know and an important emotion to express.
Have a happy Thanksgiving Day, and remember to say "thanks," "tak," or "otsaliheliga" throughout the year!