FNMI Reading Log - Kendra Leier.xlsx
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ReflectionTitle Quick DetailsAuthorIllustratorPublisherYearSummary, Features and ThoughtsLower Age SuggestionUper Age SuggestionCanadian Author
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✔️A Coyote Columbus StorySomewhat abstract concepts by combining modern elements with 18th century European concepts, and whimsy in the cartoonish animals. Thomas KingWilliam Kent MonkmanGroundwood Books2007This story takes the story of Christopher Columbus “discovering” America and shows it in a new light. The story is centered around Coyote, the trickster, who is supposed to make the world better, but all she wants to do is play baseball. She tries convincing the animals and the humans to play, but they’re busy. So, when some strange new humans come along looking for India, she tries to distract them and convince them to play with her. They, however, are too intent on finding things to sell back in Spain, and decide that the humans would be worth selling. Some of the humans are able to hide, but they are angry with Coyote for not helping make the world better. She promises to make things balanced, until some other new people come along and she asks them to play ball. While this story is quite historic, there are many contemporary elements that have been added, especially in the artwork, that help to make it more relatable and add some humour, trying to dispel the ideas of the original story. Throughout the story, the author’s purpose is to show the reader that the long-standing story of Christopher Columbus is just one side. The artwork enhances the action of the story, and its bright colours draw the reader into look a little more. The characters are playful and the abstract textures and colours enhance the contemporary feel of this retelling of the Columbus story. 912
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Angelique: Buffalo Hunt - Book 1 in the "Our Canadian Girl" SeriesDescriptive language and a fast-moving plot keep readers engaged in the story of a young girl learning her way through the buffalo hunt. Cora Taylor-Penguin Canada2002This lovely story is about a girl name Angelique, and is set in the late 1800's on the prairies, near Batoche, Saskatchewan. Angelique's family is Métis, and is preparing for the buffalo hunt. She is especially excited for this hunt as she gets to take on a new role in the hunt, a sign that she is growing up. Everything seems to be going well until Angelique, and her brother and a friend wander too far from camp and wind up amongst a herd of bison, running for their lives. Throughout the story, not only does the reader learn some of the traditional Métis ways of the hunt, but also about the roles of the family members, the values of the Métis culture, and the ways in which a young girl finds her own self amongst it all. The text is rich with descriptive language, but at a level suitable for young readers. The plotline flows seemlesly, creating page-turning action and a desire to keep on reading. There are a few illustrations in the book, which help the reader to create the images in their mind. This is an excellent book which brings the Métis traditions into new light. 812🇨🇦
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Beyond the Northern LightsLarge text, engaging illustrations, rhyming poem style. Lynn BlaikieLynn BlaikieFitzhenry & Whiteside2008This lovely poem is a journey through a young girl’s dream as she speaks to a raven spirit asking him to take her on adventures through skies and seas to see the beauty of the north. It has a lilted rhyming scheme that makes it very nice to read aloud. The vocabulary is also simple, making it easy for young children to understand, follow, and enjoy. The illustrations, by the author herself, are in batik, a beautiful form of artwork that involves the dying of fabric, and then adding pen details. The images are stunning, almost resemble an old marble tile mosaic due to their crackled texture, and have a very folk-art feel to them. They create a great narrative that supports the story itself.510🇨🇦
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Caribou SongSimple text, interesting illustrations. Great for working with predictions. Thomson HighwayJohn RomboughFifth House Ltd.2001Taking place in the far north, the story tells of two young boys and their family who follow the caribou. The boys play music and dance to call the caribou, but when the caribou hear their song, the boys are caught in a thunderous river of caribou. The ending of the story leaves some questions, and could provoke interesting conversations about predictions and point of view. The style of the text reminds me of a traditional story or fairytale in that it is told from the point of view of a narrator, and there are some excellent similes, metaphors and onomatopoeia to depict the action of the story. What drew me to this book though, were the illustrations. They are ink drawings, very heavy on lines, with vibrant colours in the spaces. It is a unique style, and often also includes ravens or the faces of spirits or elders, perhaps, in the bordered edges of the pictures. This legend-style story is certainly thought-provoking!610🇨🇦
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CloudwalkerA simply told legend of the young man, Cloudwalker, whose actions created the lakes and rivers of BC. The interactive style of storytelling engages the reader in the story. Roy Henry VickersRobert BuddHarbour Publishing2014A re-telling of a legend of the people of the Northwest Coast in BC, the story of Cloudwalker explains how the rivers and lakes of the area came to be. The majority of the story has a very straight forward plot line that follows how Cloudwalker became to be known as such, and how he created the lakes and rivers, and then the story goes into telling more about the rivers themselves and those who live in and near them, and how they work together. The text is written as a storyteller would speak it, in many instances seeming to speak to the reader and answer questions he or she may have. The illustrations are a combination of beautifully coloured landscapes mixed with characters drawn in a traditional west-coast style of line art. Often this traditional art is further highlighted and contrasted by being printed in a gloss finish. 713🇨🇦
