We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

By: Traci Sorell

Illustrator: Frane Lessac

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.
Glossary. Author’s note. Cherokee syllabary. Full-color gouache illustrations.

ISBN: 9781580897723

JLG Release: Dec 2018


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Cherokee Indians , Cherokee language , Cherokee culture , Religion , Gratitude , Seasons , Community

$15.80  Member Price


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Awards & Honors

2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Honor, Picture Book
2019 Sibert Award Honor
2019 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor
ALSC Notable Children's Books - 2019
CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Seasons and Celebrations
CSMCL Best Books - 2018
2018 Book Launch Award Winner
Kirkus Best Books, Picture Books - 2018
NPR’s Book Concierge - 2018
School Library Journal Best Books - 2018

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

School Library Journal*, Kirkus Reviews*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Booklist

School Library Journal

Sorell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, offers readers a look at contemporary Cherokee life as she follows a family through the seasons of the year as they take part in ceremonies and festivals. The book opens, “Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude. It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles—daily, t Sorell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, offers readers a look at contemporary Cherokee life as she follows a family through the seasons of the year as they take part in ceremonies and festivals. The book opens, “Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude. It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles—daily, throughout the year….” Beginning in the fall (uligohvsdi) with the Cherokee New Year, a variety of rituals and cultural symbols are introduced, all in spare, lyrical, accessible language. Traditional foods, crafts, and songs are part of the engaging narrative, as is the refrain, “we say otsaliheliga.” Once through the calendar, Sorell circles back to the Cherokee National Holiday (Labor Day weekend), “when we recall the ancestors’ sacrifices to preserve our way of life…. to celebrate nulistanidolv, history, and listen to our tribal leaders speak.” Cherokee words are presented both phonetically and written in the Cherokee syllabary. Lessac’s lovely gouache folk-art style paintings bring the scenes to life. Back matter includes a description of the various ceremonies, notes, and a page devoted to the Cherokee ­syllabary. VERDICT This informative and authentic introduction to a thriving ancestral and ceremonial way of life is perfect for holiday and family sharing.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

Horn Book

“Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude. It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles—daily, throughout the year, and across the seasons.” An extended family engages with activities and traditions that express gratitude and carry on Cherokee history and culture, such as stomp dancing at the Great New Moo “Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude. It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles—daily, throughout the year, and across the seasons.” An extended family engages with activities and traditions that express gratitude and carry on Cherokee history and culture, such as stomp dancing at the Great New Moon Ceremony, basket weaving, making corn-husk dolls, and playing stickball. The book underscores the importance of traditions and carrying on a Cherokee way of life while simultaneously incorporating modernity and challenging dated media images of Indigenous people. Here, a family bids goodbye to a clan relative who deploys with the U.S. military; a father sporting an earring and a topknot minds the children. Skin colors range from light to dark, visually underscoring the book’s message of diversity and inclusion. Staying firmly upbeat and idyllic, the cheerful, richly detailed gouache illustrations in bright, saturated colors cycle through the seasons, beginning with the Cherokee New Year in autumn. The text includes several Cherokee words; a line of text in a smaller font along the bottom of the page provides each word as written in the English alphabet, its phonetic pronunciation, the word as written in the Cherokee alphabet, and its definition. A glossary, an author’s note on Cherokee culture, and a complete Cherokee syllabary conclude this attractive and informative book. julie hakim azzam

Book Details

ISBN

9781580897723

First Release

December 2018

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

975.004/97557

Trim Size

Page Count

32

Accelerated Reader

Level 3; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level NC970L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Charlesbridge

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Cherokee Indians, Cherokee language, Cherokee culture, Religion, Gratitude, Seasons, Community,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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