Although Jeannie loves her lakeside neighborhood, her feelings are hurt by her schoolmates who live in fancier homes and call her a Lake Rat.
When she confides her troubles to her grandfather, he tells her about his own childhood experiences with teasing. As the story unfolds, the grandfather shares a traditional Seneca story that helps Jeannie to find strength in her Native identity and a new appreciation for the different roles that animals play in nature. This is a quiet book that celebrates family and place and the teachings of Native people. Muskrat Will Be Swimming is based on a real incident in Cheryl Savageau's life.
Muskrat Will Be Swimming will help inspire classroom conversations about:
Teasing and bullying
Storytelling traditions and customs in Native and non-Native families
The Seneca creation story and creation stories in general
Traditions of the Sky Woman in Native stories
Contemporary Native American families and building connections to tribal identity
Native identity and mixed-blood ancestry
Significance of dreams in Native culture
The role of animals as teachers in Abenaki culture
Animals of the forest
The Abenaki view towards the natural environment
The value of experiences in the natural world for children's growth