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Dreaming in Indian Contemporary Native American VoicesShort 2 to 4 page pieces make for short reading time, keeping attention of the reader. Excellent resource book for many subject areas. Relavent and intriguing. Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale (Editors)-Annick Press2014Many books with FNMI content are often set in the past, or have great reference to historic culture and legends, but this book offers a very contemporary glimpse into many ways that Aboiriginal people are sharing their artistic voices. The artisist represent many nations from across Canada and the USA. Media includes photography, poetry, short stories, songs, fashion, graphic art, and other visual art forms. The book is in sections, each focusing on a different theme of identity or resistance. Every artist's pages present a unique style, and showcase vibrant coloured pages, bold text, and images to create a mood unique to their theme and cause. Some artists' voices are also combined or paired, creating great opportunities to examine different perspectives. It is quite powerful and inspiring to read and view the work of such talented artists, each of whom has a short biography provided in the back of the book for further inquiry. 1099🇨🇦
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Fatty LegsA first-person narrative of a young girl's desire to attend the "outsider school" gives insight to the emotions felt by the children who attended. Colourful illustrations, photographs and interesting facts are scattered throughout giving real connections.Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-FentonLiz Amini-HolmesAnnick Press2010Stories of residential schools are becoming somewhat easier to find, but this story gives a new perspective on the more common narrative. Margaret, or Olemaun in her native language, really WANTS to attend the "outsider school," just like her sister did, because she wants to learn how to read. She pesters her parents until they let her attend, and she then discovers that the school is not just about learning to read. Margaret's thoughts and emotions are expressed through the first-person narrative that the story is written, and provide glimpses into the mistreatment of many students who attended residential schools. While there are some pleasent times shared too, it is rather captivating to hear of this young girl's struggles to make her dream of reading come true, while struggling to manage the harsh conditions she is forced to endure. The pastel-like illustrations that are scattered frequently throughout the book add to the emotional component of the text through the use of over-exagerated expressions and colour schemes. There are also many references to photographs, which are in the back of the book, highlighting real images of Margaret's family and the town and surrounding area of the school. In addition, many short facts or Inuktituk language words are noted on some pages. This is an excellent book to engage readers with a residential school narrative. 913🇨🇦
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Goose GirlLovely style of writing suitable for reading aloud (Font is not good for younger readers to read themselves.) Wonderful illustrations that support and enhance the text. Joe McLellan and Martine McLellanRhian BrynjolsonPemican Publications Inc.2007Marie is a young girl who has a special connection to the Canadian Geese that live on the lake near her home. In her eyes they were beautiful, and they were family. She learns that her geese are very special and take the spirits of the dead south to the promised land. Then one night one of the geese follows her home, increasing her connection with her beloved friends. Marie’s grandfather tells her that she can be called Niskaw, the Cree word for goose, and that they can have a special naming ceremony for her. From that day on, Niskaw would comfort the dying, including her grandfather, and called upon the geese to take their spirits home. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and have such a softness that compliments the story well. They are paintings that create a realistic depiction of the storyline, and the brush strokes and varied use of bright and dark colours enhance the movement and mood of each scene. The white borders around the images highlight them beside the text. This story is simple to read, and very enjoyable. It does include some Cree and some French words and phrases, but they are also repeated in English so that the reader might learn and understand them. 512🇨🇦
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✔️Granny’s Giant BannockFunny and engaging plot and illustrations. Engages readers with questions. Brenda Isabel WatasecootKimberly McKay-FlemmingPemican Publications Inc.2008This story is a very fun, over-exaggeration of what happens when two people do not speak the same language. Larf’s Granny comes to visit him, as he wants to learn more about Cree and Granny wanted to visit a city. Things start out ok, and the two are able to communicate with some Cree and some English as neither really knows the other language, but then Larf asks Granny to make bannock, but she’s missing one ingredient…but Larf’s not quite sure baking powder he needs to get! He brings home what he thinks is the closest match, and since Granny can’t read the instructions she uses it just like she would her usual powder. What she doesn’t realize is that it’s SUPER powered baking powder and as she lets the bannock rise it takes over the house, and the street, and more! This is a fun book to read, with language that young students would be able to connect with, and also engages the reader by asking them questions directly to predict what might happen next, or what they might do in the situation. The illustrations match the theme and have bright colours and showcase lines with a lot of action to coincide with the plot. There could be some great discussions had with this book about predictions, communication between people with different languages, and learning family traditions that relate to students of any cultural background. 510🇨🇦
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I Am Not a NumberHonest and factual account of a young girl’s experience at a residential school and her fight to remember who she is. Emotive illustrations and straight to the point text highlight the cruelties that were endured by so many. Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy KacerGillian NewlandSecond Story Press2016This book is a very realistic account of a young girl’s experience of being sent to a residential school. While some other picture books present this topic in a bit of a softer light, this story is very blunt, and it is through the harsh words of the nuns and treatment of the children that the reader is given a glimpse of the terrors that occurred in many of these schools. Irene’s inner dialogue throughout the book explains why she finds the events so scarring, and shows how through it all she fights to maintain her cultural identity. This book is based on a true story, and with that information, it can generate many discussion opportunities to talk about the history or residential schools in Canada. The illustrations are done in muted water colours, which highlight the dark undertone of the storyline. The images mainly focus on the facial expressions and emotion of the characters in the story, contributing to the overall tone of the book. Although the text is not complicated, the theme lends itself to being read to slightly older readers, as some scenes, such as those of the punishments Irene receives, may be uncomfortable for younger students. The ending of this story though, gives hope and shows the strength of the Indigenous people who fought back against the cruelties and mistreatment by the settlers. 814🇨🇦
