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Publisher's Summary

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers.

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation". As she explores these themes, she circles toward a central argument: The awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return.

©2013 Robin Wall Kimmerer (P)2016 Tantor

Featured Article: Grab Your Knits and Get Cozy with these Dreamy Cottagecore Listens


Gather up some wildflowers, pop on the kettle, and curl up by the hearth with these perfectly pastoral audiobooks. Whether you’re looking for the woodsy escape of an immersive yet tranquil story, something to encourage you to unplug and get more in touch with the natural world, or simply an audiobook to accompany you on your next flower-gathering or berry-picking adventure, look no further than this list of our favorite cottagecore listens.

What listeners say about Braiding Sweetgrass

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Finally, Words

When Kimmerer spoke the words "This concludes Braiding Sweetgrass" I wept. It was like someone finally spoke in a language I could understand, spoken with such a gentle power, I could not help but smile. And sometimes seethe. And sometimes cry, whether the tears were from joy or sadness or frustration or maybe compositions of those and other things.

Far from being an imitation New Age "feathers and buckskin" kind of book, Kimmerer brings the gifts of science and poetry, traditional story and new experiences braided in the motif of the books name, woven with such care and skill as to be all, sometimes simultaneously. Her themes of gratitude and gift, reciprocation and responsibility, also bring forth new insight, but stirs something ancient and right in the depths of my bones as if I new these teachings and stories before.

I am always grateful when an author reads their own book, but Kimmerer is a delight to listen to, not just because as the author, she puts the inflections and emphasis in the right places, but also because I can feel her smile when she talks of berries, or her sadness at the squish of salamanders or the humility of inundated waders.

When my aunt died of cancer, my last link to my own people was broken, distant cousins north and west of the Potawatomi and Ojibwe whose Algonquian-speaking ancestors also told about Muskrat and Turtle. My grandmother was one of the casualties of the wihtikow, assimilated such that the government decided she was no longer "Indian". I cannot call myself indigenous, nor do I feel I have the right to, regardless of DNA or blood quanta--the tools governments use to decide identities for you. But Kimmerer reminds me that I still have responsibilities. Her recounting of her own language renewed my interest in learning mine, because, after all, nēhiyawēwin means to be the people who speak the same language.

I wept when the book was finished, not sad because it was over. Unlike my aunt and grandmother, I am going to start from the beginning right after this review, in gratitude because it feels like, for the first time, Kimmerer brought together the right words at the right time to inspire more life-giving to come.

The world sorely needs books and worldviews and gifts like these. Thank you, Robin, for the courage and wisdom and joy and responsibility for the gift of your words, wisdom, work, and life.

167 people found this helpful

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Many thanks for this gift

What did you like best about this story?

This book has changed me. Robin some how wove a beautiful story out of what she has learned from her culture, from science and her own experiences. I feel wiser, more aware, saddened and empowered to take responsibility for all the gifts that we were given. She has made me feel more connected to the earth than ever and I feel a sense of purpose and gratitude after hearing her speak.

What about Robin Wall Kimmerer’s performance did you like?

Extremely unique story-telling style. She tells the truth, it's breathtaking.

If you could give Braiding Sweetgrass a new subtitle, what would it be?

Our responsibilities as people of the earth

Any additional comments?

Thank you so much Robin. I feel enlightened and humbled after hearing you. I've stepped on a new path and can never turn back, thanks to your voice.

145 people found this helpful

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  • 12-30-16

I Recommend This Book To Everyone

Would you listen to Braiding Sweetgrass again? Why?

I would definitely listen again. The words of this book are in alignment with my values and it brings me hope to know others feel as I do. It is a good reminder to practice gratitude, do more for the planet and its teachers, and to not give into despair regarding the plight of humanity and the planet.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Braiding Sweetgrass?

The author does an amazing job of setting up the concept of the Windigo and it all comes together beautifully in her story of confronting the beast.

Have you listened to any of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

First performance from this author. She does an amazing job. Her voice is a little too soothing to enjoy the book in the car without the fear of falling asleep.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A journey back to gratitude.

