First Blade of Sweetgrass (Hard Cover)
Chosen by the Maine Humanities Council as the State of Maine Book 2022.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
The author presented the book to the Secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, at a Native American solstice celebration on top of Mt Cadillac in Acadia National Park. Yoyo MA was also there accompanying native musicians as the sun rose.
“Publishers Weekly – Starred Review – Emphasizing the importance of conservation and tradition in Native culture, married authors Greenlaw (who is Maliseet) and Frey (who is Passamaquoddy) expertly craft a sweet story that centers a Wabanaki grandmother and granddaughter…Baker’s earth-toned illustrations feature soft edges, subtle colors, and braided sweetgrass borders, while lyrical text renders experience in evocative sensory prose (“the thin whine of mosquitos grew distant”). The result is a deeply personal, thoughtfully detailed account.”
“While hunting for summer’s sweetgrass, a young Wabanaki girl learns patience from her grandmother… Greenlaw (Houlton Band of Maliseet) and Frey (Passamaquoddy), a basket maker himself, pen a tender ode to a treasured tradition. Muted illustrations rendered in pastels on brown paper evoke the coastal Maine landscape and fit nicely with the tranquil pace of this lyrical tale. Quiet text shows how careful observation and the respect of nature can provide unexpected gifts.”