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I am Raven: A Story of DiscoveryStraight forward text, but a theme that may require some guidance and discussion. David Bouchard Andy EversonMTW Publishers2007This story is one of self-discovery. It teaches about totems, or animals who guide you in life. It tells a story of how a chief, nearing the end of his life, wants to have a totem pole carved, and the wisdom and gifts he receives from the animals who have helped him and his village. It is told in a traditional sort of way where the animals have some human characteristics and can speak to the chief, but has many sections of narration where the narrator speaks to the reader, offering advice as to how to learn their totems also. The illustrations in this book are very powerful. The contrast in colour of the bright moons, suns, and animals to the landscapes draws the attention to what the author has highlighted in the text. The images are quite realistic, but elements have cultural style drawings overlaid. By doing this, it gives the idea of what those animals may look like when they are represented as totem images. While the author explains a little of the difference between totems and animal spirit guides in the back of the book, I think that some additional learning from an elder would be helpful in understanding this book better. 814🇨🇦
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I is for InuksukGreat illustrations and introduction to new words and cultural meaningsMary WallaceMary WallaceMaple Tree Press2008An alphabet book with a twist; this book takes English letters and provides new examples of those letters with concepts from Canada’s northern people. These concepts are Inuit words, and each has a few examples or some complimentary words with illustrations and explanations. The illustrations themselves are lovely acrylic or oil paintings, and the multi-coloured brush strokes create wonderful texture and depth to the images. The descriptions of each Inuit word include some great descriptive vocabulary, which would help children to further understand their meanings. For each word there is also the Inuit character spelling of the word, and a pronunciation guide is provided at the back of the book. While I think this book is an excellent way to introduce new words and culture to children, I did not like that this book did not provide any sort of conclusion, and also had two letters represented twice, which makes things a little confusing in an alphabet concept. 48🇨🇦
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Jennili's DanceSimple story line, easy to connect to characters and humourous illustrations. Elizabeth DennyChris AuchterTheytus Books Ltd. 2008This cute story is about Jenneli, a little girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in at school because she looks different than the other kids. Jenneli is Métis, and really loves visiting her Grandmother, who teachers her things about her culture, including the Red River Jig dance. On one visit her grandmother tells her of an upcoming fair and that she’s entered Jenneli in the jigging dance contest! Jenneli is terrified and not sure how she will overcome her shyness to take part in the contest! This story is very fun to read, and the illustrations certainly add to the light-hearted nature of this book. The images are somewhat distorted cartoons that really play up the emotions and action of the story, and their bright colours and exaggerated depictions are delightful. The overall theme of this story is about finding out what makes you special, and knowing that it’s ok to be different than other people. This is a great message for all children, and the book could encourage conversations and activities about self-discovery and talents that the children have and can share with others. 610🇨🇦
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Little Voice - Part of the "In the Same Boat" SeriesFirst-person narative of a young girl's journey to discover herself through learning about medicine from her grandmother, learning the power of friendship, and how to adapt to changes in her world. Straight forward text provides room for the imagination to create vivid imagery. Ruby Slipperjack-Coteau Books2001Not your "typical" First Nations story. This book is about a young girl, Ray, and the story follows her as she grows from a young girl of just 10 to a teenager, learning to understand herself, and speak her opinions. Her name means "little voice," and as a child, her father passed away in a tragic accident and she remaind silent for many years, living up to her meek name. One summer though, Ray is able to spend time with her grandmother in the remote woods of Ontario, and learn more about her cultural heritage. She learns many lessons from her grandmother, who is a medicine woman, which are then put to use in many aspects of Ray's life. It is clear throughout the book that Ray's connection with her grandmother is strong, and that she trusts the wisdom that her grandmother imparts. Along the way, new characters are introduced, that help show Ray the power of friendship, the connection to the land and animals, and the need to change and adapt to the events life brings. This story is set in the late 70s and early 80s, and provides an interesting perspective and application with respect to applying tradition to modern times, and showing the strength that relationships have. The text is written in the first-person and as such, shares a lot of the inner dialogue in Ray's mind, and how she feels about connecting her knowledge from her world at school and at home to what she learns from her grandmother's thoughtful and connected ways as she grows. 913🇨🇦
