At the Mountain’s Base

Kokila/Penguin/. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735230606.
K-Gr 3–A military family awaits the return of their loved one in this lyrical tribute to modern warrior women. At the mountain’s base, beneath a hickory tree, sits a cabin, and inside, next to a cozy stove, a grandmother weaves and prays, surrounded by family members singing. Within their song, a pilot flies into danger seeking peace, and Sorell’s simple yet poetic text circles back to the family in the cabin, huddled together, “waiting for her return.” Individual color strands woven throughout Alvitre’s watercolor and ink illustrations come together to form a striking tapestry encircling the cabin, linking its inhabitants to the pilot. Generous white space and colorful frames focus attention on the connections between the human figures. An afterword summarizes the achievements of Indigenous women in the armed forces and briefly mentions the career of Ola Mildred Rexroat, an Oglala Lakota pilot and member of the WASPs in World War II.
VERDICT Accessible to a wide range of young audiences and military families, this picture book is also a unique and specific recognition of the strength and courage of Indigenous women. A first-purchase for any library.

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