Monday, October 13, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 177

Picture Book: The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story

Retold by: Joseph Bruchac

Illustrator: Anna Vojtech

Summary: This re-telling of a Cherokee legend explains the story behind strawberries. Long ago when the world was new, a husband comes home and gets angry that his supper is not prepared. The wife is so furious and hurt by his words that she leaves her husband in anger. He tries to go after her, but he cannot keep up. The sun, seeing the man’s sorrow, asks if he is still angry with her. He confesses that he was foolish, but he cannot catch her to tell her. So the sun begins to tempt the woman with various kinds of berries, but her anger is so strong that she does not even see them. Then the sun plants bright red strawberries in her path, the first of their kind. She bends down to taste the delicious fruit and thinks of her husband and their former happiness. She decides to gather some berries to take home to him. Eventually, he catches up with her and asks for her forgiveness. Not only does she forgive him, she gives him some sweet strawberries. Even now it is said that strawberries are a reminder that “friendship and respect are as sweet as the taste of ripe strawberries.”

Hanna’s Comments: This story has an Adam and Eve feeling to it, but it is grounded in a very real, human situation, anger at those we love most who often bear the brunt of our anger. This is true of family members, and it also holds true with those we are closest to in our faith communities. Too often difficult emotions, such as anger and hurt, are not dealt with productively, and their lingering effects lead to dysfunction and more emotional pain. Conversations that lead to confession, forgiveness and reconciliation can be powerful healing agents. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Puffin, 1993

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: There are amateur videos on

PBT Category: Traditional, Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, anger, choices, decisions, conflict, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, forgiveness/justifying grace/mercy/redemption, fruit/fruit of the spirit, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, God’s care/providence, grace, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, relationships, self-control, servant hood/service/serving, sharing, sin

Scripture Connections: Refrain from anger (Psalm 37:8); whoever is slow to anger has great understanding (Proverbs 14:29); let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you (Ephesians 4:31)

Idea(s) for Application: This book could, in a non-threatening way, begin a conversation with adults about how they deal with their anger. More importantly, it might lead to important insights and comments about confession, forgiveness, and healing relationships. 

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