Discussion Guide for "Wild Berries"

Discussion Guide for Wild Berries

In Native communities, the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is one means by which traditional and cultural knowledge is passed from one generation to the next. In Wild Berries, we see a child at two stages of his life: as an infant being carried on his grandmother’s back, and then later, as a young child who walks with her.  

  • Use the pronunciation guide in the back of the book to learn how to say the Cree words aloud. Make time to practice reading the Cree words aloud in the story itself several times before reading aloud to a child. 
  • If you know a Native language, use the words in that language as you read the book. You can use them along with, or instead of, the Cree words in the book. For example, on the second page, Clarence “walks behind his grandma/ōkoma.” If you speak Tewa, you could read that Clarence “walks behind his grandma/sá’yâa.”
  • As you read the story aloud, pause to study the illustrations. Where possible, point to the illustration of the object whose name is provided in English and Cree. This adds to the child’s vocabulary in English and in the Native language you use.
  • Go on an outing similar to the one depicted in the story. As you go, follow the pattern of the story. Talk about the insects, animals, plants and trees that you see as you go.  
  • Do a follow-up book-making activity about your outing. Don’t worry about your or your child’s artistic skills. Cut/paste items you need from photographs or magazines. Make sure to include a photo of yourself and your child in the book. Personalizing it with images of yourselves adds to its appeal. 
  • Draw an empty landscape on a sheet of paper. Give it and an assortment of images of animals, plants and trees found in your area to the child and ask the child to create a collage similar to the ones in the book.
  • Consider reading similar books, such as Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey or other books by Julie Flett, such as We All Count, a counting book in English and Cree.
  • Make jam using the Wild Blueberry Jam recipe in the back of the book.
  • If the season is right and picking blueberries is an option, do it! 

Julie Flett
Photo by Courtney Molyneaux