Berry Song

by Michaela Goade (Author)

Berry Song
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade's first self-authored picture book is a gorgeous celebration of the land she knows well and the powerful wisdom of elders.

On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries.

Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry.

Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.

Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade's luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.

Select format:
$17.09 $18.99

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

A touching story of familial love and of respect and gratitude for the bounty of the land. 

Horn Book Magazine

Goade's lush, brightly colored art vividly portrays the landscape.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

In Caldecott Medalist Goade's (We Are Water Protectors) solo debut, a Tlingit grandmother and her granddaughter celebrate the earth, foraging through the seasons "on an island at the edge of the wide, wild sea." Gently evocative, reiterative lines trace the grandmother teaching the child narrator to gather "slippery seaweed," catch "silvery salmon," and pick a wide variety of forest berries. When "the berries sing to us," the duo reciprocates in song ("Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry./ Huckleberry, Soapberry, Strawberry, Crowberry"), so that "berry--and bear--know we are here." They also express their gratitude for the gift of life-sustaining food, sing for their ancestors and for the future, and seek to "take care of the land...// As the land takes care of us." Vivid, brilliant hues embolden lushly wrought, soft watercolor and mixed-media illustrations, painting a serene picture of nature and its many gifts in spreads that blur the lines between the landscape and the figures in it. Tapping into themes of people's connection to nature--and nature's to people--the volume crucially invites readers to recognize this intersection. An author's note contextualizes core Tlingit tenets discussed. Ages 4-8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (July)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

This book shares the foraging tradition of a young Tlingit girl and her grandmother living on an island off of the coast of Alaska. The grandmother teaches the young girl which berries to pick and how to say "Gunalchéesh," or give thanks. Told with rhythm to match the song, the duo sings as they pick berries ("Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry. Huckleberry, Soapberry, Strawberry, Crowberry"). The author captures rich language to mirror the beauty of nature. A note cautions young foragers to research and use adult supervision, while the back matter includes a glossary of information on which berries are safe to gather. These additions make this picture book perfect for cross-disciplinary learning with science or social studies. VERDICT Goade calls upon her childhood memories and current home and shares important information about the beauty and utility of nature. Told in rhythm, song, and narrative, the language is rich and evocative—perfect for early elementary readers.—Tracey S. Hodges

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

" Berry Song may strike young readers as not quite like any picture book they've seen before."— Shelf Awareness
Michaela Goade

Michaela Goade is a Caldecott Medalist and a #1 New York Times bestselling artist. She is the illustrator of a number of award-winning and bestselling books, including We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner. She grew up along Alaska's wild coast, where she picked berries with every season. She is from the Raven moiety and Kiks.ádi clan from Sitka, Alaska, where she currently lives. She invites you to visit her online at

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
July 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV013040 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | New Baby
JUV011040 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - Native American
JUV012080 - Juvenile Fiction | Legends, Myths, Fables | Native American
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Indians of North America
Tlingit Indians

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!