Sun had not traveled far when Fisher and Sailor paddled into the same bay.
Fisher knew the bay like the curve of his fingernail. But he did not know Sailor.
“Am I dreaming?” Fisher wondered. He rubbed his eyes. Sailor remained.
Sailor was puzzled too. “Perhaps these lands are not so new.”
Have you ever wondered what it was like when explorers first discovered new land? In Encounter, Fisher, whose ancestors have paddled the waters for generations, meets Sailor, a man who comes from a faraway land.
Beautifully enchanted writing and two-page spread illustrations bring history to life. The story is based on Indigenous author Brittany Luby’s vision of what might have happened in the year 1534 when different people unexpectedly met. Some animal perceptions are also included, from those as small as mosquitoes to as large as beluga whales.
Encounter sends a message of peace and acceptance. Among all of the diversity and differences that exist within Mother Earth’s plant, animal, and human creations, there is room for everyone to co-exist peacefully together. There are certain things that we all experience the same as well: the rise and fall of the sun; the glow of the moon in the sky. When Fisher and Sailor meet, they speak different languages but find ways to communicate through etching images in the sand of the shore beach, and they exchange different types of food. Though Fisher and Sailor learn their differences, the personified animals share their views of how the two humans are much the same.
At the end of the story is a page-long author reflection by Luby as well as a page-long historical note explaining to readers the connections between Encounter and factual history of Jacques Cartier’s first expedition to what is now known as North America.
The author, Luby, is an Anishinaabe, award-winning historian at the University of Guelph in Ontario. She writes and teaches for social justice. Illustrator Michaela Goade is of Tlingit descent and is an award-winning designer and illustrator.
Encounter, a thought-provoking book, is highly recommended as it is a reminder of simpler times. It subtly reminds readers to slow down and appreciate our amazing earth along with all of the creations that exist on, under, and above the land. In addition to teaching about history, the beauty of Encounter is its ability to spark imagination, curiosity and wonder about our world to readers of all ages.
Andrea Boyd is an early years’ teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is currently pursuing a Master of Education degree specializing in Language and Literacy at the University of Manitoba.