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✔️Missing NimâmâDramatic story line that is both simple and rich with meaning. Beautiful illustrations connect to the dual perspective text. Melanie FlorenceFrançois ThisdaleClockwise Press2015This story is hauntingly beautiful. It follows Kateri as she through life’s events without her mother beside her. She lives with her grandmother and the story provides insight into Kateri’s thoughts as she goes to her first day of school, her first date, her wedding, and several others. Throughout we hear Kateri say how much she misses her mother and how she wishes the phone would ring with news that she’s been found. In a parallel story line on each page, we hear the voice of Kateri’s mother, watching her from a far-off place, wishing she were there to witness her milestones, and thanking her own mother, Kateri’s grandmother, for all that she’s done. All the pages are filled with stunning water colour illustrations that often feature dual images to show a piece of each character’s story line, or perhaps the emotions coming through the text. The portraits of the characters are amazingly realistic, appearing almost like photographs. The text is simple, easy to follow, and almost soft in the way it reads, but it is the theme of the book itself that makes it so dramatic. The way this book broaches the subject of missing and murdered Aboriginal women is almost serene, yet so heartbreaking. While this book would be appropriate for younger readers, it would require some discussion and de-briefing following. 899🇨🇦
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Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics CollectionExciting collection of several different authors whose illustrative styles are as unique as their stories. Hope Nicholson (Editor)variousAlternate History Comics Inc. 2015This book is an amazing collection of the work of 14 different First Nations, Inuit, and Métis artists from across Canada. The styles of the stories are as varied as the stories themselves. Some are based in traditional legends, but they are presented in futuristic styles or with contemporary characters, while others retain a sense of the past. Some stories are creations of the author's imagination. The images and styles of the storyboards are varied too, just like the storylines. Some are set up in a more traditional comic style, some like a picture book (with a single page image alongside a page of text), and others utilize a combination of techniques. When set against eachother, it is very clear to see the diversity and range of dynamics of First Nations storytelling. Some stories are sad or pensive, others wrought with violent conflict, and others teach lessons. It is through the work of these amazing artists though, that the legends and stories of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada come to life.1299🇨🇦
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Muin and the Seven Bird Hunters: A Mi’kmaw Night Sky StorySimple storytelling that has readers re-imagine how the stars move across the sky. Lillian Marshall, Murdena Marshall, Prune Harris and Cheryl BartlettKristy Read and Sana KavnaghCape Breton University Press2010This legend-style story tells of the stars in the sky, specifically the constellation known to many as the “Big Dipper.” The text is a narrative, telling the story of the animals as they move across the sky throughout the seasons, and explains some of the features and characteristics of the animals. The illustrations show the night sky in the background, with the stars of the animals highlighted. The rest of the background has a unique style of abstract art in the patterning of the grass combined with realistic looking trees. The animal characters are realistic while having almost a cartoon-like way of moving and carrying out human-like actions. All the elements are outlined in white to highlight them against the dark backgrounds. 612🇨🇦
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Not My GirlIn a similar fashion to its prequel, this story engages young readers in an important narrative of Canada's history through easy-to-read text and emotive illustrations. Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-FentonGabrielle GrimardAnnick Press2014This is a continuation of “When I Was Eight,” and follows Margaret back to her home after attending residential school for two years. Back at home, Margaret no longer fits in; she has a hard time remembering her language, her traditions, her food is strange, and even her dogs know something is different about her. These all lead to high emotions and conflicts with her family, but in the end, family is family, and while her mother once said she was “not my girl,” Margaret, or Olemaun as she is called at home, eventually rediscovers her place. Just like the first book, this story has very approachable language for young readers, and the text paints beautiful imagery, which is shown in the wonderful water colour paintings that cover every page. 799🇨🇦
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Owls See Clearly At Night: A Michif AlphabetLovely illustrations with simple words and phrases that highlight culture and everyday use of language. Julie FlettJulie FlettSimply Read Books2010This simple, yet beautiful book, highlights Michif words with English translations, for each letter of the alphabet. Michif, along with many other traditional languages of Canada, is in danger of being lost. This book, with its accompanying glossary, pronunciation guide, and other helpful resources, is in aid of preserving this language and culture. The illustrations are quite unique. They are simple shapes, filled with either solid colour or patterns, almost like those of fabric. The colour scheme is very subdued, adding to the simplicity and softness of the images. Although this is an alphabet book, it would be difficult for young readers to read alone due to the need to translate, but it would be an excellent book to work through in a classroom, or as a family. 499🇨🇦
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Raven Brings the LightThe legend of how the sun and many of the features of BC's west coast came to be are discovered in this engaging legend, which is accompanied by vibrant illustrations with a west coast artistic feel. Plot line changes time lines, making it a little more difficult for younger readers to follow.Roy Henry Vickers Robert BuddHarbour Publishing2013This story is a legend of the Haida people that dates back thousands of years, describing how light came to the land, and how many other elements, such as the salmon, berries and trees came to be. The text has many unique words belonging to the Haida language, and introduces some interesting and magical concepts about legends and how things come to be. The story also spans several sections of time, each with its own setting and thematic concept, which could be broken up and examined separately. There are also may opportunities to pause and create predictions. The illustrations are beautiful abstract artworks with a mix of Haida-style art that coincide with the text. Many of the illustrations also feature a glossy element, which adds other images and depth to the picture, bringing in the concept of light adding to the world. Some images are very stark, but colourful landscapes with subtle traditional-style ravens in glossy reflections, while others are very much traditional-looking Haida drawings, some in black with just a few colours, and others adding colour to the landscape image. 999🇨🇦
