the Lenape Programs Web site.

From the author:  When the Shadbush Blooms demonstrates how much Lenape children share with children of every other heritage: family relationships, seasonal activities, work and play. At the same time, it shows how similar all of those activities and relationships today are to those experienced by Lenape children centuries ago. My ancestors invented their own calendar based on the local environment. This was a long time ago, and we still use the calendar today. It is but one element that serves to remind Native children of their contributions and instills cultural pride. It's not easy being a Native American, especially a child, as the discrimination is so subtle and pervasive. I hope that showing the continuity of Native culture and its commonality with other cultures will give non-Native children a better understanding of our past and present, and of the humanity we share. I hope, too, that the book will be useful to Lenape children. They are our future leaders and need to be reminded that we are still "The People" . We have endured; we are still here.

Carla J.S. Messinger, author of When the Shadbush Blooms, is a descendant of the Lenape (Delaware) Indians, and is the Director of Native American Heritage Programs. She was a presenter for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council's Commonwealth Speaker's Bureau.  For more information on these programs and how to have one presented in your community, please visit

The Lenape (Delaware) people traditionally lived in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, upper New York State along the Hudson River, Manhattan Island, and part of Long Island. Later they moved through Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, and into Canada. This full color book based on the cycle of the seasons depicts both the traditional and modern Lenape family life.


  • Bank Street College Children's Book Committee 2008 List of Best Children's Books
  • CCBC Choice 2008, Children's Cooperative Book Center Award
  • 2008 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts
  • Recommended to teachers by the National Museum of the American Indian
  • Recommended on National Public Radio
  • Featured in Kirkus Review's BEA/ALA Big Book Guide 2007

When the Shadbush Blooms is designed to be read and seen by children. It is good for young children, created for those just earning to read, including ESL students. This beautifully illustrated book will give children a sense of history and while life may change, it also remains the same. This book is a good starting point to lead children into a sense of their own history and that of their families and communities, and opens the door to questions about other cultures and other times. In addition, there are Parent/Teacher pages with Lenape words, meanings, and pronunciation guide. Recommended for Pre-K through 6th grade and ESL students.  Visit