There are three stories in the Bramble Berry Tales: The Story of Kalkalilh, The Great Sasquatch, and The Little People. All three stories are narrated in their original First Nations language of Squamish, Halq’emeylem, and Cree respectively, as well as in English, French, and Spanish. Just as the Brothers Grimm traipsed around Europe in the 19th century to capture and record oral stories to preserve them from being forgotten, so to has Rival Schools. With the support and voice of Squamish Chief Ian Campbell and Cree author Marylin Thomas, Rival Schools has managed to preserve these beautiful indigenous tales and languages from fading away by recording them forever with relatable and memorable characters.
Enter Lily, Thomas, Mooshum and Kookum, the main characters in the Bramble Berry Tales. Each story is told from the perspective of Lily and Thomas who embark on exciting adventures and learn from their loving Mooshum and Kookum the significance of Kalkalilh, Sasquatch and the Little People. Through their adventures, Lily and Thomas learn more about Aboriginal legends, beliefs and lessons with Mooshum and Kookum as their patient teachers. Readers will follow a series of stories that harbour a message from which all children undoubtedly can learn. The tales themselves have the right ingredients to capture young readers’ interest with just the right amount of scary bedtime appeal.
Most students today know how to navigate an iPad better than their parents, or teacher for that matter! Therefore, it makes perfect sense that kids are able to experience these stories through a familiar medium that engages them. Bramble Berry Tales is so aptly timed and takes the right steps forward in helping to protect, preserve, and expose rapidly disappearing First Nations languages to our students in the second language classroom. Students will surely be able to relate to each of the characters unique to all of the stories and be able to identify similarities and differences to other stories they may have heard or already know from other parts of the world, Canada or their own home even!
Bramble Berry Tales touch on many of the Big Ideas of the Core French and Spanish curricula and easily use stories to facilitate students’ understanding of them. Here are but a few:
I recently met with Rival Schools to discuss expanding the App’s functionality and to develop classroom-ready resources. Rival Schools would like teachers’ assistance in providing feedback with the App’s re-launch and use in the classroom. If you are interested in testing the App and providing feedback, please contact Rome Lavrencic at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Work has already begun on its expansion. Bramble Berry Tales is available both on iTunes and Google Play for androids. Each story costs $3.99 but is part of the Volume Purchasing Program. If 20 licenses or more are purchased through VPP, the cost of the App is reduced by 50%. For more details, please visit www.brambleberrytales.com.
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