Hummingbird Visits is a great book for language learners – Anishinabek News

Reviewed by Alex Hebert

It’s surprising what you can learn by being observant in your own back yard. Author and illustrator Erin Leary watched hummingbirds with her family and wrote Nenookaasi Mawadishiwe: Hummingbird Visits on the hummingbird’s seasonal patterns. Giishpin ashamadwaa, nenookaasiwag gidaa-mawadishigoog. If you feed the hummingbirds, they will visit you again and again.

While this is meant to be a children’s book, I think that this is a great book for all ages, especially if they are learning Anishinaabemowin.  There are only a couple of sentences per page and the Anishinaabemowin is first, English second.

The illustrations are very nice.  I like the images of when the hummingbird is not happy, you can tell his feathers are ruffled a bit!

Leary wrote this book as a way to help herself and other learners of Anishinaabemowin practice. She says, “This book is an extension of greater work not only to help preserve the language, but to use it.  We invite anyone who is interested to learn and use these wonderful sounds and support the revitalization of Indigenous language by visiting for lessons, stories, songs, and more.”

Translator Margaret Noodin is also the author of Bawaajimo:  A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature and two collections of poetry in Anishinaabemowin and English. She has translated over 30 books for children.  To hear her work, visit

Erin Leary (Author), Margaret Noodin (Translator). Nenookaasi Mawadishiwe: Hummingbird Visits. Milwaukee: Hidden Timber Books, 2023.

ISBN: 978-1-736551936

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