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We Are Water Protectors

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  3,303 ratings  ·  763 reviews
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth's water from harm and corruption--a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Water is the first medicine.
It affects and connects us all . . .

When a black snake threatens
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 17th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
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Markie I enjoy reading it with my almost-3-year-old. It's a nice inroad to discussions of valuing the earth and especially standing up for precious sacred wa…moreI enjoy reading it with my almost-3-year-old. It's a nice inroad to discussions of valuing the earth and especially standing up for precious sacred water resources.(less)

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Average rating 4.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,303 ratings  ·  763 reviews

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Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kids everywhere
Recommended to Calista by: Raven Black
This is one of those books that feels written for me. I love this story. The author wrote this after the incident at Standing Rock happened with the water and the oil pipe. She tells of the stories told to the people of the land. They are told to protect the water and one day a black serpent will come to poison the water and they must protect against this serpent. The serpent is oil pipes that crisscross our land and leak.

The story is about this girl and her village and the important of all the
Rod Brown
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Annual Goodreads Choice Awards reading project: Read all the Picture Book nominees! (12 of 20)

A call to activism in support of a good cause is beautifully illustrated in this book exploring the environmental and spiritual reasons behind the Dakota Access Pipeline protests by the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters.
This is a long review because this is an important book and the discussions surrounding it are important. I think the book has much to offer but I also found it a bit incomplete. It provided a rousing call to action to protect our water and the environment, but failed to provide actionable steps that children can take to actually BE water protectors. If you don’t have time to read my full review, I encourage you to skip to the bottom where I list some ideas for protecting our water (and I encour ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeously-illustrated book that would be a great way to start so many conversations, whether it's about environmentalism, pipelines, activism, or Indigenous cultures. I loved the repeating refrain of "We stand / With our songs / And our drums / We are still here." which shows Indigenous culture and beliefs being passed down through generations. This is beautiful and powerful, and I'm so glad that the Caldecott will put it on more libraries' shelves! ...more
Dave Schaafsma
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books. We are the Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michael Goade, bth of whom have indigenous roots, is book #20 (of 20) of 2020, whew, read after the contest ended, because of libraries being closed for weeks at a time. It’s one of the rare nominated books that deal with the environment and environmental justice, pertaining to our need to protect fresh water for now and the future (as it has not ...more
Featured in grandma reads session.

The author, Carole Lindstrom, is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, located in North Dakota. The illustrator, Michaela Goade, was raised in Southeast Alaska, home of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes. Both have a profound reverence for water. Their thoughtful words and stunning artwork show that it is the responsibility of humans to care for water, keep it clean and healthy, and to approach care for Earth in its entirety with the same diligen
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
A great book for the ecologically minded to share with their children. Written and illustrated by two indigenous women, this book is narrated by a Ojibwe girl recalling a life lesson from her grandmother: the supreme importance of water to all life forms. Humans come from water, from mothers’ wombs, and how water nurtures all throughout their living existence … people, animals, plants, etc. Evil takes the form of a black snake that will spoil the water and destroy the land, and is the representa ...more
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous and thought-provoking book about a young girl and her tribe, who vow to protect their homeland and heritage from a vast and destructive enemy--an oil pipeline. Through inspiring and strong words, kids are empowered to know they can stand for what is right, too.

Although I wasn't a huge fan of representing the pipeline as a "black snake"--snakes already have it pretty bad and the vast majority of species are harmless and beneficial, but perhaps this would make a good discussion
Jessica Haider
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Led to a great conversation with my kids about Native Americans, the environment, and the protection of land/water.
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
Amazing book, message, art, and goal. This book should win!

Jillian Heise
Michaela Goade is rapidly becoming a favorite illustrator of mine! This book is gorgeous, and so important for the representation and perspective that is shares. It's a beautiful book that should be in all elementary libraries! ...more
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Picture-Book Readers Looking for Stories with an Ecological Theme
Inspired by the story of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil pipeline running from North Dakota to Illinois, Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) author Carole Lindstrom spins this tale of a young Native American girl who, together with her people, takes a stand as a water protector, against the destructive "black snake" threatening their lands. Guided by the wisdom of her nokomis, or grandmother, the girl reflects on the importance of water to all life, and the urgent necessit ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
For some it starts at an early age. We are taught by our parents, grandparents or adult mentors, to nurture and care for Earth in her entirety. For me it was my father. We spent early morning and evening hours in summer on the lakes and rivers fishing. He taught me to watch the weather, the time of day and how fish might think. We walked for miles in the woods in autumn during bow hunting season. To and from our spot, he was always whispering to me about the various trees and plants and how to l ...more
Bianca Escada (planningwithlove)
Mni wiconi- Water is life.

