We have a simple and fun beyond the book activity to go along with this wonderful new picture book, At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell. It’s a beautiful reminder that “The Roots that Ground us Help us Soar.”
While I was in graduate school I took a course on Native American Women with Jennifer Nez Denetdale, the first Navajo to receive a PhD in History. She is a passionate advocate for Indigenous women and I learned so much in her class. My biggest takeaway was a startling understanding of just how overlooked and underappreciated Native women’s roles have been in history.
Needless to say, I was delighted when Penguin Random House sent a copy of At the Mountain’s Base to me. It’s a beautiful tribute to Native women who have served in wars and continue to serve for this country. The author, Traci Sorell is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and I fell in love with her debut picture book last year, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga. I was so excited to see another stunning picture book from her this year!
At the Mountain’s Base : Our Review
At the Mountain’s Base is written in poetry form with gorgeous illustrations to help tell the story. It’s about a fictional Cherokee family finding strength at home through song and prayer in their cabin at the mountain’s base while they await the return of their loved one, a pilot at war.
The Author’s Note at the end of the book explains that Native women from American Indian and Alaska Native Nations serve at proportionately higher rates than all other Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Service members. This book honors their service as well as all the Native women who served throughout history.
It’s a wonderful tribute to Indigenous female pilots, service members, and veterans. This is a great jumping off point to talk about Native American women serving our country. At the end of the book, the author gives more info about one specific woman, Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat, an Oglala Lakota Pilot who served during World War II. My kids went straight to the internet to find out more!
But while it can be a great addition to a diverse history lesson, At the Mountain’s Base is also just a lovely book to read aloud. The poetry is simple, yet so moving and lyrical, and the illustrations are colorful, detailed, and perfectly compliment the story. It’s a good book for even young listeners, ages 4 and up.
Activity Inspired by At the Mountain’s Base
We were inspired after reading this book to go beyond the book and tell some stories of our own.
In the book, the poem and pictures highlight the Cherokee tradition of weaving. Framing the illustrations throughout the book are colorful twists of yarn. During our first read of the book, all of my kids kept pointing out the beautiful yarn illustrations on each page and how they weaved through the story. We decided to spin off of that for a fun activity inspired by the book.
With just a few skeins of yarn, some paper, and colored pencils, we took our inspiration from At the Mountain’s Base and framed our own stories.
This one, from Eila, tells about a dream she had.
All of my kids had a wonderful time with this activity. It was fun for me to watch them study Traci Sorell’s poetry and Weshoyot Alvitre’s illustrations, and then use their own creativity to tell a story of their own. I always know it’s a wonderful book when my kids finish reading and want to create a book of their own.
This is a simple, inexpensive activity that would be great in a classroom or at home. Reading aloud At the Mountain’s Base and sharing the beautiful illustrations is sure to inspire young listeners in creating their own art and telling their own stories/poems. It would also be a wonderful activity to compliment lessons about World War II, Native American History, or even just a study of poetry.
We highly recommend this book! Get yourself a copy and try our beyond the book activity for some easy creative learning.
I received a copy of At the Mountain’s Base from the publisher for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.