Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

I Help = Niwechihaw

Nicholson, Caitlin Dale (Author/Illustrator)
Morin-Neilson, Leona (Author)
Groundwood Books 2008. 24 pages
First published: 2008
ISBN: 9780888998125 (hardcover)
9781773061160 (paperback)
9781773061962 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Rich acrylic paintings provide the backdrop for this tender story about a young boy and his grandmother who set out to harvest rosehips in the woods. Written in both Cree and English, the text is minimalistic yet powerful, transferring a time-honoured tradition to future generations. Two or three-word sentence pairs run along the bottom of each page: “Kôhkom kesimamanew. Kôhkom gets ready./Nikesimanan. I get ready,” reads the opening spread.

Turning the pages, readers are lulled by a gentle repetitive pattern as the boy accompanies and imitates his dear “kôhkom”. (As explained in the endnote, “Young people use kôhkom as a term of love and respect for women elders.”) Learning by her wise example, he relates: “Kôhkom prays.\I pray.”

The images are warm and visually arresting. Paint is applied in thick, sunny layers with earthy ochres and plush teals adding texture and depth. Kôhkom’s cherry-red jacket and bordeaux dress foreshadow the purpose of their expedition: to pick rosehips. “Kôhkom picks.\I pick.”

Near the end, baskets full of fruit provide a lively visual, the vibrancy of the rosehips suggestive of their curative powers. “Kôhkom helps.\I help. Kôhkom is done.\I am done.” Celebrating Cree heritage, the book closes with an easy-to-follow recipe for rosehip tea.

  •  

    What activities can you do with older family relatives? Discuss how that is special. How does it build your relationship with them?

  •  

    The boy often accompanies his kôhkom and mostly does what she does. On small slips of paper, write down the actions that he does and make categories for them, such as actions about eating or thinking.

  •  

    In Cree, “kôhkom” means my grandmother and “nôhkom” means your grandmother. Discuss how it makes a difference if you read: “My grandmother prays; I pray” as opposed to “Your grandmother prays; I pray.”

  •  

    Create your own book based on the actions you do when you imitate a family member, friend or someone else you respect. Make the book bilingual.

  •  

    What activities can you do with older family relatives? Discuss how that is special. How does it build your relationship with them?

  •  

    Read the story and look at the pictures. What more can you see in the pictures? Why do you think the authors chose to write in two languages? What is this language and where does it come from?

  •  

    Are there elements in Cree that you can deduce even though you may not speak the language?

  •  

    Read the dedication at the end. What do the authors wish for their children? Why do you think they choose these wishes?

  •  

    In the same style, write a story for an older family relative you appreciate.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture