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The Robin’s Squash

by Karen L. Hartman

Illustrated by John Eric Karpinski

Summary:  Morning Star’s love of Robins grows as she helps her Grandmother complete spring chores.  Her heart is broken when she witness a hawk trying to catch a robin, when she is unable to save the bird her grandmother helps her to understand “The Circle of Life”.  As the summer progresses the pair plant and watch their garden grow, much to Morning Star’s delight a strange gourd is grow

ing where she buried the robin.  When it is time to harvest the garden Morning Star learns that the robin has left behind the Robin’s Squash, which will be enjoyed by many generations.

Comments: Karen’s writing style welcomes readers into her stories. In The Robin’s Squash, readers of all ages will feel as if they are members of Morning Star’s Nation, sharing in the gift from the robin.  This is a wonderful tale of the Circle of Life.  Through the passing of a robin, Karen gently introduces the concept of death in a way that is unobtrusive to children.  She then masterfully offers hope and continuation through the robin’s gift.  Parents and teachers will find many uses for The Robin’s Squash, for Karen’s story not only examines the Circle of Life, but also the importance of cross-generational relationships (granddaughter and grandmother); respect for Nature; cultural aspects of Native Americans; and the importance of sharing.  Karen Hartman has given readers a great gift by sharing The Robin’s Squash.

Kelsey E. Johnson Defatte, Author Karen Hartman’s book, The Robin’s Squash, is a wealth of lesson plan ideas.  The familial warmth between characters is endearing, and the storyline works across the curriculum.  It’s so important for children of any age to make personal connections between their own lives and the stories they’re reading.  Karen makes this necessary connection easy with the rich story elements found between the wonderful pages of The Robin’s Squash.   

Barbara Lucas, Elementary Teacher, Master in Education Beautifully written and touching story.  This story is not only the love between a granddaughter and grandmother, but also their Native American traditions.  More importantly this book holds a touching explanation about death.  This wonderful story should be read to children and adults alike to help people develop a new understanding about the “Circle of Life”.  This book also contains wonderful and creative resources that will help children explore this life lesson through crafts and cooking.

Stephanie Guzz-Remillard, Librarian The Robin’s Squash is a beautiful story, which teaches, respect for our Elders and all the Creator has made for us.  It reminds us that as we walk the Circle of Life and encounter death we must realize that something beautiful lays a head because of it.  Karen is not only a gifted storyteller but also a woman with a beautiful heart and soul.  I feel truly blessed having her as a friend, Jackie Hansen, Artist.

The Robin’s Squash is a richly woven tale of love, loss, and The Circle of Life.  Author Karen Hartman gives readers a chance to experience Native American culture through her cleverly written story and the authentic squash recipes that are included at the end of the book.  Parents and teachers will love using The Robin’s Squash to share Native American culture with young children.  It is a perfect gift for anyone who loves the sights, smells, and tastes of autumn!