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Leo Yerxa

Leo Yerxa was born of Ojibwa parents in 1947 on the Little Eagle Reserve in northwestern Ontario. He is an award-winning writer, illustrator and artist who studied graphic arts at Algonquin College in Ottawa and fine arts at the University of Waterloo. He has written Last Leaf, First Snowflake to Fall, which won the 1994 Mr. Christie's Book Award. He received the Governor General's award for illustration in 1996 for his exceptional book Ancient Thunder.

Ancient Thunder
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: Preschool; Kindergarten; 1;

A beautiful and visionary book, Ancient Thunder celebrates wild horses and the natural world of the prairies. Using an extraordinary technique, Leo Yerxa, an artist of Ojibway ancestry, makes paper look like leather, so that his illustrations seem to be painted on leather shirts. The art is accompanied by a rich song of praise for the wild horses that came to play such an important role in the lives of the First Peoples. 

Years in the making, the book is truly a work of art — one that reflects Yerxa's sense of nature and the place of the First Peoples within it.


  • In 2008, Ancient Thunder was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.
  • Winner of the Governor General's Award

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 4 and up (Grades k and up)

Curriculum Connections: Language Arts, Visual Arts

Additional Information
40 pages | 8.30" x 10.80"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork

Last Leaf, First Snowflake to Fall
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3;

Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall takes us on a dreamlike voyage into nature at that secret moment when fall turns into winter. We find ourselves in a kind of paradise, which humans may be part of but which they have not despoiled. 

A father and son lead us through forests, down rivers, over lakes and ponds. Along the way we experience the primordial beauty of the physical world. This is nature as we all feel in our hearts it must once have been. 

Through lyrical words and a masterful collage technique, Leo Yerxa has created an exquisite and poetic evocation of this moment.

Educator Information
Curriculum Connections: Science and Nature, Visual Arts, Language Arts.

Recommended ages: 5-8.

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.13" x 11.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork

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