Book Suggestion and Project Pairing to Honor Native American Heritage Month with a Fall Leaves project and We Are Grateful children's book

Book Suggestion and Project Pairing to Honor Native American Heritage Month

In the United States, the month of November marks a specific opportunity to pay tribute to the ancestry and acknowledge contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives – Native American Heritage Month. We hope that you can incorporate and recognize the rich history, culture and tradition of Indigenous peoples throughout the year, too.

One of the ways that I have celebrated this month in my classroom has been by pairing a children’s book by an Indigenous author with a project. Not only does this illuminate the author’s voice but can also help foster empathy and awareness.

One book that I recently picked up was We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, written by Cherokee author Traci Sorell and illustrated by Franne Lessac. In this book, Sorell offers a glimpse into Cherokee culture and the Cherokee expression of gratitude for things throughout each season of the year.

Book Suggestion and Project Pairing to Honor Native American Heritage Month with a Fall Leaves project and We Are Grateful children's book by Traci Sorell

To show the progression of seasons, a changing tree is featured on nearly every page. Sorell also includes an interactive element within the book by incorporating words from the Cherokee language for readers to practice saying.

Our recent blog post Celebrating Indigenous People’s Day, includes a list of some of our favorite books by Indigenous authors that you can check out, and if you are a Sparkler — we have just added some new lesson into the America the Great Bundle like our “We Are Grateful” project below. Click HERE to sign up for the Sparklers Club waitlist if you are interested in joining.

Book Suggestion and Project Pairing to Honor Native American Heritage Month with a Fall Leaves project and We Are Grateful children's book, inspiration tied into this Sparklers Lesson

While November can be a time of gratitude and reflection for many, We Are Grateful has inspired me to take a more frequent and broader approach. Won’t you take a moment each day to reflect upon not only the struggles but also the things around you that are so special along with me? Otsaliheliga!

What better way to show the seasons changing than by pairing beautiful fall foliage! The Falling Leaves Art Project would make a great pairing with the book We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga.

Book Suggestion and Project Pairing to Honor Native American Heritage Month with a Fall Leaves project and We Are Grateful children's book

Already looking ahead to Spring? No worries! You can use this lesson any time of the year. The tree can be easily adapted to reflect another season by simply changing the colors of paint.

Double-loading the paintbrush is such a quick, fun way to create the most magical color combinations. I hope that you are able to give it a try!

This post was written by Team Sparklers’ Creative Team member, Mabre!

mabre team sparkle bio 5 tips to share cultural appreciation

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Book Suggestion and Project Pairing to Honor Native American Heritage Month with a Fall Leaves project and We Are Grateful children's book, inspiration tied into this Sparklers Lesson

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  • Deborah Lee

    It’s looks beautiful, comprehensive, and fun.

  • Sarah Updike

    When I tried to access the America the Great Bundle through the lock icon nothing happened. There seems to be a problem with the bundle.

    • Mabre Lencho-Armstrong

      Hi Sarah! Mabre from DSS Creative Team here. Please reach out to support@deepspacesparkle.com if you are experiencing any troubles with your Sparklers Club membership. Thank you!

  • Kathy Naas

    Beautiful, Timely and Inspirational!!

  • Paul Jamieson

    It is always good to show respect to different cultures and to provide students with examples of their art and culture. However, one needs to be careful as a number of teachers were censured for using the art work of Norval Morrisseau in class and having students try to create their own works based on the inspirations provided by the original. FirstNation felt this was disrespectful.

    • Patty

      I have heard from a few Canadian art teachers that they have been advised to bring in indigenous artists to teach a lesson and share their style rather than have student’s imitate their art. It’s such a positive step towards appreciation versus appropriation.
      Deep Space Sparkle is moving towards the practice of introducing the artist or author but creating lessons that encourage children to create art based on the theme or intention of the piece rather than copying it.
      Thanks for writing in. Appreciated your comment.

  • Gabrielle Bliss

    Do you glue the middle, how do you get it to stay in one piece?

  • Dulce Pico Balsa

    I love this project, I love to improve our students awareness about indigenous culture and the progression of the seasons with the things that this fact brings.
    Being grateful for that is an excellent way to be in empathy with Nature. In my view, throughout art teachers can foster students sensibility for environmental issues.
    Thank you for your blog, it is very helpful in my lessons.

  • Holly Moulder

    I love this! All suggested books were available at our local library.

  • Leann

    Where can I access the tree art project?

    • Bethany

      Hi Leann, this is Bethany from Team Sparkle. There were two lessons involving trees mentioned. This blog links you directly to the falling leaves lesson. The full description is there for you to follow along with. And if you are a Sparkler — we have just added some new lessons into the America the Great Bundle like our “We Are Grateful” project. This is the other tree art lesson mentioned in the blog. If you aren’t a member and are interested in signing up for Sparklers Club waitlist you can join our waitlist here https://deepspacesparkle.lpages.co/the-sparklers-club-waitlist/

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