Cover Image: A River's Gifts

A River's Gifts

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. A great book for kids about what all a river has to offer.
Was this review helpful?
Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download Test download
Was this review helpful?
A great book for understanding both the geological and food chain disruption brought on by dam projects and what an undertaking it can be to restore disrupted ecosystems, even on the scale of just a single river.

This beautiful, colorful, and Indigenous-illustrated graphic novel (ages 8-12, grades 4-6) is an informative, engaging, thought-provoking read, and everything you'd want to entice a young reader to ask more questions and seek out answers for themselves.

I leave my last comment for the end of my review because, while I do like the book overall, I felt that one key element had been missing. The acknowledgment that what had happened, when Native American lands were taken or destroyed for dam projects while Americans profited both financially and socio-economically at the expense of entire nations of peoples, is the definition of environmental injustice. All of the information is already laid out in the book, it just lacks the acknowledgment of naming it for what it was.

I am very appreciative of the publisher (Lerner Publishing Group, Millbrook Press) and NetGalley for the ARC and opportunity to offer honest my review.
Was this review helpful?
Miigweetch to NetGalley, Lerner Publishing Group, and Millbrook Press for the DRC.

This is a non-fiction graphic novel that details the history of the Elwha River in the land currently known as Washington state, USA. However, describing this book in such a simplistic way is an injustice to all that the author and illustrator have achieved. I was impressed at the skillful storytelling that unfolded on the pages. The artwork is beautiful. 

The author’s foreword says that this is not a sad story, however: this book made me cry. I don’t mean that to be dramatic or edgy or to convey some sense of performative nonsense. I literally teared up while I read these pages, and there’s a good reason for it. The forcible removal of The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, known as the Strong People, from their ancestral homelands and the environmental destruction that followed, is a history all-too familiar to myself and other Indigenous peoples of the world. Fortunately, this story had a happy ending and I closed the book feeling hopeful for the future. 

The art is gorgeous and highly stylized; it feels complementary to the subject matter. I recommend this book for all audiences, but especially middle/high school aged readers studying the environment or Native American/First Nations history. This is a five star read and I highly recommend it to everyone!
Was this review helpful?
This story is about a beautiful, tree-lined Elwah River in Washington state.  To some people, it was a waterway; plentiful water for people, farms, cattle, a town, and later two dams for electricity and a paper mill.

For the Klallam Tribe, it was life.  The different types of salmon that hatched, grew, left, and returned, were part of their food and support, and the essence of their culture.  The salmon were the reason many forms of wildlife thrived in the area, plants were nourished, and there was more than enough for all.

But to people who only saw the water--not what it fed, or supported, or gave life to--the river meant power, and the dams flooded large areas while they completely cut off other places.  And the salmon had no place to go, so they died trying to leap over the first dam going upstream.

Many years later, the area became part of a national park.  After decades of work and delays, plans to restore the river to (almost) its original condition began.  The dams were removed in stages while scientists from many disciplines studied and evaluated what was needed for the river's successful return (and to support the salmon).  Hundreds of thousands of plants were sprouted and planted to recreate riverbanks, dips for slow deep eddies in shade, rocks for shallow water, and sparkling waterfalls in the sun.  Then they waited.

It's a fascinating story.  Once I started, I had to know what happened next (and I already knew the end result).  I felt like cheering them on, to renew the license and to win approval for the project.  At the end of the book is a timeline showing significant events (which were very dramatic), and finally, a photo of the restored river.  It was a satisfying, emotional moment.  To see the beauty that should have always been there, but uncounted people worked so many years to correct.

I was very impressed with the depth of research needed to provide such a complete story.  This isn't a fluff piece.  It's almost a blueprint for other river restoration projects, while maintaining a story narrative punctuated with inserts of fact-filled boxes.

The illustrations are understated, while surrounding the text with scenes that show different time periods, and still convey a love for nature.  Exciting and comfortable at once.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in nature restoration, success stories, native Americans, our national parks, and creatures supported by rivers.  It's a story you will never want to forget, and a book worth revisiting.

5/5  Stars

Thanks to Lerner Publishing Group and Millbrook Press, and NetGalley for the preview of this beautiful and important ebook; the review is voluntary.

