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The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story

by Joseph Bruchac

Other authors: Anna Vojtech (Illustrator)

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A quarrel between the first man and the first woman is reconciled when the Sun causes strawberries to grow out of the earth.

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A very long time ago when the world was new, the Creator made a man and a woman. For a while, they lived happily together. But one day, they had their first fight and the woman ran away. With the help of the sun, the couple will find forgiveness and understanding.

Based on a Cherokee legend, this book explains the first strawberries.
Creation of the sun to stop the woman in her escape, the delicious fruit is the only thing that makes her stop running. Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are also left by the Sun on her path, but none of them work as she is blinded by anger. The delicious fruit is since then used as a reminder to be kind and respectful to each other.

The first strawberry is a great story beautifully retold by Joseph Bruchac. The illustrations by Anna Vojtech are delicate and colorful and follow the text perfectly.
  BibliLakayAyizan | Apr 21, 2022 |
From an award-winning Native American storyteller comes this captivating re-telling of a Cherokee legend, which explains how strawberries came to be -- Long ago, the first man and woman quarreled. The woman left in anger, but the Sun sent tempting berries to Earth to slow the wife's retreat. Luminous paintings perfectly complement this simple, lyrical text.
  wichitafriendsschool | Nov 8, 2020 |
The Cherokee legend has it that the Creator made man and woman at the same time, and they lived happily together for a long time. However, one day the man spoke harshly to the woman out of anger, so she left, walking towards the west. The man tried to catch up, but she was too quick. The sun took pity on him and shone down to create all different kinds of berries, in an effort to get the woman to stop and pick them. After raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, the sun grew strawberries right in front of the woman's feet. They were so bright and beautiful that she stopped and bit into one. The sweetness reminded her of all the good times she had with her husband, and she knew she wanted to share them with him. As she was picking strawberries to share, her husband caught up and apologized for his angry words. They enjoy the sweet strawberries together. Cherokee people remember this story when they eat strawberries and are reminded to use kind words that are as sweet as strawberries with one another.

This folktale is so sweet. I think this is a great choice to read to children, as it shares Native American culture and also reminds children to use kind words. The man uses harsh words, and the woman acts rashly in leaving. Both of these things are something we want to teach children to avoid, so this book is an excellent choice in teaching these morals. They are also reminded of the tale each time they eat strawberries, which is a great reminder for them to be kind. ( )
1 vote dperkins9 | Mar 20, 2020 |
This book tells the Native American creation story of how many things in nature, including strawberries, were created. Its a lovely story of forgiveness with beautiful pictures that add to a gentle, calming tone. ( )
  JenniferSprinkle | Jul 10, 2019 |
"The First Strawberries" is a Cherokee folktale about how the first strawberries came to be. It tells of when the world was new, the Creator made a man and a woman who married and lived happily together. One day, when the man comes home from hunting, he discovers that the woman hadn't started cooking yet, and was instead picking flowers that she wanted to show him. The man is angry and coldly tells the woman that she should be cooking instead of goofing off, and the woman tells the man that she will no longer live with him since his careless words hurt her. The woman walks west towards the Sun, leaving the man; he begins to follow her and shout her name, but she is too fast for him to catch up. The Sun sees the man and asks him if he was still angry at his wife, to which the man responds that he wasn't, and that he was being foolish. The man wants to apologize to his wife, and the Sun tells him that it will help him. The Sun then shines its light down where the woman is walking, causing raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries to grow, all of which are ignored by the woman. The Sun finally grows strawberries right in front of the woman's feet, and the woman is amazed by the bright red fruit. Upon tasting them, she is reminded of the sweet times before she and her husband fought, and she decides that she must show him the berries. The man finally catches up to her while she is still picking berries, and he apologizes to her, and they share the strawberries together. The story ends by telling how even today, when Cherokee people eat strawberries, they are reminded to always be kind to each other and remember how their friendships and respect are as sweet as the berries they eat. I really enjoyed this story, as I thought that it was heartwarming and that it had a great message. The message of honoring respect and friendship is important, and I think that it's unique that the Cherokee culture wound that message into a sort of creation tale about strawberries. The illustrations are just as great as the story, and almost give off a "strawberry" vibe, if that makes any sense at all. ( )
  awaldrup | Mar 27, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Bruchacprimary authorall editionscalculated
Vojtech, AnnaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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For my Tsalagi friends and teachers-Wado! J.B.
To Roland A.V.
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Long ago when the world was new, the Creator made a man and a woman.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A quarrel between the first man and the first woman is reconciled when the Sun causes strawberries to grow out of the earth.

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