First Nation Communities Read: Indigenous Literacy Award

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Ancient Thunder
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

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.

Awards

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

Additional Information
40 pages | 8.30" x 10.80"


Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$9.95

Quantity:
As Long As the Rivers Flow (PB)
Artists:
Heather D. Holmlund
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

In the 1800s, the education of First Nations children was taken on by various churches, in government-sponsored residential schools. Children were forcibly taken from their families in order to erase their traditional languages and cultures. 

As Long as the Rivers Flow is the story of Larry Loyie's last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl and watches his grandmother make winter moccasins. He helps the family prepare for a hunting and gathering trip.

Awards

  • In 2006, As Long As the Rivers Flow was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.
  • Winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction 

Additional Information
48 pages | 7.25" x 10.25"

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

Quantity:
Dragonfly Kites
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;

Dragonfly Kites is the third book in Tomson Highway's magical Songs of the North Wind trilogy. Like Fox on the Ice and Caribou Song, it has a bilingual text, written in English and Cree. And once again Tomson Highway brilliantly evokes the very essence of childhood as he weaves a deceptively simple story about the power of the imagination.

Joe and Cody, two young Cree brothers, along with their parents and their little dog Ootsie, are spending the summer by one of the hundreds of lakes in northern Manitoba. Summer means a chance to explore the world and make friends with an array of creatures, But what Joe and Cody like doing best of all is flying dragonfly kites. They catch dragonflies and gently tie a length of thread around the middle of each dragonfly before letting it go. Off soar the dragonflies into the summer sky and off race the brothers and Ootsie too, chasing after their dragonfly kites through trees and meadows and down to the beach before watching them disappear into the night sky. But in their dreams, Joe and Cody soar through the skies with their kites until it's time to wake up.

Reviews
"Unlike most fiction, Dragonfly Kites does not follow a standard plot line. Like the dragonfly kites that the boys follow, the plot simply glides along until the boys wake up from their dream. This is appropriate due to the significance the illustrations play in this picture book, as well as the age of the intended audience. Readers are not overwhelmed by the storyline and are free to appreciate the accompanying illustrations. The illustrations in Dragonfly Kites act as an extension of the story. The pictures in the book are colourful, beautiful, and have an austere, stark quality. This is consistent with other works produced by award-winning illustrator Julie Flett. This style suits the story as, aside from the nature that surrounds around them, Joe and Cody are depicted as being by themselves. While they live with the parents, their adventures occur when their parents are fishing without them. The full-page illustrations demonstrate the vast space that surrounds the boys." — CM Magazine

"At once a celebration of heritage, the wilderness, and imagination, this book is a breath of fresh northern air." — Kirkus Reviews

Educator & Series Information
This is the third book in the Songs of the North Wind series, a dual-language (English and Cree) series about two young Cree boys.

Additional Information
32 pages | 9.26" x 10.70"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$14.95

In Re-Print
Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit; Inuvialuit;

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact. 

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. 

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls -- all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school. 

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity. 

Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artwork from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Awards

  • First Nation Communities Read recipient, 2011-2012

Reviews
"I highly recommend this book for the discussion it would stir with students...Makes the harrowing residential school stories accessible to youth." — Resource Links, December 2010

"Presents a unique and enlightening glimpse into the residential school experience and, most importantly, one little girl's triumph over her oppressors." — Quill & Quire, November 2010

Educator Information
Fountas and Pinnell T

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; Indigenous; arctic; school; self-esteem; abuse; community; prejudice; Canadian content; courage/bravery; right vs. wrong; role reversal; secrets; society; history; bullying; memoir; character education.

Additional Information
112 pages | 6.25" x 9.00" | full-color illustrations, archival photographs, map

Authenticity Note
This illustrator of this book is not Indigenous; therefore, her artwork is not considered to be Authentic Indigenous Artwork according to Strong Nations Authenticity Guidelines. The archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's personal collection, however, are considered to be authentic, which is why the book is labelled as containing Authentic Indigenous Artwork. It is up to readers to determine whether or not the images in this work are authentic for their purposes.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$12.95

Quantity:
Long Powwow Nights
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Indigenous American;

The Powwow is a time-honored Native American custom. It is a celebration of life and spirituality, a remembrance of traditions, uniting a people through dance and ritual.

Long Powwow Nights takes you on a wonderful journey, honoring these mystical dancers who keep their traditions alive through dance and song. In its poetic verses, David Bouchard skillfully narrates the story of a mother's dedication to her roots and her efforts to impress upon her child the importance of culture and identity.

Internationally revered Indigenous artist, Leonard Paul, brings the story alive with his beautiful renditions of powwow dancers, warriors, and stunning landscape.

The book is accompanied by a CD, which includes music by internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter, Buffy Sainte- Marie.

