Cover Image: Âmî Osâwâpikones (Dear Dandelion)

Âmî Osâwâpikones (Dear Dandelion)

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Member Reviews

This is a gorgeous book that celebrates dandelions, but also survival and thriving in adversity. The illustrations and text pair together in a magical way and made my heart smile.

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A beautiful picture book both in story and illustrations. As a child I always struggled to understand that negativity toward dandelions so loved seeing a book that connects with them. It's so wonderful to see picture books coming out from indigenous creators.

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"In a society obsessed with lawns and controlling landscapes, I love seeing fields and parks filled with dandelions. Weeds gone wild, refusing to be tamed. I hope more people start to rethink why some plants are considered weeds and start to see the beauty in their resilience."

Okemow offers up an ode to a scorned plant, and encourages us to look at the humble dandelion through the eyes of a child where its burst of yellow warmth is as welcome as any of the other spring flowers.

A lovely book that inspires peace and acceptance.

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I read this book for free on net galley before its May release. I enjoyed the pictures on every page, and the descriptive writing about the persistent Dandelion. I look forward to purchasing a hard copy if this book to add to my classroom library.

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A simply gorgeous book about finding beauty in everything, being grateful for all, and taking care of the world around us [even the things others don't care for, like dandelions].

Told in a simple way, English mixed with Plains Cree [there is a explanation of the words used, along with the author's story in the back of the book], this is a truly lovely book, with bright colorful illustrations that just add to the story, and littles will want to go back to it again and again.
Well done. ♥

Thank you to NetGalley, S.J. Okemow, Elder Dorothy Ulsser - Reviewer of the translations, and Annick Press Ltd for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Gorgeous and lovely, just what we need more of! Can't wait to see if there are more stories coming from this author.

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I have been wanting to fill my collection at the library with items that celebrate diversity, and this title definitely will be added. It made me happy to find a book that celebrates the fact that everyone is an individual.

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It has truly been an honor to read so many language learning books of Native American and Indigenous languages and cultures. Âmî Osâwâpikones is a beautifully illustrated book that shows the resiliency of dandelions and the ways that they continue to grow and share their beauty, despite adversity. As I've mentioned with other language learning books, I think it would be helpful to have pronunciation guides and definitions throughout the book so that readers and listeners can learn as they go but I also greatly appreciate a glossary in the back.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Annick Press for a free E-arc in exchange for my honest review.

This children's book focuses on the seasons and emotions of life as it follows a little girl and a love of dandelions throughout the year. The illustrations are bright and cheerful and the author uses Cree words throughout including a translation & pronunciation page. Beautiful own voice book.

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I adore this delightful story. A love letter to the dandelion, that beautiful, hardy flower that every child loves to play with, wish on and create with. We learn about the dandelion throughout each season, including the Indigenous names for the wildflower (I refuse to call it a weed) and how it changes with each moon. This story takes me back to my childhood, and every child will be able to make a connection. The language, the illustrations, the story... all are perfect and work well together.

Thank you to NetGalley, Annick Press, and SJ Okemow for the advance reading copy. I'll be purchasing this when it becomes available, for sure!

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There are two things you need to know about me before you read my review… I don’t think dandelions are weeds and I love bees. All things bee.

There is so much value in this picture book. Lessons on strength & resilience, seeing more than what is just on the outside or in others perception. It evokes memories of the simple joys of childhood and picking dandelions. But it also illustrates the value of even the smallest weeds importance. I love the illustrations, how the bee trails through all the pages. I can’t help but compare this to another recent dandelion story that had illustrations that fell back on racial stereotypes. If you need one dandelion book in your collection go with this one.

Do not skip the author notes at the end.

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Must buy for our library —

1. Indigenous author honoring indigenous language & culture
2. Illustrations that feel very much like moments in a child’s life
3. Beautiful use of white space and color to draw and create wonder
4. Cyclical nature of our world is emphasized, tying to curriculum and questions about plants, seasons, etc
5. Messages of hope and resilience

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This book infuses Cree language into a story about the importance of the dandelion. Dandelions can be seen by adults as weeds, but their beauty is not lost on young children who enjoy picking them to give as gifts or blowing on their seeds. This book teaches about the life cycle and seasons and how a dandelion is part of our ecosystem, while also focusing on the beauty and symbolism behind this interesting flower. I could definitely see reading this book with my grade 3 students during our study of plants in science. I also love that the story incorporates Indigenous culture and knowledge in a picture book format. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to purchasing a copy for my classroom library. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book!

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Ami Osawapikones-I have always loved dandelions. My kids used to call them “dandy flowers” when yellow, and “wishes” when white. This book about love for self and the importance of the dandelion also has Cree words interspersed throughout which are explained in the author’s note.

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Reading “Ami Osawapikones - Dear Dandelion”, transported me back to my childhood, recalling long summer afternoons, wandering and exploring, whereupon spotting a dandelion growing defiantly on a neighbour’s lawn with its white head plush with delicate seeds, I would engage in the magical act of making wishes and blowing tiny gossamer vessels into the wind, mesmerized by their twirling dance in air, enchanted, as they were caught on an updraft and carried away to far off places to grow anew. 

