The Forever Sky
Author Thomas Peacock, Illustrations Annette S. Lee
Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 1, 2019)
Brothers look to the stars and spin stories, some inspired by Uncle, some of their own making. The best one involves their grandmother and her place in the forever sky.
"Nooko's spirit is there in the stars"; says Niigaanii to his younger brother, Bineshiinh, as they sprawl in a meadow, gazing skyward. "Uncle said when "Nooko's spirit left this world it went there." Nooko was their grandmother, and they miss her. But Uncle helps them find comfort in the night sky, where all the stars have stories.
Indeed, there are so many stars and so many stories that the boys spend night after night observing and sharing, making sense of patterns and wisdom in the forever sky." They see a moose, a loon, a crane, the Path of Souls, and so much more.
One night, a beautiful show of lights fills the sky. Niigaanii explains that the northern lights are the spirits of the relatives who have passed on. The boys imagine different relatives dancing, lighting up the sky with their graceful movements. And then they see her: Nooko is one of the elders leading the dance. She has a message for them. One they can share with their parents and their uncle and everyone else who remembers her. One that lends power to the skies and brings smiles to the stargazers' faces.
Annette S. Lee is a professor of astronomy and a professional visual artist. Her communities are Ojibwe and D/Lakota, and she is the director of Native Skywatchers.
Reviews and news
American Indians in Children's Literature Best Books of 2019
Winner of the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award in Children's Literature
"Peacock (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Anishinaabe Ojibwe) spins prose that feels both traditional and contemporary, providing a mirror for Indigenous readers raised among similar stories. Yet those unfamiliar with the Ojibwe cosmos will connect as well. Although rendered in a style all her own, astrophysicist/artist Lee’s (Lakota-Sioux) colorful, richly detailed illustrations recall the X-ray pictograph inspirations, elongated figures, and genre-content popularized by other Native American/First Nations painters. Astute readers will also notice the young brothers appear to wear shorts in some of the images, reinforcing present-day significance."
—Kirkus Starred Review
"Peacock's (Ojibwe) lyrical text has a soothing, meditative quality that perfectly complements Lee's (Ojibwe-Lakota) impressionistic, celestially inspired illustrations, which saturate every spread with color and movement. For Ojibwe families, this book is a beautiful testament to the storytelling tradition and to their tribal beliefs, while any family grieving a loved one will take solace in this message of connection across time and space. VERDICT With stunning illustrations and a welcome message of comfort for those who have lost a loved one, this book is a uniquely lovely addition that deserves space in most library collections."
—School Library Journal
Also featured in: The Circle, Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Southwest Journal, Native America Calling, KQDS, KUMD, and Next Avenue.
Video and coloring page
- 32 pages
- Fully illustrated in color
- 10 x 10 inches
- ISBN: 9781681340982