Treaty Words

book cover for Treaty WordsWorking at the library happily puts me in the path of books that I might not have otherwise discovered. The most recent example is “Treaty Words: As Long As the River Flows,” by Aimee Craft. This book is shelved in the juvenile (middle grades) section, but don’t let this classification fool you.

Book cover for Sneaking Hiding Vibrating Creature

I often find books in the children’s area that I enjoy or appreciate. Many of them are humorous like, Nathan Pyle’s, “Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature.” Sometimes children’s books display beautiful artwork, like the woodcut prints by Mike Wroblewski in “Hush, Hush Forest,” by Mary Casanova — which inspired me to put one of Wroblewski’s prints on my personal wish list. I’ve developed a habit of occasionally taking one or two children’s books home to share with my family even though the youngest (human) member of our household is 19-years-old.

“Treaty Words,” has simple, pleasing artwork in a small package that fits neatly in your hand, and that’s why I picked it up. But it was the words inside that made the biggest impression on me.

book cover for Hush, Hush forestThrough a story about a granddaughter and grandfather, author Aimee Craft relays a vision of treaty that feels practical, simple and quite foreign. Mishomis — “grandfather” in Anishinaabemowin — explains that a treaty is an agreement between parties to work together for a common good, and that treaties are about relationships. He says the first treaty was between the sun and the earth, an agreement to create and support life. He describes treaties between the seasons and between plants and animals, between predator and prey.

I hesitate to summarize too much because I think the best option is to read it for yourself. Which you can do in just a few minutes. While you’re in the Children’s Area, you might look around and see what other gems you can find.


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