Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp and Illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr.
Reviewed by the Rev. Canon Heather L. Melton
This book caught my eye because it is a “Reading Rainbow Book,” and as a child, I was a huge fan of Reading Rainbow. This book was written in 1995 and is based on the Thanksgiving Address, an ancient message of peace and appreciation for the earth and all people. The Thanksgiving Address is from the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquois or Six Nations – Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora from Update New York and Canada. The book serves as a translation of the Thanksgiving Address, which the people of the Six Nations are taught from childhood to recite each morning.
This is a beautifully illustrated book and poignant reminder to start each day with gratitude – that everything we encounter is an opportunity to be grateful. I found this book to be calming, grounding, and centering when I read it in the morning. My children loved the artwork and the words. It’s often easy to take creation for granted, but this book is a reminder of how important all of creation is to us and why we need to give thanks for creation and to care for it each day. The last prayer has the text of the address in Kaniakehaka (Mohawk), since preserving and using Indigenous language is so very important.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has children, loves the environment, or wants a wonderful prayer to begin the day grounded in gratitude. It’s a peaceful reminder of the connections we have and the gifts that we receive each day from creation. It is a reminder to be grateful and to respond in gratitude to the world around us.