#ARiversGifts  #NetGalley
#PatriciaNewman  #PatriciaNewmanAuth
#NatashaDonovan  #NatashaDonovanIllus
#LernerPublishingGroup  #MillbrookPress
Was this review helpful?
This is an informative and uplifting story of how Native Americans and conservationists in Washington state removed dams on traditional lands to restore the Elwha River to its original shape and promote the return of salmon. In this way, the Elwha River was reborn.

Colorful, engaging illustrations and diagrams, often with labels and definitions of words (tributaries, channel, riverbanks) work seamlessly with the text to promote understanding and appreciation. The text is written in poetic form, which enables the reader t appreciate both the facts and feelings involved. Back matter includes notes from the author, the illustrator, and a tribal member of the Strong People; a timeline illustrated with photos, and sources to consult. An excellent choice to show the importance of conservation efforts and how they can succeed.
Was this review helpful?
Living here in the Pacific Northwest, and being an avid fly fisherman, I watched the saga of the removal of the Elwha dams. It was quite the fascinating process, and I am astounded at how quickly the salmon returned. 
"A River's Gifts" covers the story extremely well. And is written so that children can read and easily understand it. The book covers the Native American's history, the coming of the settlers, the construction of the dams, the fights to remove the dams, the removal itself, and the aftermath.  All well written with great illustrations. 
This is a fantastic book that will really help young people to understand the story, and perhaps spark their interest in conservation. 
Highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
Marvelous Read of River Restoration and Dam Removal - Children are just as curious about restoring the environment as the adults in charge of these projects. Children will delight in this book as they learn the value of rivers. The ecosystem is explored in its relationship to people, plants, and animals. Readers will learn about the life cycle of salmon and the greater ecosystem along the river's edge. I enjoyed the illustrations, diagrams, maps, and captions used to not only help the reader visualize the reader but better understand the science involved in river ecosystem restoration. The endnotes are well detailed and include pictures of the actual dam removal. There are several nonfiction text features that aid comprehension of the material. I would easily use this book in teaching and supporting units in ecosystem habitats, life cycle of animals, the effect of humans on an environment, understanding hydroelectricity, and of course it could support Native American units of study as well. The reading level is for upper elementary, but it could still be used in a middle school setting. This is a must have for any community with a dam or communities from the upper Northeast regions. This would be a great addition for libraries that do not have books on this topic. It will be a new addition to my school library believe me.
Was this review helpful?
A River's Gifts masterfully blends information relating to ecosystems and the history of the "Strong People."  The way in which the author explains that which history books generally cover as "westward expansion and development" as detrimentally impacting the natural state of the ecosystem, the lives of the "Strong People" and how it was ultimately rectified and resolved is truly captivating.  This is a piece of history you just don't learn about in regular textbooks and this story needs to be told.  Bravo!  The illustrations are absolutely stunning.  There is scientific information relating to the ecosystem and historical context of the National Park system and its role in restoring this habitat.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the impact of our our historical "development" as our nation expanded further west and to those who want to understand the impact that development had on the people, land and animals that were already there and called it home.   The timeline in the back on the book provided a very good resource for recall and review after reading the story as well.  #ARiver'sGifts #ElwhaKlallamTribe #OlympicNationalPark #bringthesalmonhome
Was this review helpful?
This is a tale of the Elwha river, that the people of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, who were known as the Strong People, considered sacred. They lived in harmony with the salmon and all the animals that relied on the salmon.
And then the settlers came and said, oh, look, water, let’s build a dam. And they blocked the salmon, and flooded the river valley, and messed up the environment to no end.
And that is not the end of it. This is actually a story about how the river came back, with the help of the Strong People, and of the National Parks deciding to take down the dam, after a lot of hard work and lobbying.
Fascinating picture book. The story is told in very simple language, but in the back, it goes into more details about how it all worked out in the end, with a lot of hard work. The author and the illustrator both talked to members of the tribe to get their view on things, as well as doing research on the history of the river.
Beautiful illustrations. Inspiring story.

<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>
Was this review helpful?
A River's Gift depicts the Elwha River in the Pacific Northwest. I loved the descriptions and labeling of certain parts of the river, they were very informative. The book includes paragraphs about native people, how a dam works, and the mating life of salmon. This is a great book for children to learn more about how ecosystems work. It also had a lot of historical information too.
Was this review helpful?