5 stars for an amazing and informative children’s book! The message in this book is so strong, I hope many children and adults will read this! Also, the illustrations are breathtaking; vibrant colors and attention to detail! 😍

Ps. Also, read this for Lost In A Book Club challenge: Caldecott Medal. 🏅

Sharing a piece of information at the end of the book:

More on Water Protectors

In Ojibwe culture, women are the protectors of the water and men are the protectors of the fire.
Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredible story with important discussion on tough subjects that are approached without sugar-coating, but also without being overwhelming for children. The extra information after the story takes this book to the next level for teaching and conversation with children on the topics in the story.
Barb Middleton
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A girl explains how a black snake from Native American folklore will come and poison the land and water and how her people are called to protect it. The black snake represents oil pipelines that go through tribal lands and pollute the water due to leaks. And of course, it is illustrated with water colors ; ) Don't miss the author's note in the back. Beautiful book with text and illustrations! ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is phenomenal. The art, the message - both are simply incredible. The text is poetic, yet accessible, and the art is just stunning. This deserves all the stars. All of them. Twelve. Twelve stars. That seems fair and reasonable.
Abby Johnson
Oh Caldecott committeeeee..... Buy, buy, buy this gorgeous book. The artwork is absolutely stunning. Ojibwe author and Tlingit illustrator Lindstrom and Goade have created a magnificent book that celebrates the people standing against oil pipelines to protect the environment. A repeating chorus of "We stand / with our songs / and our drums. / We are still here." reminds readers that Native Nations still exist. Illustrations include Native people with light skin and hair. I'm for sure buying this ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book. I could go on a rant here about climate & environmental protections that have been rolled back in the last 4 years but if you’re reading this book, you’re probably already aware.
Ms. B
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021, picture, caldecott
Told by a Native American author, it's a story about taking care of the environment. Together, our voices can make a difference. #ownvoices ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Water is threatened. A girl stands up with her people to drive back the danger.

A beautifully illustrated story of courage sharing the true story of the Standing Rock Sioux Trip who stood up to protect their land from a pipeline company.
Baby Bookworm
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews
Hello, friends! Our book today is We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade, a conservational call to action and celebration of Indigenous pride.

A young girl of Ojibwe descent recounts a lesson her grandmother imparted to her: “Water is the first medicine.” She points out that we come from water, from the earliest days in our mothers’ wombs; once born, the planet we all share nurtures us with water in the same way. Her people talk of a black snake tha
Laura Harrison
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Breathtakingly glorious. Written by an Indigenous author and illustrator. A stand out picture book for 2021 in every possible way. I anticipate it winning a Caldecott award and probably others come ALA time late January.
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations and word choices are absolutely gorgeous. This book would be incredible to prompt more inquiry for grades K-4 and could be revisited often for continued discussion and analysis.
Shaye Miller
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott
We Are Water Protectors won the 2021 Caldecott Medal and it appears absolutely no one is surprised. What a beautiful book, but how especially TIMELY! The story is about the foretelling of the “black snake” (oil pipelines) which might eventually run through sacred Native American lands, destroying their life-giving water. And it’s also about the fight to have your voice heard. The back matter shares more information about water protectors as well as further reading, a glossary, and an illustrator ...more
Cara (Wilde Book Garden)
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stunning art and message. I will never cease to be amazed at the power a short book can have.

Older readers who have drifted away from picture books like I had, you are missing out! Trust me. We Are Water Protectors would make an excellent place to (re)start.

(And of course this would make a wonderful gift for young readers in your life as well!)
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Beautiful illustrations! Lovely way to teach ecology, care of the earth, and activism while honoring indigenous people’s stories and experiences.
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kelly-s-rwc-2020
Powerful message. Beautiful illustrations. Definitely a great book to share with your kids and take the opportunity to talk about environmental issues.
Erin Banham
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An important message with absolutely stunning illustrations.
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