Any additional comments?

One of the best audiobooks I have found on this site.

98 people found this helpful

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Read this book!

More than just plants. This book is something we as a species should be proud of our gift of language. This book, I hope it makes it into the hands of people of all different types. It is so beautiful, scientific and community inspired.

62 people found this helpful

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Stunning and Important

This is a powerful telling journey into an old time tested way of being. I was gently taken by the hand in to a much deeper understanding of how earth and nature lives and works. It's fascinating and engaging and inspiring. I have better eyes to see and understand now. I highly recommend this pivotal book. Robin Kimmerer is truly a gift to us all and our planet.

33 people found this helpful

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Eloquent and inspirational

This book is so timely and yet timeless: weaving threads about native people's history with the land, science that elaborates, and personal memoir; all told in a wonderful voice. I rarely listen to an audiobook a second time, but I will absolutely listen to this again, and also give copies as gifts to friends.

59 people found this helpful

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Fabulous!

The beautiful writing and soothing narration of this book helped calm me on my hour-long commute in dense Houston traffic. But more importantly it inspired me to get back into the garden that I had forsaken after heavy Spring rains had turned it to a weedy jungle. I realize now my responsibility to care for my garden and see the reciprocal nature of my relationship to her.

39 people found this helpful

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Listen at 1.5x speed

I almost didn’t finish - have finished all 100 audiobooks I have downloaded. Once I realized one major problem was the cadence and speed of the performance I was able to rectify by increasing the playback speed to 1.5x-2x. The story is warm, if biased. Natives had profound effects on ecosystems before the arrival of Europeans. The author could have presented a more balanced assessment of native people’s impact on land. Not all native land practices exhibited land ethic and reciprocity. I would have appreciated less repetition on the natives vs whites theme. It doesn’t improve the story and it breaks the trance of harmony. The fables and ecology narrative would hold with zero mention of whites other than to mention TEK is threatened due to the systematic and forced assimilation of natives to western culture.

25 people found this helpful

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Hands down one of the best books I have ever read!

Memoir, science, and ecological anthropology woven into pure poetry. Moving, reflective and inspiration! Incredibly crafted.

32 people found this helpful

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A deep dive to the sacredness of every day life

I loved this book. So much more than words can express. I felt like I was coming home. To a world where there is purpose in the rhythm of life and a deep understanding of the poignant relationship we have with our earth, our mother. A wonderful blend of personal narrative, science and myth. I highly recommend this book and hope many read it. A true medicine story.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Milkmoon Mama
  • 02-24-20

Spellbinding

I’m late to the party but...this book. I started reading it but then switched to audible due to time constraints and I just wanted to keep going with it. Once I did there was no going back. Listening to it read by the author adds an extra magic to it. I was arrested, spellbound, heartbroken, filled with wonder and love and grief. So beautiful and so important. If you love the Earth, if you want to remember how we are supposed to be living on it, read this book. Even better, listen to it.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Jane Martin
  • 12-11-20

My Green Bible

I didn't think I had time to read or listen to another book, but that was before I became spellbound by Robin's beautiful voice and felt the truth of her timeless wisdom resonate deep within my heart.

I can not recommend this book highly enough.Life will never be the same and has suddenly become far more enchanting. I feel as if I've woken from a bad insatiable dream and discovered a whole new world based on abundant reciprocity.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Isabella
  • 03-25-18

Eloquently spoken, meditative story

The richness of Wall's words are spoken by her herself and so beautifully so. So many life lessons weaved amongst stories - it feels like coming home to yourself.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Pixieface
  • 02-05-19

Beautiful weaving of science and spirit

I loved this book. It was fascinating, compelling and inspirational. The reading by the author resonated with her insight and humanity.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-04-18

Outstanding

Outstanding teaching. From the heart, honed by a sharp mind and voiced beautifully. Much gratitude for this inspirational work that brings me so lovingly and with compassion to the challenges and joy of living, and reciprocating with that which gives us life.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-15-18

The stories we need before trusting in science.