SJ Okemow elevates the lowly dandelion to venerated heights. Following the flower through the seasons, showing its resilience, patience, and strength, sharing its offerings to humans and animals alike; the reader sees how the plant grows and transforms. Delightful illustrations with bright and warm tones complement the story beautifully. An engaging and active read with many possibilities for connections and observations: an energetic bee flying loops around the page; animals at play, hiding, and hibernating; the dandelions’ different forms and uses; and the connections between mother and child. Indigenous characters and the presentation of Cree cultural elements, references, and language make this a wonderful and empowering story for Indigenous youth. This is also a wonderful book for primary classrooms and libraries, offering multiple ways to engage meaningfully with the text. 

Teacher Tips

* Discovery - What is a weed? Why do we like some plants and not others?

* What are the benefits of dandelions? How do they help bees and pollinators in the spring? How can dandelions be used and eaten?

* Discussion about the interconnectedness of creatures and the earth. How do animals and plants change during different seasons?  

* What kinds of animals are in the story? Do those animals live in your neighbourhood?

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Following the journey of a dandelion, osâwâpikones, through the seasons and different environments we see how a young child is folded in love through the connection of the flower. The flower is a metaphor for love and familial relationships and how they evolve and change through the seasons and connection to nature. The use of indigenous Cree language is wonderful, and connects the story even further.

The illustrations are colorful and full with details but not overwhelming. I also like how a bee or in the winter scenes a blue line connects the pictures.

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This was a lovely book with beautiful illustrations. I especially appreciated the author's note about languages developing, particularly indigenous languages creating words to describe their (colonized) world.

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I remember the squish of the yellow petals of dandelions. When I was a child I was fascinated with the plants that seemed to find no adversity in the obstacles human beings put in their way; the chemicals, the lawnmowers, the snipping of blades & spikes of tools. How can something so mellow & soft be bad? Ultimately, as Okemow expresses in this book, perhaps it is not so much the dandelion that is out of place so much as our opinions of it.

When we are young it is important that we find a place in the world to call our own. So much the better if that place is where our loved ones raised us, where our family is from, or even so much as a house that can be referred to as a home. In many cases, we are not so lucky as to find ourselves in the company of safety & security. In some cases still, we simply feel the weed in a bed of red roses, longing for a place where we might be considered beautiful too.

What I appreciate the most about this book is that it welcomes the reader to be tender with themselves; this is a safe space. Though the author does not need to indicate their reason for writing such a book, I felt very connected to them for having done so & for the way they approached feelings of alienation in their environment. In such a wide world it can oftentimes feel impossible to locate the exact area which is to us, the one in which we belong.

By referencing a plant that has been deemed outlandish, unwanted, destructive, & misplaced, we can connect with ourselves in a roundabout way; these words are unfortunately ways many of us have felt about ourselves. Why? Why do we feel that way about a living breathing entity who flies through the wind & has a mind enough to find rich soil to grow? What part of ourselves merits such bemoaning? It does not, nor does the dandelion.

I hope that this book is placed on the shelves of all who read or are read to. I hope the prose nestles in the darkened corners where a being feels lost & out of place. I hope this person remembers that reality is much different from the imagined. The poetic fashion in which this message is transcribed is soft, soothing, & as mesmerizing as I found the sunshine petals of the dandelions to be, all those many years ago.

Thank you to NetGalley, Annick Press Ltd., & SJ Okemow for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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The most beautiful illustrations with an a beautiful story. This book made me as an adult take a moment to reflect. It is so beautiful the way the author describes the dandelions and that even in the winter it is hidden beneath us and will again return. I loved how in the end the author gave us some insight on why they were inspired to share about the dandelion. It’s interesting to think about how they aren’t considered “beautiful” yet they continue to take up space and stand tall in the areas.

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Miigweetch NetGalley and Annick Press for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

This is a children’s book that on its surface may appear to be simply an ode to the humble dandelion, but is also a parallel story about self-love. It is written predominantly in English but Cree words are integrated throughout the text, with translations provided at the end of the book.

Deemed by many to be a bothersome weed, the author gently escorts readers through the lifecycle of a dandelion, extolling the virtues shown in each season: bold yellow bundles woven into bright crowns during play, to creating an inviting carpet on the forest floor as they turn to seed.

The illustrations are lovely, featuring an Indigenous girl and her dog (my favorite was the snow sled picture.) The colors are soft, somehow cool and warm at the same time. There is a lot of tenderness on the page. She is shown interacting with the adult caretakers in her life in a loving way; I especially liked that we see dad braiding her hair and that one page features her fancy shawl dancing. I like that her Indigeniety is integral and part of the story, but it isn’t the whole story. It’s refreshing to see an Indigenous kid as the principal character in a story that isn’t centered on trauma or set in the historical past.

The text is full of imagery and literary language. I was deeply moved while reading this story; it’s reminiscent of the same gentle storytelling that was present in my own inter-generational household, and the tone of the story is definitely that of a trusted loved one speaking to a small, but growing, child. The words in the text are simple and unambiguous, while still direct and empowering.

Entirely wholesome and a charming delight, I recommend this book for elementary libraries, as well as anyone looking for more Indigenous representation on their bookshelves. Any and all tribal libraries, as well as Indian Health & Family Wellness Centers, should also have a copy of this book. I think this would be a great title for any pediatrician’s waiting room. Due to the use of Indigenous language (Cree) in the story, this title could also be of interest to groups doing language revitalization work.

“Âmî Osâwâpikones (Dear Dandelion)” is an excellent read for anyone who needs a gentle cheerleader in their lives to remind them of their own inherent worth, just by being themselves. It’s a powerful reminder of the greatness that exists in all things, and that we are more than just one thing. Five out of five stars from me!

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