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Thomas King

Thomas King has written several highly acclaimed children’s books. A Coyote Solstice Tale, illustrated by Gary Clement, won the American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award for Best Picture Book and A Coyote Columbus Story, illustrated by William Kent Monkman, was a Governor General’s Award finalist.

King, who is of Cherokee and Greek descent, was a Professor of English at the University of Guelph for many years, where he taught Native Literature and Creative Writing. He recently won the Governor General’s Award for his adult novel, The Back of the Turtle, and he has been nominated for the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Viewing 1 - 15 of 17 |
A Matter of Malice
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cherokee;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

When a TV producer asks Thumps to assist with an episode about a local woman from a wealthy family whose death was ruled “misadventure,” he is reluctant to get involved. Then the producer dies in the exact same manner, and Thumps finds himself solving two cases.

Can a reality TV show solve a cold case?

The crew of a true-crime reality TV show, Malice Aforethought, shows up in Chinook to do an episode about the death of Trudy Samuels. Trudy’s death had originally been ruled accidental, but with ratings in mind, one of the producers, Nina Maslow, wants to prove it was murder. And she wants Thumps to help. Thumps is reluctant to get involved until Nina dies in the exact same place and in the exact same way as Trudy. Are the two deaths related? Or are there two murderers on the loose in Chinook? Thumps uses Nina’s Malice Aforethought files to try to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, and in the process discovers that she had already started work on another case close to Thumps' heart: the Obsidian murders.

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400 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"
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Cold Skies
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cherokee;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Thumps DreadfulWater has finally found some peace and quiet. His past as a California cop now far behind him, he’s living out his retirement as a fine-arts photographer in the small town of Chinook. His health isn’t great, and he could use a new stove, but as long as he’s got his cat and a halfway decent plate of eggs, life is good.

All that changes when a body turns up on the eve of a major water conference and the understaffed sheriff’s department turns to Thumps for help. Thumps wants none of it, but even he is intrigued when he learns the deceased was developing a new technology that could revolutionize water and oil drilling . . . and that could also lose some very powerful people a lot of money. As strangers begin to pour into Chinook for the conference, Thumps finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into a conflict between secretive players who will kill to get what they want.

In Cold Skies, the sly, wry, reluctant investigator of DreadfulWater and The Red Power Murders returns for another irresistible mystery that only Thomas King could tell.

Reviews
“Whimsical and wry, large-hearted and at times laugh out loud funny, but with an underlying gravitas and significance.” — Quill & Quire

“Even armchair sleuths who can see the solution from a mile away will appreciate GoodWeather’s unerring knack for converting social, racial, and economic conflict into blissful farce.”— Kirkus Reviews

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464 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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DreadfulWater
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cherokee;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

The award-winning, bestselling author of The Back of the Turtle and The Inconvenient Indian masters the comic mystery novel in this series opener, starring ex-cop Thumps DreadfulWater.

Thumps DreadfulWater is a Cherokee ex-cop trying to make a living as a photographer in the small town of Chinook, somewhere in the northwestern United States. But he doesn’t count on snapping shots of a dead body languishing in a newly completed luxury condo resort built by the local Indian band. It’s a mystery that Thumps can’t help getting involved in, especially when he realizes the number one suspect is Stick Merchant, anti-condo protester and wayward son of Claire Merchant, head of the tribal council and DreadfulWater’s sometimes lover. Smart and savvy, blessed with a killer dry wit and a penchant for self-deprecating humour, DreadfulWater just can’t manage to shed his California cop skin. Before long, he is deeply entangled in the mystery and has his work cut out for him.

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448 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

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Green Grass, Running Water
Format: Paperback

Strong, sassy women and hard-luck, hard-headed men, all searching for the middle ground between Native American tradition and the modern world, perform an elaborate dance of approach and avoidance in this magical, rollicking tale by award-winning author Thomas King. Alberta, Eli, Lionel and others are coming to the Blackfoot reservation for the Sun Dance. There they will encounter four Indian elders and their companion, the trickster Coyote—and nothing in the small town of Blossom will be the same again...

