First Salmon

Overview

Each spring the Native America people of the Pacific Northwest celebrate First Salmon, which marks the arrival of the salmon that have provided them with food for centuries. But this spring, Charlie's' heart is not in the celebration. First Salmon will never be the same without Uncle Joe.

During the ceremony, Charlie remembers his late uncle and the good times they had together, skipping stones or taking out the cedar canoe. He remembers the things his uncle had taught him and ...

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Overview

Each spring the Native America people of the Pacific Northwest celebrate First Salmon, which marks the arrival of the salmon that have provided them with food for centuries. But this spring, Charlie's' heart is not in the celebration. First Salmon will never be the same without Uncle Joe.

During the ceremony, Charlie remembers his late uncle and the good times they had together, skipping stones or taking out the cedar canoe. He remembers the things his uncle had taught him and the stories that he told. When one by one Charlie's people tell their own stories that honor the salmon, Charlie comes to an understanding that helps him see beyond his grief.

Roxane Beauclair Salonen's moving story, with heartfelt illustrations by Jim Fowler, captures a special moment in the life of a boy, who is struggling with the death of a loved one.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The salmon have returned and the tribe celebrates, but for young Charlie the day is filled with the bittersweet memories of his Uncle Joe. Joe taught Charlie how to skip stones and how to swim like a salmon. Joe carved the cedar canoe that glides into the bay where the salmon have begun to run. Joe sat Charlie on his lap and told him stories about the largest, most beautiful salmon of all. The touching story of a young boy's grief and his acceptance of loss is set against the background of the celebration of the First Salmon. This annual event is celebrated by Native Americans in the Puget Sound area who welcome the first salmon of the run that, if he is treated with respect, will return to his village under the sea and lead his relatives back to the rivers and streams. Every page is illustrated with delicate watercolors that beautifully capture the time and place of the First Salmon. 2005, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 7 to 10.
—Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-First Salmon is a ceremony celebrated by Pacific Northwest tribes as a way of honoring the fish that sustain life for their people. While Charlie watches the event, he remembers his beloved Uncle Joe, who recently passed away, thinking that it's just not the same without him, and he recalls the special moments they shared. By the story's end, he realizes that death is a part of the cycle of nature, and that as long as he has his memories of his uncle, Joe will always be a part of him. Salonen lovingly details the celebration, and Fowler's presentation of modern Native peoples participating in an ancient tradition are images that children need to see. However, there are a few problems. When Charlie begins to think back on time spent with Joe, youngsters must read carefully to realize that these are flashbacks. While Fowler's broad paint strokes work well on nature and far-off group scenes, his close-ups of humans are less successful, and his illustrations of Charlie are inconsistent. Still, this is a respectful treatment of the subject. Libraries in the Pacific Northwest will want this title, and classes anywhere studying Native peoples could certainly benefit from this careful depiction of tradition.-Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590781715
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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