This beautiful book, A Salmon for Simon, was written over 30 years ago — the same year I was married — 1978.
It’s won two awards and has easily withstood the test of time.
Title: A Salmon for Simon
Author: Betty Waterton (1923-2012)
Illustrator: Ann Blades
Publisher: Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press, 1978
Intended Audience: 3 to 9
Themes: First Nations, West Coast, Salmon, Growing Up, Determination, Helping Others
Opening Lines: All summer Simon had been fishing for a salmon. “It’s the king of the fishes,” he told his sisters. “We know,” they said. “That’s why great-grandmother calls it Sukai.” When Simon was little, his sisters had taught him how to catch minnows with a strainer. But this year his father had given him a fishing pole of his own, and he had been fishing every day. He hadn’t caught a single salmon.
Brief Synopsis: Simon spends his summer desperately hoping to catch a salmon. But September arrives and still no luck. One day a bald eagle, flying by with a coho in its talons, miraculously drops it in a clam hole right in front of Simon. Simon is so struck with the beauty of the salmon, that he makes an unexpected decision.
Why I Like This Book: It’s pure West Coast, the children are First Nations, the illustrations are realistic, and the overall theme is book-discussion worthy. I think this book has always been a winner and I’m very happy it’s still in print.
1. Strong Nations Publishing Inc. has a full lesson plan you can download, with before, during, and after reading activities.
2. Predictions: Stop reading the book at the point where Simon makes his decision about the salmon, and have the children draw pictures predicting what they think Simon will do.
3. Art lesson from Deep Space Sparkle, called Upstream Salmon.
4. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a fabulous unit called “Salmonids in the Classroom“. It’s a little advanced for primary, but it would be easy enough to adjust. The unit is very detailed, has lots of handouts and is tied in to our BC curriculum.
5. Here’s a fabulous educational colouring book from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
I’m also linking up with Susanna Hill’s weekly Perfect Picture Book Friday! I LOVE that linky.