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L'Indien malcommode: Un portrait inattendu des Autochtones d'Amerique du Nord (format poche)
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

L’Indien malcommode est à la fois un ouvrage d’histoire et une subversion de l’histoire officielle. En somme, c’est le résultat de la réflexion personnelle et critique que Thomas King a menée depuis un demi-siècle sur ce que cela signifie d’être Indien aujourd’hui en Amérique du Nord. Ce livre n’est pas tant une condamnation du comportement des uns ou des autres qu’une analyse suprêmement intelligente des liens complexes qu’entretiennent les Blancs et les Indiens.« L’Indien malcommode ne va pas vous plaire. Il va vous passionner si la justice vous passionne. Il va vous choquer si vous n’aviez encore rien vu. Il va vous attrister c’est sûr. Mais le pire c’est qu’il va aussi vous faire rire. »Paul Ouellet - L'Indice Bohémien« Vous ne verrez plus l’histoire de l’Amérique de la même façon après avoir lu Thomas King […]. Le lecteur hésite entre la colère et le rire en lisant ce malcommode qui remet quelques mythes et supposées vérités en contexte.»Chantal Guy – La Presse

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Format Poche (Pocket Size)

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Medicine River
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

When Will returns to Medicine River, he thinks he is simply attending his mother's funeral. He doesn't count on Harlen Bigbear and his unique brand of community planning. Harlen tries to sell Will on the idea of returning to Medicine River to open shop as the town's only Native photographer. Somehow, that's exactly what happens.

Through Will's gentle and humorous narrative, we come to know Medicine River, a small Albertan town bordering a Blackfoot reserve. And we meet its people: the basketball team; Louise Heavyman and her daughter, South Wing; Martha Oldcrow, the marriage doctor; Joe Bigbear, Harlen's world-travelling, storytelling brother; Bertha Morley, who has a short fling with a Calgary dating service; and David Plume, who went to Wounded Knee. At the centre of it all is Harlen, advising and pestering, annoying and entertaining, gossiping and benevolently interfering in the lives of his friends and neighbours.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 10-11

Grade 10/11 English First Peoples resource included in the unit Relationships - Families, Friendships, Communities, and the Land.

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320 pages | 5.31" x 8.25"

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One Good Story, That One
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Inspired by the native oral tradition, this book opens with a clever creation tale introducing the traditional native wily coyote. King blends native historical realities with contemporary life in an amusing parody of the biblical Garden of Eden story. Powerful characters, sharp dialogue and profound insights make this an unforgettable and entertaining read.

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Our Story: Aboriginal Voice on Canada's Past
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

A collection of original stories written by some of the country's most celebrated Aboriginal writers, and inspired by pivotal events in the country's history Asked to explore seminal moments in Canadian history from an Aboriginal perspective, these ten acclaimed authors have travelled through our country's past to discover the moments that shaped our nation and its people. Drawing on their skills as gifted storytellers and the unique perspectives their heritage affords, the contributors to this collection offer wonderfully imaginative accounts of what it's like to participate in history. From a tale of Viking raiders to a story set during the Oka crisis, the authors tackle a wide range of issues and events, taking us into the unknown, while also bringing the familiar into sharper focus. Our Story brings together an impressive array of voices Inuk, Cherokee, Ojibway, Cree, and Salish to name just a few from across the country and across the spectrum of First Nations. These are the novelists, playwrights, journalists, activists, and artists whose work is both Aboriginal and uniquely Canadian. Brought together to explore and articulate their peoples experience of our country's shared history, these authors grace, insight, and humour help all Canadians understand the forces and experiences that have made us who we are.
Maria Campbell, Tantoo Cardinal,Tomson Highway, Drew Hayden Taylor, Basil Johnston Thomas King, Brian Maracle, Lee Maracle, Jovette Marchessault, Rachel Qitsualik

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The Back Of The Turtle
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

This is Thomas King’s first literary novel in fifteen years and follows on the success of the award-winning and bestselling The Inconvenient Indian and his beloved Green Grass, Running Water and Truth and Bright Water, both of which continue to be taught in Canadian schools and universities. Green Grass, Running Water is widely considered a contemporary Canadian classic.

In The Back of the Turtle, Gabriel returns to Smoke River, the reserve where his mother grew up and to which she returned with Gabriel’s sister. The reserve is deserted after an environmental disaster killed the population, including Gabriel’s family and the local wildlife. Gabriel, a brilliant scientist working for Domidion, created GreenSweep and indirectly led to the crisis. Now he has come to see the damage and to kill himself in the sea. But as he prepares to let the water take him, he sees a young girl in the waves. Plunging in, he saves her and soon is saving others. Who are these people with their long black hair and almond eyes who have fallen from the sky?

Filled with brilliant characters, trademark wit, wordplay and a thorough knowledge of native myth and storytelling, this novel is a masterpiece by one of our most important writers.

Reviews
“Gracefully written, this is a fable-like morality tale. With King’s trademark flashes of humour, irony and deadpan delivery, The Back of the Turtle is populated with wounded characters who are trying to heal in the wake of an environmental disaster.” — Toronto Star

“King’s writing is sharp, the characters are well-drawn, and his topic is suitably grave.” — National Post

"King deftly juxtaposes the varieties of Canadian experience, contrasting the shining city with diminishing coastal town, the lives of the uber-wealthy with those of aboriginal Canadians, whose lives seem to count for very little when there is a profit to be made. King uses his trademark blending of traditional aboriginal beliefs and stories with the Western literary canon to create a haunting narrative of life, death and the destruction of nature. Allusions abound, incorporated into the story with King's often absurdist wit, walking a fine line between humor and heartbreak. The result is both an intimate story of grief in the face of loved ones lost and a searing criticism of current apathy toward looming environmental disasters." - Publisher's Weekly

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 English First Peoples resource for the unit "You Want Me to Write a What?" - The Literary Essay.

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528 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

 

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The Inconvenient Indian
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, The Inconvenient Indian distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King's critical and personal meditation on what it means to be "Indian" in North America, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope--a sometimes inconvenient but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.

Awards

  • 2014 Burt Award Second Place Winner
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A Short History of Indians in Canada: Stories
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Acclaimed author Thomas King is in fabulous, fantastical form in this bestselling short story collection. From the surreal migrations of the title story to the misadventures of Coyote in the modern world and the chaos of a baby's unexpected arrival by airmail, King's tales are deft, hilarious and provocative. 

Reviews
"The stories in this volume cover a lot of ground. King touches on the history of displacement, racism and stereotyping, oppressive government policy, marriage and relationships, and Aboriginal-white relations, among other topics." - Dragonfly Consulting Services Canada

Educator Information
Grade 10/11 English First Peoples resource used in the unit The Trickster - A Recurring Presence.

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256 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

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The Red Power Murders: A Dreadful Water Mystery
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cherokee;

Hailed by critics from his first appearance, Cherokee ex-cop Thumps Dreadful Water is back in rumpled but razor-sharp form, doing his laconic, comic best to avoid trouble and catch the bad guys. Bestselling writer Thomas King has penned a second entertaining Dreadful Water mystery, injected with dry wit and biting social commentary. Ages 15+

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A Coyote Columbus Story
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3;

A trickster named Coyote rules her world, until a funny-looking stranger named Columbus changes her plans. Unimpressed by the wealth of moose, turtles, and beavers in Coyote' s land, he' d rather figure out how to hunt human beings to sell back in Spain. Thomas King uses a bag of literary tricks to shatter the stereotypes surrounding Columbus' s voyages. In doing so, he invites children to laugh with him at the crazy antics of Coyote, who unwittingly allows Columbus to engineer the downfall of his human friends. William Kent Monkman's vibrant illustrations perfectly complement this amusing story with a message.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 5 to 8.

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies, Geography, Physical Education and Health

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A Coyote Solstice Tale
Artists:
Gary Clement
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Coyote is having friends over for a little solstice party in the woods when a little girl comes by unexpectedly. She leads the friends through the snowy woods to the mall -- a place they had never seen before. The trickster goes crazy with glee as he shops with abandon, only to discover that filling a shopping cart with goodies is not quite the same thing as actually paying for them.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 5 - 8.

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies, Geography, Physical Education and Health, Science.

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$14.95

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Coyote Tales
Artists:
Byron Eggenschwiler
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3; 4;

Two tales, set in a time “when animals and human beings still talked to each other,” display Thomas King’s cheeky humor and master storytelling skills. Freshly illustrated and reissued as an early chapter book, these stories are perfect for newly independent readers.

In Coyote Sings to the Moon, Coyote is at first the cause of misfortune. In those days, when the moon was much brighter and closer to the earth, Old Woman and the animals would sing to her each night. Coyote attempts to join them, but his voice is so terrible they beg him to stop. He is crushed and lashes out — who needs Moon anyway? Furious, Moon dives into a pond, plunging the world into darkness. But clever Old Woman comes up with a plan to send Moon back up into the sky and, thanks to Coyote, there she stays.

In Coyote’s New Suit, mischievous Raven wreaks havoc when she suggests that Coyote’s toasty brown suit is not the finest in the forest, thus prompting him to steal suits belonging to all the other animals. Meanwhile, Raven tells the other animals to borrow clothes from the humans’ camp. When Coyote finds that his closet is too full, Raven slyly suggests he hold a yard sale, then sends the human beings (in their underwear) and the animals (in their ill-fitting human clothes) along for the fun. A hilarious illustration of the consequences of wanting more than we need.

Educator Information
Recommended for Grades K-4 English Language Arts.

Curriculum Connections: Social Studies, Language Arts, History, Indigenous Studies.

Recommended Ages: 6 - 9.

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56 pages | 5.25" x 7.75"

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$16.95

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