All readers can be grateful for the authentic Cherokee representation in this book celebrating contemporary families and their daily, year-round practice of gratitude. If books for kids about Native Americans have been predominantly historical, set pre-1900, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga provides a welcome current representation. It's nation specific, written by an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, so Cherokee readers will recognize themselves and their families, and other readers can meet relatable kids who are pictured riding bikes, playing in a tree house, launching toy sailboats, and making a snowman, as well as families that gather for picnics, holiday meals, and celebrations.The book is structured around the four seasons, starting with fall, which we learn is the Cherokee New Year, as well as the time of the Great New Moon Ceremony.
The mesh of educational information with everyday detail is an easy weave, and the book includes Cherokee words, and a friendly pronunciation guide, as well as a Cherokee syllabary, and a page of "Definitions" that explain some concepts, such as the Trial of Tears, more fully. The art, by Frené Lessac, is brightly colored and appealing, and the book's message -- that it's important to give thanks, "to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles" -- is universal.