We Are Water Protectors Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Environmental Stewardship
Native Americans
by Carole Lindstrom - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions that promote respect for nature and the courage to advocate for the environment.

Carole Lindstrom’s book “We are Water Protectors” conveys a powerful message about the interconnectedness of all living things. The Indigeneous people in this story act as both teachers and courageous advocates on behalf of clean water, inviting us all to take action and stand together.

Literature Guide by Maureen Klein

Before Reading

Ask: What does it mean to be a steward of the Earth? When you think of taking care of our planet, what actions do you think you can take?

Show: The Ojibwe people are known for the beauty of their floral beadwork. As you look at the images throughout the book, look for ways the illustrator incorporated indigeneous art and symbols in her illustrations.

Connect: Water is an important resource in our lives. What are all the ways you use water? What would it be like if your water was polluted?

During Reading

Ask: Think about the girl. How might you describe her character traits?

Show: Look at the picture of the pipe or “black snake” that has a leak. What do you notice about the plants and animals near the pipe?

Connect: The girl says “TAKE COURAGE.” Why does she need courage? Describe a time when you used courage to speak up for something you felt was right.

After Reading

Ask: In the book, the girl says “We fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” What does this make you think of?

Show: Look at the last page of the story. What do you notice about all the people? How would you describe them?

Connect: In what ways are you connected to other people and plants and animals? Read the Water Protector Pledge at the end of the book and consider taking the pledge together.


  1. Illustrator Michaela Goade used watercolors to create the images in this book. Using watercolors, create a poster advocating for water protection.
  2. Read the book Sometimes People March. Research and talk about how people in your community have advocated on behalf of the environment.
  3. Carole Lindstrom said, "We Are Water Protectors is my love letter to Standing Rock and ALL Indigenous Peoples’ fight for clean water.” Writing the book is the way she took action to protect water. Think about your gifts or talents you can use to help protect the Earth. Make a plan to use them to take action.
  4. Try this Simple Safe Service to reduce your use of plastics.
  5. Take a nature walk. Notice all the ways water is used in your community. Consider what would happen to your neighborhood if the water is polluted.
  6. Learn more about the origins of protests at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation by watching this video and talk about what is happening with the Dakota Access Pipeline today.