CUSHING — “First Blade of Sweetgrass,” an honored Junior Library Guild selection, will be the subject of a presentation on Zoom from the Cushing Public Library on Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m.

Maliseet Suzanne Greenlaw and her Passamaquoddy husband, Gabriel Frey, have written this lyrical, authentic picture book story about a modern Wabanaki girl accompanying her grandmother to a salt marsh in Acadia National Park to learn distinguishing sweetgrass from other salt marsh grasses. Slowly the spirit and peace of her surroundings speak to her, and she gathers sweetgrass as her ancestors have done for centuries, leaving the first blade she sees to grow for future generations.

To register, call Wendy Roberts at 207-691-0833 or email

Tilbury House of Thomaston has published First Blade of Sweetgrass, which affirms its focus on cultural diversity, social justice, mindfulness, science, nature and the environment. It was selected by the Maine Humanities Council to represent the state in this year’s National Book Festival hosted by the Library of Congress. Publishers Jon and Mariellen Eaton will join its illustrator, Nancy Baker, in a discussion of the book’s genesis and development. Baker is a Maine artist, illustrator and muralist. While visiting the sweetgrass meadows of Mount Desert Island with the authors, she learned the ecology and cultural importance of sweetgrass and conveys it in her illustrations.

Greenlaw is a PhD candidate at the University of Maine, and Frey is a nationally recognized basket maker. Their daughter is the model for Musqon (which means “the first sight of blue skies as the clouds break apart after a storm”), the girl in the story, and her grandmother-teacher is based on Gabriel’s mother. A major theme of the story is the importance of children seeing themselves and their cultures reflected back to them in what they read.