book review

Native American Heritage Month: The Hunter’s Promise

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The Hunter's Promise Book Review and Extension Activities

I first saw this book when it was in galley form and it was breathtaking then. Actually holding the book in my hands is an experience I’m very happy with.

The Hunter’s Promise: An Abenaki Tale told by long time story-teller and author Joseph Bruchac and beautifully illustrated by Bill Farnsworth is a beautiful re-telling of an old story from the Abenaki Indians of Vermont and Canada.

The hunters promise

Joseph Bruchac himself is from Abenaki descent and a known scholar of Native American stories.

The foundation of the story is to remember our promises but a greater and more important underlying message of the story is our relationship with nature and mother earth. This mythical story is about a young and lonely hunter who wishes for a partner to come and help him as he winters away up in his hunting camp. A beautiful woman appears from the forest to cook his meals, clean his tent, and live with him as his wife during the winter months. Before he leaves for the summer camp and returns to his family, the woman whispers to him, “Promise to remember me. “

When the young hunter returns the following Autumn to hunt in his winter camp, the young woman is there to greet him but this time she has a son with him. His son has some supernatural qualities, for one he becomes a full adult male in the course of a week but that just brings magic to the story. Again the hunter brings in more game and skins than the winter before. As he prepares to leave for his summer village to be reunited with his family, the woman from the forest reminds him,”Promise not to forget us.”

When he arrives in the summer village this time, the chief wants the hunter to marry his daughter. He respectfully declines remembering his promise to his forest wife from the winter village. The chief’s daughter who always got her way cast a spell on him which made him forget his vows to his winter wife.

The Hunter's Promise

When he travels north to the  hunting village he takes his wife with him and it’s only when he sees his winter wife with two sons alongside her that he realizes he has broken his promise and betrayed his winter wife. The winter wife and her children walk back into the forest but that’s not the end of the tale. A magical ending awaits you so please get a copy of this book to find out what happens. This book is intended for 6 and up. It will be a story you read time and again.

Bill Farnsworth has illustrated more than 50 children’s books including Kaya for the American Girl series. Working in deep and beautiful toned oils, his illustrations are an invitation to journey into a magical world, the place where nature meets humans.


Wisdom Tales Press is the publisher of fine children’s literature focusing on multicultural and spiritual wisdom. They were very kind to send me a copy of this book and they are a platinum sponsor in Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Get your copy of A Hunter’s Promise HERE.

Have you read the  interview with Joseph Bruchac on the Multicultural Children’s Book day blog? Be sure and check out here. Joseph shared some great insights and fun facts about his books.

Joseph Bruchac

Something To Do

Who are the Abenaki ?

The Abenaki tribe, together with the Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Mi’kmaq, and Penobscot Indians, were members of the old Wabanaki Confederacy, adversaries of the Iroquois. These allies from the eastern seaboard spoke related languages, and Abenaki and Wabanaki have the same Algonquian root, meaning “people from the east.” Today 2000 Abenakis live on two reserves in Quebec, and another 10,000 Abenaki descendants are scattered throughout New England. Only the Canadian Abenaki tribe is officially recognized, but there are at least three Abenaki bands in the United States: the Sokoki and Mazipskwik Abenakis of Vermont and the Cowasucks of Massachusetts.

For further information about the Abenaki Tribe please have a look here. 

Promise Stars


We all have great intentions of keeping our word and promises but sometimes we forget. In this activity we’re creating promise stars out of popsicle sticks. This simple craft becomes a keepsake that help kids remember the promises they want to keep.

Have each child take four popsicle sticks. I’ve used colored sticks here but you can use plain ones or decorate the sticks yourself.  I use glue dots to hold the sticks together. First take two sticks and make a cross and then make and X on top of the cross so that you have made a star. I place one glue dot in the center of each stick and glue them together. It’s not such a mess as regular glue. If using regular glue be sure to let your star dry before writing on it. On the top stick write I Promise.

On the ends of the sticks write things you’re promising to do or write whole phrases on the sticks.

Some ideas are:

  • I promise to brush my teeth.
  • I promise to say thank you.
  • I promise to read every day.
  • I promise to tell the truth.
  • I promise to be kind.

If you’re in a classroom setting have the children share their promises either in pairs or to the whole group. If it’s parents and children, this is a perfect time to use the Promise Stars to talk about your values as a family, your culture, and even your religion.

The Joseph Bruchac Abenaki BookList

A great way to learn more about the Abenaki tribe and confederation is from Joseph Bruchac himself who is a descendant of this fine nation.

Code Talkers

The Winter People

Arrow over the Door

The Heart of a Chief

Eagle Song

**some of these links are affiliate links which means I get a small commission on any books purchases from this site. My affiliate sales money is put towards mailing costs when I ship books to readers or giveaway winners.

Three Sister’s Soup

three sisters soup

Many times Native American tribes plant corns, beans, and squash together. They are known as the Three Sisters.  Here’s an Abenaki recipe celebrating the Three Sisters as a wonderful soup. Enjoy. The recipe advises to eat it with bannock bread but it’s really good with cornbread too.

2 cans White Hominy Corn (undrained)
1 large can Red Kidney Beans (undrained)
1 pkg. frozen cut Squash
1 yellow Onion (cut up)
2 cloves garlic (coarse chopped)
1 lb. Bacon
Black Pepper

Best done in cast iron pot, dutch oven. Fry up bacon until medium crispy, remove and drain off most of the fat. In hot fat, brown up onion. When onion is golden brown, add garlic, cook for about a minute. Drain off remaining fat, then add Corn and Beans (juice and all), and the bacon, cut up. Add cut up squash, add enough water to cover everything by about two inches. Simmer together, adding Allspice and Black pepper to taste. Salt should be unnecessary, due to salt in bacon. We didn’t really use salt much until after the Invasion. Ham or smoked shoulder can be substituted, if desired. Cook together until everything is just this side of mush.

Note: Modern variation on the old communal cookpot (M8wigisoak)that always simmered to feed Winter visitors in our longhouses. Should be served with Banik (Bannock), oven baked flat bread that has shortening in it.

Bannock Bread

bannock bread

Here’s the recipe for bannock bread for those of you who’d like it.

1/2 cup lard
1/2 tsp of salt
6 tsp of baking powder
4 cups flour
1 tsp of sugar or corn syrup
2 cups of water or milk

Mix all dry ingriedents into a bowl.
Then slowly mix in your lard until it looks like small coarse oatmeal.
Then make a small hole in the center of the bowl, pour the milk or water mixture into the bowl gradually.
Mix the ingridents toghter. Knead for about 3 minutes.
Success in bannock making is the kneading, which is required to make it firm.
Pat out with hands to 3/4 inch thickness and prick with fork.
It can be made oblong or round and baked in an oven @ 350 Degrees.
Cool for about five minutes and enjoy.

Note: Bannock was something very special and sacred and eaten only on Sundays. It was made into small bannocks and each member of the family had a taste of this special bread.

This holiday season, give your children the gift that will nurture a lifetime of positive habits; give the gift of a book.
A Year in The Secret Garden
As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages, is also an important act that will aid in them being life-long readers. Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only work to create special family time, it allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences.
A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book. This delightful children’s book from authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters offers unique and original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! With over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together.
This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst of many hours of family growth, learning and FUN! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!
A Year in the Secret Garden

1 thought on “Native American Heritage Month: The Hunter’s Promise

  1. I loved this picture book too and what a great tie in with the 3 Sisters Stew! I love your book activities! Thanks for sharing at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Linky!

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