We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

by Traci Sorell

Other authorsFrane Lessac (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2018



Local notes

398.2 Sor




Charlesbridge (2018), 32 pages


Otsaliheliga is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.


Original language


Physical description

32 p.; 9.88 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member sylliu
A lovely picture book about a Cherokee community celebrating a year's worth of traditions, festivals, and every day activities. Each spread introduces the Cherokee names, spelling, and pronunciation. The illustrations are vibrant and warm.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
First-time author Traci Sorrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, presents a picture-book tribute to the seasons, and to the Cherokee practice of gratitude in We Are Grateful / Otsaliheliga. Set in the here and now, the simple narrative chronicles life in the Cherokee community throughout the year,
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from the Great New Moon Ceremony in the fall (Cherokee New Year) to the Green Corn Ceremony in the summer. At every occasion, the people are otsaliheliga (grateful)...

A lovely little book, We Are Grateful / Otsaliheliga comes recommended on the back dust-jacket by Abenaki children's author Joseph Bruchac, who is one of my favorites. Sorrell's narrative here actually mentions the Cherokee folktale about the first strawberries, which Bruchac has retold in picture-book form. Cherokee words are introduced and defined throughout, both in the original Cherokee syllabary and in transliteration, making this title both educational and entertaining. The accompanying artwork, done by illustrator Frané Lessac in gouache, is colorful and vibrant, with a folksy feeling that is well-suited to the text. An informative afterword provides definitions, an author's note, and an exploration of the Cherokee syllabary. Recommended to anyone looking for picture-books about gratitude and/or about Native Americans in the present day.
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LibraryThing member Lisa2013
4-1/2 stars – ½ star off because there is no story that flows and I would have enjoyed the book more had there been one.

The illustrations are really special. They’re gorgeous and detailed with lots to view. I adore the art!

I learned a lot about the modern Cherokee Nation. I found it
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interesting that, like Jewish people, they celebrate New Year in the autumn. It makes sense to me.

There isn’t exactly a story here. The repetition will probably appeal to children though, and I did appreciate how much lifestyle information was able to be included, and loved how it showed women, men, children each participating in life and the community in a variety of ways.

I found the whole project touching, and the narrative is one that’s sorely needed for learning about modern Native Americans.

The additional information at the end greatly elevates the quality of the book. I appreciated the definitions list, the author’s note, the Cherokee syllabary with history and pronunciation. I think readers of all ages can get a lot out of those few final pages. I was also touched by the author’s and illustrator’s dedications and interested in their bios.

Highly recommended for readers looking for children’s picture books about gratitude, modern Native Americans/the Cherokee Nation, the seasons, written & oral languages, and beautiful illustrations.
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LibraryThing member g33kgrrl
My daughter really likes this one. It has my husband and I looking up recipes for bean bread. A+
LibraryThing member melodyreads
Cherokee letters at the end
Notes on Cherokee culture
LibraryThing member thornton37814
I feel a little cheated. My library only had this book available as an audiobook, and while that was wonderful for hearing the spoken Cherokee, I missed out on the illustrations. The book comes from the perspective of the Cherokee people and takes them through each season to discuss things for
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which they are thankful. It also talks about things from their heritage for which they are thankful. The glossary goes into more depth to discuss the concepts than most glossaries. I appreciated the general information about the Cherokee people included after the glossary and before the note about the sources and information on the Cherokee language and pronunciation. The audio version would work wonderfully when paired with the print book.
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LibraryThing member jennybeast
A lovely book, and I am glad to see a book that would work so well in a storytime to talk about gratitude, to talk about Native culture, to talk about different alphabets. Beautiful, accessible. Otsaliheliga
LibraryThing member sloth852
I love this modern Cherokee take on gratitude.






(72 ratings; 4.3)
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