Stepping Stones
by Carol Trembath
Lakeside Publishing

"We will walk to raise awareness of how important it is to take care of the water. We will circle the lakes to protect them for our children and grandchildren."

Mai's feet get tired as she trudges along the banks of the lake, yet she knows that what she is doing is important. A young member of the Ojibway tribe, she and others of her family and people have been walking around Lake Michigan along the ancient path of their ancestors in an effort to call attention to the need to preserve one our most precious natural resources—water. Mai's job every morning is to pour lake water into the copper pail that the group will carry with them as they walk. Sometimes she picks up discarded bottles and cans while she goes along as that, too, is an important way to take care of the water. As she travels, Mai also finds or is given small, unique rocks that she tucks away in her memory bag. Each type of stone serves to remind her of a story from Ojibway culture relating to Mother Earth.

In this charming and beautifully illustrated children's story, the author pays homage to the real Mother Earth Water Walkers who have been circling the Great Lakes and walking along major rivers since 2003. Mai's curiosity is the vehicle Trembath uses to have Mai's grandmother share intriguing insights from Ojibway lore and the group's purpose in walking. The author supplements this teaching with helpful sections before and after the story that show and describe the specific rocks Mai encounters, explain the meaning of specific terms, offer links to a variety of resources, give aid to teachers of this material, etc. Helping to make the book memorable are David W. Craig's exquisite pictures which are, at times, reminiscent of the great Marcel Marlier's work in the French Martine series. Informative and inspiring, this book does an excellent job of calling attention to a vital ecological issue.

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