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Red Bird SingsPlot spans several decades, but is presented chronologically. Unique illustrations contribute to the biographical-style of the story of an amazing character.Gina Capaldi & Q.L. Pearce (Adapted by)Gina CapaldiCarlhoda Books2008This is a semi-biographical picture book about a young girl from South Dakota who would become a talented musician, composer, and activist. The authors adapted Zitkala-Sa’s story to make it more accessible to readers. It is written in sections of time, almost like small one-page chapters of the young girl’s life. The illustrations support this style of writing by creating scrapbook-like images on each page, featuring photographs, newspaper clippings, music, and other memorabilia along with water colours and the occasional mixed media elements like dried flowers. The text is very expressive and descriptive, giving a richness to the story. The story is one that is often not told or even heard of; that of a child who attends a school (similar to Canadian residential school) where she is stripped of her language and culture, but where she learns to love music and wants to return to in order to further her education. The young girl goes on to college, writing speeches and winning contests for her thoughts on equality for women and for American Indian people. This young lady’s story is a testament to her drive to make a stand in the “Anglo” (white) world, fighting for rights, and becoming a respected musician. 914
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Secret of the DanceEasy to follow plot, though there are many terms from the Kwa’kwa’la language interspersed, which would make this more challenging to read even for older readers. With assistance from the Glossary, the Kwa’kwa’la words are understood and aid in making deep connections to the cultural theme of the story. Andrea Spalding and Alfred ScowDarlene GaitOrca Book Publishers2006When the Europeans came to Canada and tried to assimilate the First Nations people they tried to take away their culture by forbidding many cultural practices. In this story, we hear a tale of the rebellion against these rules from the perspective of a young boy. He hears the adults planning to sneak past the Indian Agent to host a feast and dance, and though the boy was told not to go, he sneaks off to the Potlach, feeling called by the spirits. This story shows how First Nations people were so dedicated to maintaining their culture through times of such uncertainty and how they were willing to risk so much to connect with family and spirit. The illustrations in this book are quite unique. They have a very realistic approach to depicting the characters through pencil drawings, and then have increasing additions of native artwork, enhanced by computer graphics and colour that intensify throughout the story as the boy draws closer to the spirits and the Potlach. These illustrations enhance the text and support the development of the plot. Based on a true story, this book engages in learning (and perhaps un-learning) the truths of Canadian history and the mistreatment that First Nations people received as European settlers attempted to force them to abandon their culture. It would connect well in many subject areas as a way to bridge worldviews and historical views of Canada. 814🇨🇦
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✔️Secret PathSome graphics may be disturbing to younger readers. Lyrics require some interpretation to truly appreciate their meaning. Gord Downie (Lyrics)Jeff LemireSimon & Schuster2016The haunting story of a young boy named Chanie is told in Secret Path. Chanie was attending a residential school and decided to leave and walk home, which he did not realize was over 600km away. The story is in the form of a wordless graphic novel style, and is accompanied by the lyrics of 10 songs (the songs can also be downloaded or listened to online at secretpath.ca). The sharp-edged lines of the drawings, coupled with the lack of colour in Chanie's memories of the residential school, and in his current moments walking alone along the railroad tracks adds to the very sad tone expressed in the book. This is contrasted by the colourful memories of his life with his family. The wordlessness of the majority of the story leaves a lot to the reader to interpret with respect to the thoughts and emotions Chanie has, and the poetry of the song lyrics all for a lot of deep thought to be added. The imagery and spirit of the raven throughout is also quite effective in connecting with Chanie's cultural roots. This book is very powerful and could be the start of many great discussions and inquiries into the effects of the residential school system. 1099🇨🇦
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Shannen and the Dream for a SchoolRelatable narrative language that takes a non-fiction story and makes it come to life. Janet Wilson-Second Story Press2011At first glance, this book seems like it is non-fiction. The cover has photographs, and the size of the book is that of a non-fiction text, not small and rectangular like most fiction books are. It is also on a familiar topic, Shannen’s Dream; the real-life events of a young girl in Northern Ontario who fought for equality of education for First Nations reserves. The book itself though, is a biography of Shannen’s journey, written very much in the style of a narrative novel. While the events are all true, the author admits that the dialogue is fictional. It’s the way this dialogue and story are written though, that really draws the reader into Shannen’s story, uncovering a whole new perspective on the infamous story that’s been told. The text is written in an easy to follow style, and is very engaging, rather than dry information as with some non-fiction style books and biographies. 1099🇨🇦
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Skeleton Man Easy to read, yet rich with opportunities for discussion, elaboration on details, and examination of thinking processes. Great connections between cultural legends and modern world events. Joseph Burchac-Harper Trophy2001This haunting tale tells of a young girl, named Molly, whose life suddenly becomes an all too realistic version of a First Nations legend that she had been told of a skeleton man who ate his own flesh and then ate his family. One day her parents go missing, and after days on her own she is taken in by a man who claims he is her uncle. Molly is frightened by this man, whom she has never met or heard of, who keeps her locked in her room. No one believes her, other than her teacher, but she is determined that something is not right and that her parents are still alive somewhere. Guided by a spirit animal in her dreams, Molly fights to find the truth. The text is easy to read, with a simple to follow plot line. While it is a short novel at just over 100 pages, and the plot moves quite quickly, it seems to lack some descriptive detail and connective thoughts. There are key moments of action, struggle, inner dialogue, and connections to legend which would be great to dig into with a middle years class. While not really an illustrated book, there are small sketches at the beginning of each chapter, and sometimes one within the chapter also that tie in the main ideas and plot lines. 913