Awards

  • In 2010, Long Powwow Nights was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

Reviews
"Leonard Paul's wonderful artwork is the major strength of Long Powwow Nights. The magnificent paintings have a photographic realism that, given the subject matter, is beautiful and awe-inspiring. . . Long Powwow Nights is a stunning book that will especially appeal to First Nation People and to anyone who has enjoyed the opportunity to attend a powwow ceremony. Highly recommended."— CM Magazine

"The incantatory verse that animates this song of praise to a mother who kept the magic of the powwow alive for her son's generation casts a spell, to be sure, but Leonard Paul's stunning paintings of dancers in full-feathered dress and face paint eclipse all else."— The Globe and Mail

"Breathtaking colour paintings of traditionally clothed dancers and dance scenes intensify the passion of the ritual and the Powwow experience. Readers are also inspired through included audio media by Buffy Sainte-Marie, along with English and Mi'kmaq readings by the authors. This book is a wonderful tribute to the traditional culture of the Mi'kmaq nation, as well as an enriching resource for non-natives, and a celebration of First Nations People." — Resource Links

Additional Information
32 pages | 10.25" x 8.00

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$24.95

Quantity:
Shannen and the Dream for a School
Authors:
Janet Wilson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Attawapiskat;
In 2012-2013 Shannen and the Dream for a School was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

All children have the right to a school.

This is the true story of Shannen Koostachin and the people of Attawapiskat, a Cree community in Northern Ontario, who have been fighting for a new school since 1979, when a fuel spill contaminated their original school building.

It is 2008, and thirteen-year-old Shannen and the other students at J.R. Nakogee Elementary are tired of attending class in portables that smell and don’t keep out the freezing cold winter air. They make a YouTube video describing the poor conditions, and their plea for a decent school gains them attention and support from community leaders and children across the country. Inspired, the students decide to turn their grade-eight class trip into a visit to Ottawa, to speak to the Canadian government. Once there, Shannen speaks passionately to the politicians about the need to give Native children the opportunity to succeed. The following summer, Shannen is nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Her passion and that of the other students makes politicians stand up and take notice, and becomes a rallying point for the community and for the country.

Shannen will never see her dream fulfilled. Tragically, she was killed in a car crash in 2010. Her family, friends, and supporters are continuing to fight and to honor her memory as they work for equality for children in communities everywhere.
$14.95

Quantity:
SkySisters
Format: Paperback
In 2005, SkySisters was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

B.C. Science Supplementary Resource: Gr.3-Earth and Life Science

Two Ojibway sisters set off across the frozen north country to see the SkySpirits midnight dance. It isn't easy for the younger sister to be silent, but gradually she begins to treasure the stillness and the wonderful experiences it brings. After
an exhilarating walk and patient waiting, the girls are rewarded by the arrival of the SkySpirits - the Northern Lights - dancing and shimmering in the night sky. This powerful story, with its stunning illustrations, captures the chill of a northern night, the warmth of the family circle and the radiance of a child's wonder.

$8.95

Quantity:
Solomon's Tree
Authors:
Andrea Spalding
Format: Paperback
In 2004, Solomon's Tree was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

B.C. Science Supplementary Resource: Gr.1-Life Science

Solomon has a special friendship with the big old maple outside his house. He knows the tree in all seasons and all weathers. When a terrible storm tears it up by its roots, Solomon is devastated. But through the healing process of making a mask from part of the tree with his uncle, he learns that the cycle of life continues and so does the friendship between himself and the tree.


$10.95

Quantity:
The Water Walker
Authors:
Joanne Robertson
Artists:
Joanne Robertson
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Atikameksheng Anishnawbek;
In 2018-2019, The Water Walker was an award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

The story of a determined Ojibwe Grandmother (Nokomis) Josephine Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect Nibi for future generations, and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men, and youth, have walked around all the Great Lakes from the four salt waters, or oceans, to Lake Superior. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.

Awards
- 2018-2019 First Nation Communities Read

Reviews
"An important topic is treated with grace, love, and a smidgen of humor in this delightful, necessary book." —Kirkus Reviews

"... a worthwhile addition to classroom and public libraries and a resource for discussions about First Nations and ecology." — CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"... like so many titles about Indigenous topics finally earning shelf space in Canadian libraries and bookshops, The Water Walker has just as much to teach parents as the children... Joanne Robertson succeeds in answering with her words and her art the same question that Nokomis Josephine answered with her footsteps: 'What are you going to do about it?'" — Anishinabek News

"The Water Walker is a wonderful book about conservation, environmentalism, and preservation, written in a way that even the youngest audience can understand why Nibi is important and why we should protect Nibi.... The book has the potential to be a highly interactive book around which science lesson plans could be formed. Students can discuss how they are protecting Nibi, they can write letters to Nokomis, and there can be discussion around the ways they can create change in the world, just as Nokomis did." — Resource Links

Additional Information
36 pages | 7.00" x 8.50"
Authentic Canadian Content
$16.95

Quantity:
Which Way Should I Go?
Authors:
Sylvia Olsen
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Tsartlip;

In 2009, Which Way Should I Go? was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

Joey is a happy Nuu-chah-nulth boy, eager to help and quick to see the bright side of things. But when he loses his beloved grandmother, the sun goes out in his world. Fortunately, she has left something of herself behind, a song, which keeps knocking on Joey's heart, and a dance, which urges him to get up on his feet and choose again. Choosing was what their song was about, and Grandma's lessons prove strong indeed. Joey chooses to remember Grandma with joy and to take up his daily life again with a spring in his step.

Authentic Canadian Content
$10.95

Quantity:
Wild Berries
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Cree;

In 2014-2015, Wild Berries was an award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

Tch, tch, sh, sh, tup, tup.

Spend the day picking wild blueberries with Clarence and his grandmother. Meet ant, spider, and fox in a beautiful woodland landscape, the ancestral home of author and illustrator Julie Flett. This book is written in both English and Cree, in particular the n-dialect, also known as Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area.

Wild Berries is also available in the n-dialect Cree, from the Cross Lake, Norway House area.

$23.50

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