7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #733: Featuring
Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

h1 March 7th, 2021 by jules

Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know (Groundwood, March 2021) is a book about the seasons — and a beautiful collaboration between author Brittany Luby, illustrator Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, and translators Alvin Ted Corbiere and Alan Corbiere. The book is written in both Anishinaabemowin and English.

Luby is of Anishinaabe descent (and is also a history professor at the University of Guelph, specializing in Indigenous history in North America), and this book was inspired by childhood memories of time spent in the northern reaches of Anishinaabewaking near the Great Lakes. The illustrator, Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, is an Ojibwe woodland artist and a member of Wasauksing First Nation.

This intergenerational story, told with a spare lyricism that flows like poetry, features a child and her grandmother. “Aaniish ezhi-gkendmaanh niibing? How do I know summer is here?” the book opens. The girl, exploring outdoors with her grandmother, takes in the natural world with all her senses, noting the changes that summer brings. When she spots Loon and a green Luna Moth; when she sees yellow Bumblebee and brown Screech Owl; and when blueberries “drop readily” — all of this, plus some, tells her that summer is here. We then see her and her grandmother exploring in fall, winter, and spring: They watch birds at the shore; collect mushrooms; whistle to Blue Jay; play with their dog; take in the calls of brown Peepers that sing, “Goodnight, little one”; and much more.

Joshua’s illustrations feature emphatic black lines that outline the elements of each spread and a jewel-toned palette that showcases the natural world — and the pair’s reverence for it. The transition to each season is marked by spreads featuring only one small emblem of the sesason on the verso (a leaf, a pine cone, etc.) and two short lines of text on the recto, all laid out in generous white space. This is Joshua’s first picture book.

And it’s lovely. If you teach, consider adding it to your collection of books about the seasons; students who aren’t familiar with the language may be prompted to learn more about Anishinaabemowin after encountering it here in this tender story.

Here are some spreads. (Please note that some of these colors are showing up on the computer a bit more saturated than they appear in the book.)


“Pii dooskaabid Maang wii-noondaagzid zaag’igning …
When Loon opens her red eyes to call across the water …”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh niibing.
This is how I know summer.”

(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“Pii noondaash mnik aan’kwadoon zhi’oomgag …
When white clouds form in fewer numbers …”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“Pii Gyaashk bskaabiid wii-bi-saswin’ked …
When yellow-billed Seagull comes home to roost …”

(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


MII MAANDA EZHI-GKENDMAANH / THIS IS HOW I KNOW. Text copyright © 2021 by Brittany Luby. Illustrations copyright © 2021 by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. Anishinaabemowin translation copyright © 2021 by Alvin Ted Corbiere and Alan Corbiere. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Groundwood Books, Toronto.

* * * Jules’s Kicks * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

1) Walks.

2) Sunshine.

3) I got a voicemail on my cell (and the person even addresses me by name), telling me that I have been accepted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. First day of school will be September 1. (I have no idea what house I’ll be in.)

As prank calls go, that one was entertaining.

4) My dear, sweet, brilliant oldest daughter will be 17 this week. SEVENTEEN.

5) There will be cake.

6) Catching my friend Phil Nel talk about Dr. Seuss and racism on CNN this week.

7) Looking forward to this event on Tuesday. Come join us?

What are YOUR kicks this week?

6 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #733: Featuring
Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley”

  1. Hi Imps! Happy new week!

    Hello to Joshua and Brittany, and to all the beautiful animals in the book. I love that the book is bilingual.

    Jules: Give her a high-five from me! I hope she has a wonderful birthday. That’s an interesting message re: Hogwarts. I’m consistently sorted into Ravenclaw. I hope your event goes wonderfully on Tuesday. I have a previous commitment.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Speaking up
    2) Getting answers
    3) Pushing through
    4) Getting things done
    5) Movies
    6) TV
    7) Food

  2. Little Willow, the prank call was obviously from a kid using a fake British accent. Altogether, it was kinda adorable, though I have no idea how they got my name AND my cell #. I like those first three kicks. Sounds like you maybe got past a challenge like the badass you are.

  3. I am so excited to see this bilingual book in the world. Stunning illustrations and intergenerational stories are the best,
    Jules, I LOVE the call. The best! And goodness, 17? My oldest turns that in November. It is so hard to believe they are growing up. I would love to be there on Tuesday, however, I have another meeting. Bummer.
    Little Willow, hooray for pushing through.
    My kicks:
    1. A splendid gathering of Poetry Friday poets to celebrate birthdays and talk poetry.
    2. Dinner with youngest daughter who was in the Portland area for work.
    3. Watching my grand-nephew’s acting debut as Grimsby in The Little Mermaid. All acting and singing done virtually. It was amazing on so many levels.
    4. Signs of spring.
    5. First tulip.
    6. New class with Cordelia Jensen.
    7. Dreaming.
    Have a great week.

  4. How wonderful to see these gorgeous illustrations this morning! Really love that this book is bilingual. My favorite illustrations of the ones featured are summer and spring and fall (that wolf pup/pup is awful cute!)

    Jules – that voicemail sounds so amazing & funny. Seventeen?!?!?! Wow. Yay for birthdays and cake! And sunshine and walks. (Wil try to catch that FB talk!)

    Little Willow – love how proactive kicks 1-4 are and how calming kicks 5-7 are.

    Jone – hooray for dinner with your youngest daughter, that Poetry Friday gathering sounds like it was wonderful fun. And so much yes to signs of Spring!

    My kicks:
    1) Did a re-watch of Coming to America and then the next night watched the new Coming 2 America and it was very fun. Eddie Murphy has been a favorite since his SNL days and its so good to see him in action again, in such goodhearted, silly fun. Lots of girl power in both movies, actually.
    2) The Starbucks drivethru with Daisy. Its one of her favorite things.
    3) Teaching Daisy a new command for our walks “Check in” gets her to check in and make eye contact with me, she gets a treat reward and its a way to refocus her attention in case she gets upset about seeing another dog. She’s catching on quickly.
    4) Long phone calls with old friends.
    5) Haven’t been doing much reading for fun, but that seems to have changed with my first Illumicrate package – totally swept up in “A Dark & Hollow Star” by Ashley Shuttleworth. Turns out scheming fairies and fae are just what I needed to get reading again.
    6) Cooking new foods – tried a new kind of pasta – shirataki noodles. First attempt was with shrimp, butter, garlic and red chili pepper. Healthier noodles, texture was different, still pretty yummy. Will definitely try with more recipes.
    7) Lazy Sunday morning with Daisy.
    7.5) Daylight lasting a few minutes longer each day. Excited for Spring!

    Have a great week Imps!

  5. Jone, what rich, family-filled kicks. And TULIPS!

    Rachel, my husband is appalled I’ve never seen Coming to America. I’ll have to fix that. …. Hello to Daisy. We’ve been volunteering at Second Harvest (a food bank), and the person who works there has an ADORABLE PUPPY she is training to be a therapy dog, so after our volunteering stints, she brings in the puppy so that he can get used to more people. …. Those noodles sound delicious.

    Have a great week, you all!

  6. Jules – yay for volunteering AND cute puppies! Socialization is so key, for all pups but especially therapy dogs. An Instagram friend adopted a senior who turned out to be great with people and kids, and so Rosie is a pet therapy dog who visits people in hospitals and also volunteers at the public library for kids to practice reading to her. (Pre-pandemic.)
    Tell me what you think when you see Coming to America!

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