Family Book Club: We Are Water Protectors

Title: We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade (you can find an online read-along version here, but be sure to buy books and support authors if you can!)

Reading level: picture book

Synopsis: We follow one young water protector as she explains the importance of water to her people—and to all people, animals, and plants. When a black snake—a metaphor for an oil pipeline—threatens her land, the water protector gathers her people and issues a rallying cry against its poisonous destruction, ultimately inviting the reader to join her. 

Categories: multicultural, environmental, activism


  • We know water comes in all sorts of varieties, forms, shapes, and sizes. What's your favorite type of water? what's your favorite memory of water?
  • This book is written as a metaphor, which is when one thing—in this case, an oil pipeline—is explained by something else that isn't literally true but is a helpful comparison—the black snake. What metaphors can you think of for things in your life?
  • This metaphor is formed by a story told by the main character's people. What are stories often told in your family, classroom, and community?
  • At the end of the book, you'll find a pledge you can sign to become an Earth steward. In what ways have you been an Earth steward already? How does your family look after plants and animals?
  • In the More on Water Protectors section, we learn Lindstrom is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe in North Dakota, which is where the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was constructed. Lindstrom was unable to travel to North Dakota from her home in Maryland to protest, so she wrote this book in protest instead. What can you do to stand up for the environment? What interests and skills can you use?

Activity: One of the best ways to nurture your local plant and animal life is to replace native flora that has been lost. You can use this website to find your local native plants as well as find nurseries and how-to guides on reintroducing these plants. If you don't have a yard or a garden, look into community gardens, ask your city council where you can plant, or find and volunteer with a local organization already doing this important work.

Thank you so much to Red Balloon Bookshop for partnering with us on this series! If you'd like to see all of the Family Book Club picks in one place, check out their FBC page