More satisfying than TV show or movie ever. I gave it a four (not five) stars, because I found the traditional gender roles mentioned to be quite out of place and hypocritical. But everything else was just what I needed to listen to in a senseful and reasonable way. A timely story full of learning, poetry and resonance.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Miss R P Clark
  • 04-26-21

Amazing

Fantastical written and a great listen. I fell a deep connection to the topic and loved the sense of compassion combined with scientific knowledge. I’m left want to know more and a desire to study under Robin 💚

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-27-18

Softly powerful

Loved it. A mix of ancient ways, science, history, some the authors, some cultural, and the way Land is/has been treated.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-14-22

This will change your life for the better

One of the greatest and most needed books ever written, thank you Robin for sharing your knowledge with us.

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  • Kirsty Meese
  • 05-10-22

Simply stunning

A beautiful powerful book, poetically written and enchantingly narrated. A love story to the Earth with poignant lessons on remembering our connection and to uphold our place in the reciprocal relationships between all things. Everyone should read this book. This is such an important gift that will keep giving for generations to come.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-20

Most important & beautiful book I’ve ever read

This book is so beautiful, the ecological messages braided together with incredible story telling, indigenous knowledge & scientific understanding was deeply moving.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Joanne McInnes
  • 03-29-18

The Lost Tribe

What made the experience of listening to Braiding Sweetgrass the most enjoyable?

Listening to this beautiful work stirred me at a soul level. Indigenous people offered the world so much and it is disturbing that so much of their knowledge, wisdom and connection to the earth has been swept away in a white mans tsunami to control and dominate.
We have all lost our tribe and I believe that many of us are trying to find our way home.

What did you like best about this story?

Thank you Robin for sharing such beautiful stories and understandings of plants and nature.

What does Robin Wall Kimmerer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I love listening to books because it enters me on a different level. When I listen to something it is a whole body experience. When I read something it is more of a "Mind" experience.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The Lost Tribe
How all of mankind longs for their tribe.

Any additional comments?

Love it and thank you. I have spent my life learning from horses and now share teachings from the lessons they have shared with me... very similar to the teachings of plants.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy Albertsen
  • 12-07-16

a wonderful gift of gratitude

A beautiful combination of knowledge and wisdom delivered with poetic grace. Thanks for this gift Robin .

2 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Sanbrook
  • 10-30-21

Essentially, Poingant and Poetic

Loved this book. It was beautifully read and written, poignant and poetic. I needed to listen twice to some parts occasionally just to fully absorb the beauty, the tragedy, the hope, the lesson. Kim's voice was the best. We are planting the 3 sisters this year!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nadia
  • 06-29-21

Nadia

I was reading this on audible whilst tending to my permaculture garden - it was like balm to my heart- thank you so much!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 06-24-21

I cannot recommend this enough

this book was stunning, transformative and important.
I thoroughly recommend it and hope everyone reads it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-14-21

A pleasure to review

Possibly one of the most important books I have read and listened to; a profound celebration of our responsibilities and gifts. The author’s observations of our natural world through her personal, scientific and indigenous lenses produces a unique text with sensitivity, learning, humanity and a moving call to participate differently, diligently, gratefully and joyfully.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-21

Beautiful

Difficult to accurately describe, I love the way Robin writes, and its truly a beautiful experience listening to her reading what she has so masterfully written.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rhyan
  • 05-17-21

phenomenal

could hardly recommend this highly enough, a beautiful narriative threads the practical moral and philosophical aspects together throughout the whole
the reading is done with heart and comes through compelling and effortless
after being highly and repeatedly reccomended to me, it absolutely obliterated my expectations
this book made me feel understood

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. Frost
  • 05-04-21

Best audio book I have ever experienced

Finishing this book was like saying goodbye an inspirational teacher who has helped you grow as well as learn. Robin Wall Kimmerer's narration is sublime, a true audio pleasure. The subject matter is a delightful blend of science, indigenous ways of knowing and stories. The way she interweaves it all is magical and truly a reflection of the title. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful