Reviews /

Let’s Go!

Authored by Julie Flett
Illustrated by Julie Flett
Published by Greystone Books,Canada

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Julie Flett is an award-winning Cree-Metis author and illustrator, and her work often celebrates Indigenous people and culture. With Let’s Go!, Flett has written and illustrated a love-letter to community and to skateboarding.

Our unnamed narrator is first seen peering out of his window, watching in admiration as a skateboarder zooms past. He pictures himself balancing on his own board, his imagined journeys lyrically expressed as being ‘on the path that winds like a river.’

The boy is gifted a skateboard by his mum, and we see him practising, practising, practising, not perturbed by the falls, bumps and bruises along the way. When he finally plucks up the courage to join the more seasoned skaters at his local park, he is apprehensive, uncertain of his sense of place. Until eventually…he goes. His confidence rises, his skills grow, and the final page is a lovely mirror of the first, as the narrator skates past the window he was first looking out of.

Alongside much of the lyrical text is the Cree idiom haw êkwa!, meaning something akin to ‘ok then!’ Flett’s celebration of the Cree culture extends to a glossary of linked terms at the end of the book, where she explains some of her process in creating the book and talks about the idea of flow. Throughout the story, the idea of flow is extended through comparisons to rivers, waterfalls and rain. The celebration of skateboarding as a sport is something I haven’t personally seen a lot of in picture books, and reminded me of the 1998 Nike advert that is a tongue-in-cheek reflection of how skateboarding is perceived. In Let’s Go, the sarcasm of Nike’s work is replaced with love: a love of sport, a love of endurance, and a love of community.

I wouldn’t try to narrow the potential audience of this book – it would fit across the primary school through its accessible text and gorgeous illustration, which would appeal to Key Stage 1, but deeper questions about community and perseverance could easily be discussed in Key Stage 2.

A beauty of a picture book that exudes warmth.