We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
A look at modern Native American life through the eyes of an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
Otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is a word that Cherokee people use to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the Cherokee New Year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by Traci Sorell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and illustrated by Frané Lessac, this nonfiction look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.
★ “A gracious, warm, and loving celebration of community and gratitude” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “Perfect for holiday and family sharing” —School Library Journal, starred review
★ "Has the ability to resonate with any reader" - Shelf Awareness, starred review
★ "Underscores the importance of traditions . . . while simultaneously . . . challenging dated media images of Indigenous people." - The Horn Book, starred review
"The text reads like poetry . . . and the author’s note sets past misrepresentations right." - Booklist
“I am truly grateful for Traci Sorell's first picture book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga. By focusing on the simple but deeply meaningful theme of gratitude, she's portrayed the strength and lasting nature of her Cherokee heritage in a way that will resonate with young readers of many cultural backgrounds. Further, she does this in a contemporary fashion, not talking about her people in the vanished past but as a vital part of the present-day world. Vividly and accurately illustrated by Frané Lessac, and including Cherokee language on numerous spreads, it both entertains and teaches on every page. It’s the kind of book I want my own grandchildren to read.”
—Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), best-selling author of over 130 books for children and adults
For a guide to Cherokee Words (Spoken & Phonetics) that are found in the book, click here.