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Young Simon is thrilled with his new fishing rod but joy soon turns to sadness when he is unable to catch a fish. He returns to clam digging on the beach when one day he is startled by an eagle dropping a large fish into his clam hole. Finally, Simon has captured the salmon he wished for! However, as he gazes down at the beautiful fish he is unexpectedly compelled to return it to the sea. Tired but content, Simon walks home certain that he will fish again but that the salmon will remain forever free. This delightful First Nations story with rich illustrations poignantly illustrates the deep connection between humans and our natural world that provides us with so much.
This traditional story could be used to engage students in a discussion about the interactions between Simon's family and their environment. Students could identify natural features in the book and compare them with similar features in their own community. A First Nations community member could then lead the class in an outside exploration of a natural ecosystem and the students could create a visual piece that describes their exploration with pictures and words. The book would also make a great introduction to a classroom action project focused on salmon conservation. Students could learn about the salmon life cycle and aquatic adaptations. Then, with the assistance of a local fishery organization, the class could raise and release young salmon into a local river.
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