Announcing the Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults Teaching Guide

Ever since the November 2022 release of Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, we’ve promised readers a resource to help them dive deeper into the rich material of the text. You’ve waited, patiently reading and watching…and now it’s finally here!

We’re delighted to announce the official Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults teaching guide. Read on to download this free resource and discover upcoming events with the creators!

The Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults invites readers of all ages to listen to the language of plants. This new resource will introduce readers to the themes of the book and encourage critical reflection on how they move through the world in their daily lives. How can we help our communities flourish? How can we show our gratitude for the gifts we receive? These are just a few of the questions readers will find in the discussion guide.

This resource was authored by Odia Wood-Krueger, author and principal investigator of the research report, “Restoring Our Place,” commissioned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community as part of its Understand Native Minnesota campaign. She is Métis from Saskatchewan, Canada, and works as a consultant for curriculum and community engagement projects.

Awards and Accolades

  • Green Earth Book Award Long List
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Kirkus Best Teen Books of the Year
  • NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12   
  • Parents Magazine Best Kids’ Books
  • Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
  • Riverby Award
  • Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award for Children’s Literature

★”Both an urgent, essential call to action and an uplifting love letter.” – starred, Kirkus Reviews

★”Smith smartly streamlines language while staying true to the narrative’s core concepts by adding brief sidebars that explain featured terminology, pose reflection questions, and highlight important passages, inviting collaborative discussion and acting as a call to action.” — starred, Publishers Weekly

★”A book that is entirely in a class of its own, this belongs in every collection for teens.” — starred, School Library Journal

“[F]illed with legends, reminiscences, bits of history, sidebars, drawings, and gentle challenges to readers, encouraging them to consider making changes in their actions, beliefs, and values. Truly, a lovely, calming addition for collections.” — Booklist

“Urging a look toward history and tradition to teach us how to answer the questions of the future, Gray Smith adapts Wall Kimmerer’s wisdom for a new, hungry audience.” — Foreword Reviews

“A must-have for library collections and an excellent resource for readers interested in ecology or conservation. Recommended. Reviewer Rating: 5” – Children’s Literature

Meet the Creators

Robin Wall Kimmerer (Author)


Robin Wall Kimmerer is an author, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her work includes Braiding Sweetgrass and Gathering Moss. She lives in upstate New York.

Monique Gray Smith (Adapter)


Monique Gray Smith is an award-winning, best-selling author and professional consultant. Her most recent novel, Tilly and the Crazy Eights was long listed for Canada Reads 2021. She is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish, and she lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Nicole Neidhardt (Illustrator)


Nicole Neidhardt is an artist and a Diné (Navajo) of Kiiyaa’áanii clan. She is the co-founder of the Innovative Young Indigenous Leaders Symposium and the co-founder of Groundswell Climate Collective. She is currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Odia Wood-Krueger (Curriculum Developer)

Curriculum Developer

Odia Wood-Krueger is a consultant who focuses on community engagement and curriculum writing projects. She is Métis from Saskatchewan, Canada, and currently calls Minneapolis home.

Additional Resources and Digital Content

In addition to the new discussion guide, you can download the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address poster for your classroom. This address makes gratitude and respect a priority, and brings an awareness of all the gifts around us to the forefront.

Both the discussion guide and the post can be downloaded for free from the Lerner website.

Hear the authors and illustrator of Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults discuss their work and the importance of incorporating plants in your life in this video!

Upcoming Author Events

Keep your eyes on these calendars! Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adult authors will be coming to your town. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet them and ask them all your questions.

Monique Gray Smith

Monique’s upcoming events are all listed on her website calendar! If you’re in the Twin Cities area you’ll want to take a look at these in particular:

BIRCHBARK BOOKS, Minnesota: Wednesday, April 19TH @ 7PM
Author Monique Grey Smith will discuss the process of adapting Braiding Sweetgrass for the young adult audience at the Birchbark Bizhew. This event is free, but registration is required. Sign up on the Birchbark Books and Native Arts website.

Monique will be attending the MIEA Conference to sign books, give presentations, and meet with educators!

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Robin also keeps a calendar of her speaking events. Take a look on her website.

THE LEOPOLD WRITING PROGRAM, New Mexico: April 22nd 5:00PM – 6:00PM
Robin will be speaking in person on “Restoration and Reciprocity” for the Annual Leopold Lecture

Robin will be disucssing Braiding Sweetgrass as a part of the SPEAK Lecture Series in person!

Leave a Reply