“We are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom

“We are Water Protectors,” by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade, is one of the most important picture books of our generation. Not only are the illustrations absolutely stunning, but it tells the real story about the many indigenous-led protests that occurred in 2016 across North America, people who stood up against the Dakota Access pipeline and fought together as protectors of this great earth. A truly important book and an even more important message to share with our children.

For this inspiring book I found an activity kit at MacKids School & Library, which you can download for free from their website. My oldest daughter will be turning 5-years-old this year and she is beginning to understand more complex concepts when explained to her, such as environmental protection. However, at this young age, I had to sit with her and go through the kit together, explaining the steps and what the book was truly about. I explained to her that it was more than just a story, it was inspired by true events that happened and why they happened.

I honestly did not know very much about the protests myself. That is the beautiful thing about picture books like this, they can even open our own eyes to world events and ideas. I am still not sure if she understood everything that I told her, but she does understand that the earth needs protecting. We are constantly drilling this idea in our children, that we are caretakers of the earth and that we have to try our very best to make green choices. She is beginning to understand that it is vital to take care of the oceans, plants, and all living things.

Having these challenging conversations with young children can be tricky, especially as newish parents (she is my first after all) but they are important conversations to have, nonetheless. I never want her to take for granted all of the amazing things the earth provides for us.

This book, accompanied by the kit, can be a great way to guide parents through these conversations. It includes a note from the author Carole Lindstrom, discussion questions and topics, ways to protect the earth, a drawing page, and the water protectors pledge.

In a Public library setting:

Book displays are a great way to attract readers, especially young children, to a variety of books. Often these displays follow a theme, and this book would be a fantastic addition to any book display about environmental issues or cultural diversity. This book would be especially fitting in a National Indigenous History Month display in June.

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