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Literature Circles

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These titles are all entry level Aboriginal content for literature circles.

My Name is Seepeetza
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

At six years old, Seepeetza is taken from her happy family life on Joyaska Ranch to live as a boarder at the Kalamak Indian Residential School. Life at the school is not easy, but Seepeetza still manages to find some bright spots. Always, thoughts of home make her school life bearable. 

An honest, inside look at life in an Indian residential school in the 1950s, and how one indomitable young spirit survived it.

Educator Information
Curriculum Connections: Language Arts, History, Social Studies, Science

 

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$10.95

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Red Wolf
Authors:
Jennifer Dance
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10;

Life is changing for Canada's Anishnaabek Nation and for the wolf packs that share their territory.

In the late 1800s, both Native people and wolves are being forced from the land. Starving and lonely, an orphaned timber wolf is befriended by a boy named Red Wolf. But under the Indian Act, Red Wolf is forced to attend a residential school far from the life he knows, and the wolf is alone once more. Courage, love and fate reunite the pair, and they embark on a perilous journey home. But with winter closing in, will Red Wolf and Crooked Ear survive? And if they do, what will they find?

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Shadows Cast by Stars (PB)
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Old ways are pitted against new horrors in this compellingly crafted dystopian tale about a girl who is both healer and seer.Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet—especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the Plague ravaging the rest of the world.

Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Mercredi might be immune to Plague, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe—government forces are searching for those of aboriginal heritage to harvest their blood. When a search threatens Cassandra and her family, they flee to the Island: a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerilla warriors—and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in. And though the village healer has taken her under her wing, and the tribal leader’s son into his heart, the creatures of the spirit world are angry, and they have chosen Cassandra to be their voice and instrument....

Incorporating the traditions of the First Peoples as well as the more familiar stories of Greek mythology and Arthurian legend, Shadows Cast by Stars is a haunting, beautifully written story that breathes new life into ancient customs.

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Snow Apples
Authors:
Mary Razzell
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10;

While the rest of the world celebrates the end of World War II, sixteen-year-old Sheila Brary finds life in a remote British Columbia outpost suffocating and isolating. A household full of brothers, a philandering father, and, most of all, Sheila's demanding, embittered mother all stand in the way of a bright, beautiful teenager who dreams of continuing her schooling and becoming a nurse. The mother-daughter relationship at the heart of this haunting novel is both timeless and complex, and the two strong, rebellious women are more alike than they care to admit. One meets the demands of a sexist age with resentment and anger, while the other struggles to break away. In the end, Sheila defies her mother by pursuing a romance with a local carpenter. But when she becomes pregnant, she turns to her father for help, with devastating results.

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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.

Additional Information
528 pages | 5.31" x 8.00"

 

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$19.99

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The Dreamer's Legacy
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12;

Tasimu is a boy with the strange and perilous ability to call down the powers of the Northern Lights. Fearing rejection from family and friends, he struggles in secret to harness his gift as he searches for answers about his mysterious parentage.

When the Empire’s soldiers force his people from their arctic homeland, Tasimu’s quest and the fate of his people intersect. Will the young seeker unlock the secrets of his power and his past before his tribe is destroyed?

One man holds the key – but there is a price to be paid…

Reviews
The Dreamer's Legacy is truly an interesting book. It takes a familiar story of the colonization of Indigenous people, and gives it a new and exotic twist. Celu Amberstone has fashioned a truly original take on aboriginal storytelling - it teaches, entertains, and mystifies. - Drew Hayden Taylor

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$14.50

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The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel
Artists:
Michael Wyatt
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

A sleepy native reservation. A troubled teen girl. A vampire returns home.

Nothing ever happens on the Otter Lake reservation. But when 16-year-old Tiffany discovers her father is renting out her room, she's deeply upset. Sure, their guest is polite and keeps to himself. But he''s also a little creepy.

Little do Tiffany, her father or even her astute Granny Ruth suspect the truth. The mysterious Pierre L'Errant is actually a vampire, returning to his tribal home after centuries spent in Europe. But Tiffany has other things on her mind: her new boyfriend is acting weird, disputes with her father are escalating, and her estranged mother is starting a new life with somebody else.

Fed up and heartsick, Tiffany threatens drastic measures and flees into the bush. There, in the midnight woods, a chilling encounter with L'Errant changes everything... for both of them.

A mesmerizing blend of Gothic thriller and modern coming-of-age novel, The Night Wanderer is unlike any other vampire story.

Reviews
"One of Quill and Quire's Books of the Year 2007: "Shivers and chills in an Anishinabe setting... refreshingly smart humour." — Patty Lawlor, Quill and Quire, December 2007

"Teens who devour vampire fiction will enjoy this unusual slant on the oft-told legend." — Jan Chapman, VOYA, June 2008

"Michael Wyatt's illustrations for the graphic novel are rich in tone, and his spare use of the colour red lends an eerie hue to the character of L'Errant." — Terri Lawrence-Taylor, Professionally Speaking, September 2014

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 12-18.

Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource for units on Identity, Place-Conscious Learning, and Relationships.

Additional Information
218 pages | 5.00" x 7.25"

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$12.95

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The People and Josh Wilson
Authors:
John Reid
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11;

Josh Wilson’s grade nine history project leads him stumbling into a parallel world where Native American people have not been displaced by colonists. Instead, the People thrive in a powerful domain and co-exist with small colonies in Massachusetts and New York. Josh has only a few days to find his way back to his own world. His journey among leaders of the colonists and the Mahican people is an action packed trip through an alternate history that inspires readers to question the past and rethink the present.

$12.95

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There, There: A Novel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Here is a voice we have never heard--a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with stunning urgency and force.

Here is a story of several people, each of whom has private reasons for travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life together after his uncle's death and has come to work at the powwow to honour his uncle's memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.

Fierce, angry, funny, heartbreaking, There There is a relentlessly paced multi-generational story about violence and recovery, memory and identity, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people. An unforgettable debut.

Reviews
There There has so much jangling energy and brings so much news from a distinct corner of American life that it’s a revelation… its appearance marks the passing of a generational baton.” —The New York Times

“Each character is introduced and developed with a clear-eyed fidelity, empathic without sentimentality, our understanding increasing as connections are revealed, histories explored, gaps filled in. . . . At its core, There There is a novel about those gaps.” —Toronto Star

“Welcome to a brilliant and generous artist who has already enlarged the landscape of American fiction. There There is a comic vision haunted by profound sadness. Tommy Orange is a new writer with an old heart.” —Louise Erdrich, Birchbark Books

“A gripping deep dive into urban indigenous community in California: an astonishing literary debut!” —Margaret Atwood via Twitter

There There is a miraculous achievement, a book that wields ferocious honesty and originality in service of telling a story that needs to be told. This is a novel about what it means to inhabit a land both yours and stolen from you, to simultaneously contend with the weight of be­longing and unbelonging. There is an organic power to this book—a revelatory, controlled chaos. Tommy Orange writes the way a storm makes landfall.” —Omar El Akkad, author of American War

Additional Information
304 pages | 5.64" x 8.51" | Paperback

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$21.00

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Three Day Road
Authors:
Joseph Boyden
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 12;

The National Bestseller
Shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award
One of The Globe and Mail One Hundred Best Books of 2004
Inspired in part by real-life World War I Ojibwa hero Francis Pegahmagabow, this unblinking, impeccably researched novel is the astonishing story of two Cree snipers in the killing fields of Ypres and the Somme, and the winding journey home to northern Ontario that only one of them will make. A remarkable tale of brutality, survival, and rebirth, Three Day Road is an
unforgettable reading experience.

Boyden, like Homer in The Iliad, is precise and unflinching in his descriptions of the ways in which soldiers fall in battle. ... This novel is a remarkable achievement, and a breathtaking debut.
The Globe and Mail

This poignant tale weaves together magic, hubris and plain good storytelling, making it one of the best Canadian literature offerings of the season.
The Calgary Herald

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$22.00

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Wabi: A Hero's Tale
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Wabi was born a great horned owl who grew to become such a strong, confident creature that he was afraid of nothing. But now he is afraid. He fears that he might never win the heart of the girl he loves. Somehow, despite his own intentions, he has fallen in love with a girl--a beautiful, headstrong human girl. And so he begins the adventure of his life. He shape-shifts into human form in order to be with her. But before he can win her love, he must face an even greater challenge in a land he comes to think of as the Valley of Monsters. Ages 11-14

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$9.99

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Where I Belong
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

This moving tale of self-discovery takes place during the Oka uprising in the summer of 1990. Adopted as an infant, Carrie has always felt somehow out of place. Recurring dreams haut her, warning her that someone close to her is in danger...

When she discovers that her birth family is Mohawk living in Quebec, she makes the long journey and finally achieves the sense of home and belonging that had always eluded her.

Educator Information
Recommended ages: 12 - 15. 

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$12.95

In Re-Print
Where The Rivers Meet
Authors:
Don Sawyer
Format: Paperback

A powerful story of a young girl's search for meaning after the suicide of a close friend. She finally finds the strength to carry on through the wisdom and cultural traditions of her people.

A TEACHER'S GUIDE is available also under the Educator's Resources Category in the Adult section of the website.

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$13.95

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White Girl
Authors:
Sylvia Olsen
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11;

Until she was fourteen, Josie was pretty ordinary. Then her Mom meets Martin, "a real ponytail Indian," and before
long, Josie finds herself living on a reserve outside town, with a new stepfather, a new stepbrother, and a new name, "Blondie." In town, white was the ambient noise, the no-colour background. On the reserve, she’s White, and most seem to see her only for her blond hair and blue eyes. Bit by bit, the place itself, the reserve, the run-down houses, the way the people live in them and around them, the forest and the sea, finds its way into her, like nothing else ever has, or ever will.

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$9.95

In Re-Print
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