Meet Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac!
by Alana Pedalino
Share this Scholastic Book Clubs–exclusive author-and-illustrator joint interview with your students to learn more about the creators behind We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga.
Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac joined forces to create the multi-award-winning picture book We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga. And we are so grateful for the opportunity to interview this duo!
Read their joint interview below with your students to discover how they met, the inspiration behind the book, their favorite words, and more!
How did you team up to create this book?
Our collaboration was a conversation right from the start. People might not realize that it is highly unusual for an author and illustrator to meet, let alone work closely together while creating a book. We believe our breaking with tradition and the mutual trust and dedication of the whole publishing team has been the key to We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga’s ongoing success.
What is your favorite aspect of Cherokee culture?
Our favorite attribute of Cherokee culture is the way storytelling, art, and tradition are beautifully celebrated in contemporary everyday life. In We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, readers become part of this experience through all four seasons of the year.
What is your favorite word from the book?
It all begins and ends with the Cherokee word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah). When we share the book and say “otsaliheliga” out loud, children automatically repeat it after us. Gratitude is a universal value and one that is at the heart of Cherokee culture.
What are some of your favorite Cherokee words and concepts from We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga? We’d love to hear from you! Please share with us on social media using the hashtag #ScholasticBookClubs.
Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction for children featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies. She is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located.
Frané Lessac is the illustrator of more than 40 books for children. She has lived on the small Caribbean island of Montserrat, in London, and in Australia, and her work has taken her on many adventures in numerous countries.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs