This brother and sister writing team share the story of Shiny, a whale child that becomes a boy to help humans understand the harm facing the world’s oceans.
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The Whale Child introduces children ages 7 to 12 to existing environmental issues with a message of hope, education, sharing, and action.
This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, author series sponsors the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation, and Seattle City of Literature. Thanks to media sponsor The Seattle Times.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Shiny is a whale child. One day his mother teaches him about the harm facing the world’s oceans because of human carelessness. Shiny agrees to be turned into a boy by the ocean’s water spirit so he can visit the land and alert people to these dangers. He meets Alex, a young Coast Salish girl who learns from Shiny that the living spirit of water exists in everything–glaciers, rivers, oceans, rain, plants, and all living creatures. Together the two travel the earth, confronting the realities of a planet threatened by an uncertain future. Inspired by Shiny’s hope, humor, and wisdom, Alex makes the promise to become a teacher for future generations. She realizes that the timeless Indigenous value of environmental stewardship is needed now more than ever and that we must all stand up on behalf of Mother Earth.
Written and illustrated by Indigenous authors Keith Egawa and Chenoa Egawa, The Whale Child introduces children ages 7 to 12 to existing environmental issues with a message of hope, education, sharing, and action. Also included are resources for students and teachers to facilitate learning about Pacific Northwest Indigenous cultures and the environment.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:
KEITH and CHENOA EGAWA are siblings who co-wrote and illustrated The Whale Child (2020) and Tani’s Search for the Heart (2013). They are both enrolled members of the Lummi Indian Nation.
KEITH EGAWA is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Creative Writing program and author of the novel Madchild Running (Red Crane Books Inc. 1999). Keith’s extensive work experience in the fields of Children and Family Services and Indian Education Reform has provided him with both inspiration and insight into this subject matter. Keith has been awarded several artists grants, including the ARTs Up grant through the Seattle Arts Commission, which was used to conduct a series of writing workshops for Native youth in the Seattle area.
CHENOA EGAWA is the owner of Swan Clan Productions. She is a traditional Native singer, storyteller, ceremonial leader, and medicine carrier. Chenoa has served as a Lummi delegate and an interpreter in Central and South America and for the UN. She has also served as Indian Education liaison in public and tribal schools, promoting racial equity through art and education.
“Vivid illustrations juxtapose the beauty and scale of the natural world that the children explore. . . . This necessary read decolonizes the Western construction of climate change.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“For the Coast Salish people, the nonhuman living world is not filled with resources to be abused and extracted—rather, these are our relatives that carry our original instructions. . . . Promoting these concepts and the necessary fusion of Indigenous ecological perspectives with western understandings is the fully realized mantra narrated for us in this marvelous story. The critical insights of our responsibilities and the truth of reciprocity—particularly with water, the first medicine—are woven into each page. Through playful adventure, the essence of ancient instructions emerges in the context of a modern world.”
—Valerie Segrest, Muckleshoot, author, Native food systems strategist and wild medicine expert
“A treasure of a book—educational, inspirational, and beautiful!”
—Keely Parrack, author of Morning, Sunshine!
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West Seattle, Washington