Each year, the Whole Girl, Whole World speaker series —a collaboration between the School and the CHS Parents’ Auxiliary—is an opportunity for our community to engage with thought-provoking topics and discuss the ways we can all support CHS students to thrive and positively influence the world around them.
At the 2023-2024 Whole Girl, Whole World event on September 25, we welcome author, educator and public speaker Monique Gray Smith, whose speaking engagements revolve around hope, resilience, education, wellness and the important teaching that love is medicine. We are pleased to welcome Monique at the start of Truth and Reconciliation week.
Monique is an award-winning Cree, Lakota and Scottish author, whose most recent book, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults, received the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award for 2022. Monique’s books resonate with readers of all generations and backgrounds. This adaptation is based on the original book, Braiding Sweetgrass, written by Robin Wall Kimmerer, both are about Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants.
We look forward to welcoming Monique. Her presentation will be hosted at Crofton House School in the theatre of the Beedie Fine Arts Centre on the evening of Monday, September 25.
2023-2024 Whole Girl, Whole World Reading List
Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults, adapted by Monique Gray Smith
Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults offers a unique and powerful perspective on the interconnectedness of nature and human beings. Through the lens of Indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge, the adaptation by Monique Gray Smith ensures that young readers can easily engage with the profound concepts presented in the original book.
This new edition reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us. With informative sidebars, reflection questions, and art from illustrator Nicole Neidhardt, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults brings the lessons of plant life to a new generation. Drawing from her experiences as an Indigenous scientist, botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer demonstrated how all living things—from strawberries and witch hazel to water lilies and lichen—provide us with gifts and lessons every day in her best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass.
Braiding Sweetgrass, written by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Called a book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island (North America/Earth) to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces Indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take “us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an Indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.
Get to Know Monique
Explore Monique’s other resources and insights:
- Monique’s website: www.moniquegraysmith.com
- Monique’s Books: www.moniquegraysmith.com/booksmenu
- CBC Radio blog: How a new adaptation of the hit book Braiding Sweetgrass delivers Indigenous wisdom to a younger generation
- CBC Radio blog: Children's books can help young Canadians learn more about residential schools, says writer Monique Gray Smith