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Solomon's TreeRich text features that enhance a beautiful story of connecting to nature and culture, accompanied by detailed illustrations that support the plot and emotions of the story. Andrea SpaldingJanet WilsonOrca Book Publishers2002This beautiful story tells of a boy, Solomon, and a beloved maple tree from whom he learns many things about nature. He loves his tree and enjoys hearing it talk to him, until one day it is blown down in a storm. His family understands Solomon’s love for the tree and supports and encourages him in discovering the spirit of his tree through creating a mask carved of its wood. There are great descriptive words used to add detail to Solomon’s tree and the lessons it teaches and sounds it makes. Many of these words would require some explanations for younger children, but would aid in expanding vocabulary in many grade level settings. The painted illustrations provide a very realistic depiction of the plot and characters, though in somewhat of an impressionistic and expressionistic style, and aid in creating the connection between Solomon and the natural elements he enjoys learning about in his tree. This story provides a wonderful connection to a cultural connection to nature, to spirit, and to the beautiful art of mask making, all of which could lend themselves to engaging discussions and lessons. 712🇨🇦
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Stone - Part of the "7 Generations" SeriesDramatic black and white graphic novel brings a contemporary issue and historical traditions together in a captivating story of survival. David Alexander RobertsonScott B. HendersonHighwater Press2010Suicide a topics not often told in literature, and even less so in a First Nations context, but this graphic novel does just that; it tells of a young man's battle, relating his trials to those of his ancestors. The story lines run parallel, showing the journey a young First Nations man, Stone, as he goes on a spiritual quest of self-discovery, and relating it to the journey that the young boy takes in trying to heal in the hospital. The illustrations capture the raw emotions of the characters through expressive close-ups, and a great use of liniar action. The black and white drawings allow the reader to add their own colour to the imagined scenes, and the varied page layouts highlight specific scenes and action to create a smooth-flowing plot line. This book could be utilized in the classroom to engage in many different types of discussions on narrative stories and their adaptations. 1099🇨🇦
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Storm at BatocheThe language and story line of the book are very straight forward, thus catering to a younger audience, but there can be many connections made to discussions about settler and Métis relationships and the movement that Louis Riel led. Maxine TrottierJohan ManthaStoddart Kids2000The story of Louis Riel is certainly a part of our history on the prairies, and this book shows that story and Louis himself in a new light. Storm at Batoche is about a young settler boy who falls out of his wagon on the way to Batoche on a stormy winter’s night. The boy, James, is rescued by a nice man, Louis, who cares for him and teaches him about his Métis heritage. James, in turn realizes how his Scottish heritage has many similarities. The two demonstrate how sometimes even though people may seem very different and have different traditions and words, at heart they are just the same. The full page water colour illustrations show wonderful facial expressions and the variety of line styles create movement and texture through the scenes of the story. 713🇨🇦
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Sugar Falls: A Residential School StoryGraphic novel style makes the story accessible and engaging for middle years students. Some difficult content areas, which should be discussed and debriefed with readers. David Alexander RobertsonScott B. HendersonHighwater Press2011Written as a graphic novel, Sugar Falls reveals the horrific story of one residential school survivor, Betty Ross. The story is set up as a realistic re-telling of her story to her granddaughter and a friend from school, who is working on an assignment. The captions tell Betty’s narrative, and the speech bubbles the voices of her and those at her school as a child. The text is often quite blunt, and shares Betty’s thoughts and feelings, but it is the images that make this short graphic novel so powerful. They are black and white ink drawings, in a somewhat classic comic book style, but they show so much emotion in the characters’ faces. The heavy use of black in the depiction of the priest and nuns along with the night sky and the cold lake contribute to the dark memories associated with these elements of the residential school experience for Betty. There are depictions of violence and allusions to sexual abuse in this story, sharing a horrific side of the residential school experience, and as such, this book is not recommended for younger readers unless under the guidance of a parent or teacher. 1299🇨🇦
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Taan’s Moon: A Haida Moon StorySimple rhyming scheme with a story line that follows the seasons and the movements of the animals. Incredible felt illustrations. Alison GearKiki vander Heiden with the Children of Haida GwaiiMcKellar & Martin Publishing Group2014Each culture has its own stories and legends to explain things in life and in nature. The moon story of Haida people of the west coast of British Columbia is shared in this uniquely illustrated book. Each scene of the book tells of how the seasons and the moons changed based on the movements of Tann (the bear) and the geese. The text is simple in each page’s 4-line rhyming verse. The language is simple enough for younger readers to read themselves, yet has enough 3depth for older readers to inquire and investigate. The illustrations of this story truly make it magical. They are created in the art of felting, and have been crafted by the illustrator with the assistance of the kindergarten children of the island of Haida Gwaii. The images are stunning, detailed, and it is so inspiring to know that this project was created by the work of children, who are encouraged to reconnect with the language and culture of the people of Haida Gwaii. 49🇨🇦
