“If you want to visit a sea garden… you’ll have to get up really early. These magical gardens only reveal themselves at the lowest tides.”
For over 3,000 years, the Native Peoples of the Pacific Northwest have been farming shellfish, according to this striking informational picture book from Canada. They build manmade reefs in order to provide more surface area for growing shellfish. In this way, the “farmers” can harvest up to four times as many clams than would grow naturally, enough to feed the entire community.
This informational picture book uses minimal text to teach children about this ancient and ongoing practice. However, it is the glorious artwork that makes this book stand out. In horizontal layouts, each double-page spread portrays seascapes in glowing colors, using silhouettes and patterns to invoke feelings of peace, cooperation, and wisdom. The illustrator, Roy Henry Vickers, is a chieftain in the House of Walkus in Wuikinuxv, and his artwork employs indigenous motifs reflected in anthropomorphized creatures and tribal signs in the sky. The last page goes into greater detail about the history of sea gardens and the current refurbishments underway off the coast of British Columbia, as well as a website address for further research.
Unique and beautiful, this little book enriches our understanding of working in partnership with nature to provide for ourselves and to care for our environment.
Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and may not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.