Reviewed by Jean Mendoza
As a grandmother and longtime teacher of young children, I’m delighted to share my enthusiasm for A Day with Yayah, a 2018 Crocodile Books release by award-winning author Nicola I. Campbell (Interior Salish), illustrated by another award-winner, Julie Flett (Cree-Metis).
A Day with Yayah is a visual feast for fans of Julie Flett’s art, which just seems to get more amazing all the time. Start with the cover, where a little girl in a yellow sweater gazes into the face of a silver-haired woman. Both are seated on the ground and surrounded by dark green grass, scattered flowers, and light blue sky.
Move to the endpapers with their seemingly simple, graceful plants and insects. One more page-turn and there’s a bright yellow warbler-type bird perched atop some tiny white flowers. On the facing page, the bird flies past the title. Turn the page again and it sits above the dedications. The facing page features another Indigenous child wearing red boots and a baseball-type cap, holding a yellow flower. One more page turn, and Nicola Campbell’s story begins as the little yellow bird looks on.
It’s springtime, and Nikki and her grandmother (“Yayah” in their Indigenous language) are tanning a hide. (They’re the pair on the cover.) Along come two kids from next door, eager for their lessons from Yayah. She has been teaching them to identify edible wild plants AND to speak their Indigenous language, Nłeʔkepmxcin. She’s about to go gathering, and the kids want to go along. Yayah packs them a lunch, phones their families, and soon they’re all piled into Auntie Karen’s red minivan along with some other family members — heading for a place where many significant plants can be found. Continue reading.
A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell
Published by Crocodile Books an imprint of Interlink Publishing on March 01, 2018
Genres: American Indians First Nations Metis Inuit, Multigenerational, Nature
Reading Level: Grade K, Grades 1-2
Review Source: American Indians in Children's Literature
Publisher's Synopsis: On an outing in Nicola Valley, British Columbia, a Native American family forages for herbs and mushrooms while the grandmother passes down her language and knowledge to her young grandchildren. Includes glossary.