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The Curse of the Shaman: A Marble Island StoryRelatable characters and easy-to read story line help the traditions of the Inuit connect with the modern reader. Michael KusugakVladyana KrykorkaHarper Trophy Canada2006A First nations legend comes to life in this tale of a young boy, cursed by a shaman as a baby. We see the young boy grow and develop a freiendship with the shaman's daughter, before being sent to an isolated island as the curse comes to fuition when he comes of age. The story is set in the far north of Nunavut (though in a time in the distant past), and expresses many Inuit customs and traditions, such as arranged marriages, the roles of each family member, hunting, fishing, and the ways of Inuit life. As part of the traditional ways of the Inuit, the characters have some rather interesting names, that are somewhat cumbersome to read repeatedly, like "The-man-with-no-eyebrows". Despite this, the story itself is rich with emotion and allows the reader to connect with the characters, even though the setting is so long in the past. This book brings a fresh perspective on a group of people not often featured in literature. 913🇨🇦
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The Diamond Willow Walking StickTopic of sharing, “what goes around comes around”, living generously, and being proud of cultural traditions are areas that young children can relate to, while older children (perhaps 10+) can dig into a little more and look at how they live (or might want to live) in these generous ways, or how their own family traditions are part of their lives. Leah Marie DorionLeah Marie DorionGabriel Dumont Institute Press2012This story is about a young boy, who lives with his grandparents, speaking of the power of generosity and how everything works in circular ways. It introduces many traditions that are significant to Métis culture, and presents them in an easy to understand way. Traditions such as learning from elders, living generously and giving of themselves to others in need are all mentioned throughout the book, and presented in easy to understand terms for younger children. The illustrations, each page features a full-sized unique acrylic canvas painting, are so vibrant, and though they have many abstract components, the main character and action in each is applicable to the text. The text itself, written in English and Michif, is very approachable and appropriate for younger readers. A narrated CD is also included in English and Michif. 799🇨🇦
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The Drum Calls SoftlyThe rhyming poem makes this accessible for younger children to understand if they are read it, but it is so warm and beautiful that it can be enjoyed by readers of any age. David Bouchard and Shelley WillierJim PoitrasRed Deer Press2008Written as a poem, this story is about the magic and mystery of the round dance and the spirits who speak to the heart. There are elements of Cree culture scattered throughout the story, such as dance, learning from grandparents, food, prayer, and listening to the earth. The illustrations are vibrant coloured paintings that focus on the brilliance of the sky, the images of people shown in silhouette. As the poem itself is written in a reflective and dream-like way, the images are more for enjoyment than they are supporting the text, but they create the opportunity for some imaginative ideas of what is happening in the image. There is also an accompanying CD with a reading of the story, which also has some background music and nature sounds, creating a very lovely experience of this story. Northern Cree also has a track of just drum music, which would be great to use with a group to do your own round dance, just as in the story. SPECIAL NOTE: Dave Bouchard is from Gravelbourg, SK and was a teacher in Regina! He has received the Order of Canada for his contributions through his story telling. He has written several books, which are all incredible. http://davidbouchard.com/ 599🇨🇦
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The Gathering TreeThe storyline and text are easy to follow, and are very representative of “everyday life” for many students. There are some deeper connections that could be made with older students about HIV/aids, but it would provide an easy entry to discussions about viruses with younger students also. Larry Loyie with Constance BrissendenHeather D. HolmlundTheytus Books Ltd. 2005This is a story about two siblings whose favourite older cousin comes to visit. They love when they get to see their cousin as he takes them out on special outings and is so fun! They are concerned though, when they hear that some of their friends’ parents won’t let them visit Robert too as he is sick. What kind of sick? They learn he has HIV and people of their community are unsure that that means. Through easy reading conversations, Tyler and Shay-Lyn learn a little more about this sickness their cousin has. The story moves forward in an even pace, with any scene changes supported by the changing water colour illustrations. There are many characters who speak, but it is Tyler and Shay-Lyn’s characters who help keep the story line easy to follow, and create a relatable point of view for younger readers. There is a great deal of content related to First Nations culture in the story in addition to the main theme of HIV/Aids. Conversations and descriptions of community gatherings, ceremony and rituals are interspersed in the text, providing a great sense of the character of the community. The illustrations are realistic, giving great detail to capturing the faces of the characters and providing detailed background and setting information. 899🇨🇦
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The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Métis StorySimple text from the perspective of a child. Bright and engaging illustrations support the text. Leah Marie DorionLeah Marie DorionGabriel Dumont Institute Press2009This old tale is given a beautiful outlet in this story. Leah Dorion’s vibrantly painted illustrations give so much life to a traditional story by accentuating the action in the story with simple character shapes that are made very relatable by the use of many colours in their costuming and in the abstract lines of the background. The language used in the text is simple, straight forward, and written from the perspective of a child, making it an excellent way to introduce this particular Métis tradition to children. I think it also allows for many conversations about worldview, and how we are really all connected through kindness and through helping others, which is a discussion that could be held with so many grade levels. Also included is a CD with the narrated story in English and Michif. 412🇨🇦
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The Road Allowance KittenSimple story line with some great vocabulary introduced. Engaging illustrations support the story. CD recording in English and Michif. Text in both languages as well. Wilfred BurtonChristina JohnsGabriel Dumont Institute Press2015This story brings the history of the Métis who lived on government road allowances to life. The stories of the Métis who were forced off their lands are often difficult to find, or to find ones that have sort of connection for children. Road Allowance Kitten tells the story of two young girls, whose families live on the road allowance, who find a kitten and have fun taking care of it. They love the little kitten, but they soon hear that they must move from the road allowance. The girls are devastated that they are not allowed to bring their furry friend with them, but help pack their things to journey to a new community. Just as they are about to leave, one of the girls comes up with a great plan to sneak kitten along with them. On the surface, this is a cute story about friendship, and it has a lot of vocabulary that creates some detailed imagery. The illustrations have a lot of impact on the story, and the line and vibrancy of the colours enhance the images created by the text. On some deeper levels, this story provides a great opportunity to discuss the history of the Métis people on the prairies. There are discussions that could be had with regards to the land that was taken from the people that forced them to live on the road allowances, and then again when they were forced to move from there too. The last pages provide some information about the road allowances, which would be a great starting point for some more exploration into the topic for older grades. 699🇨🇦
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✔️The Sugar Bush - Book 1 in "The Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws" SeriesHilarious graphic novel that combines history, traditional naratives and legends, and quippy humour while exploring the importance of values, like respect. Chad Solomon & Christopher MeyerChad SolomonLittle Spirit Bear Productions2011This series of comics, or graphic novels, follows two brothers, Bear Paws and Rabbit through their mischevious adventures in the Anishnabek Nation territory of what is now Ontario at the time of early colonization. In this story, through a series of silly schemes, mishaps, and wrong turns, the brothers learn about several legends and stories, encounter a British Army, and along the way learn about respecting nature, and all of the creatures that are in it. While the brothers are just young boys having fun, they are often halted in their tracks as they realize the wrongs they are doing and learn from those around them. The text of the story is easy to follow, and there are many little jokes that make you laugh out loud. The antics that the boys get into, and their responses are very relatable to today's youth, yet there are many moral groundings and values presented, which may cause the reader to stop and evaluate the situation. The graphics are brightly coloured and incorporate many different distances and persepctives allowing the reader to get both a close up and wide view of the action taking place. The text itself becomes part of the illustrative story in this book as well, as its size and placement also help to emphasize the mood or tone of the speaker, and the action taking place. Check out further volumes of this series for more crazy antics in 18th century North America!815🇨🇦
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We All CountEasy, large words, board book. Would require adult’s (or older child’s) assistance with the Cree words. Engaging images. Julie FlettJulie FlettNative Explore2014This book is adorable, and has such a wonderful double meaning to the title. It is a board book, with each two-page spread featuring the Cree word for each number (with the phonetic pronunciation) and a reference in text and image to a nature or family-related element in that number. The illustrations are simple, but enhanced by the use of coloured texture and pattern that fills the shapes. While very simplistic in its basic concept, this book has a beautiful double meaning, reminding us all that we count, and it is our job to take care of each other and help everyone belong. 38🇨🇦
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Whale SnowThe story is very accessible to younger students, though some introduction of the Inupiaq words will be required. There could be discussions had about family traditions from many cultures. Debby Dahl EdwardsonAnnie PattersonCharlesbridge 2004This book tells what happens when a village in Alaska is given the gift of a bowhead whale. Told from the point of view of a young boy, this book has some great text features that create the imagery of a very snowy day, and the beautiful water colour illustrations truly support the actions of the text. There are many words of the Inupiaq language introduced throughout the story that contribute to the development of the cultural and spiritual teachings of how a whale blesses the community. The soft colours of the water colour illustrations enhance the moods and settings of the story as they depict the warmth of home against the chill of the snow, and create a sense of wonder and magic as the story is told.610
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When I Was EightThis story tells the narrative of residential schools from a different perspective, and encourages readers to find their own strength and goals in difficult situations. Simple text and emotive illustrations enable reading by younger children. Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-FentonGabrielle GrimardAnnick Press2013A younger companion to “Fatty Legs” this story is about Margaret’s first year at the “outsider school”, a Residential School. While providing insight and information about many of the things associated with residential schools, such as children being given Christian names, cutting their hair, and being treated poorly, these things are not the focus of the story. The story focuses on Margaret’s longing to read and her perseverance in the face of many obstacles to achieve her goal. The artwork blends with the story, providing a wonderful emotional link to the text that invites the reader in to feel what Margaret is experiencing. The soft lines of the pictures, and especially in Margaret’s features, create a soothing feeling as you read. There are also many new vocabulary words that help to express the emotion and setting of the story. 799🇨🇦
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