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Fantasy & Folklore

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Dragonfly Song
Authors:
Wendy Orr
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

The girl has had many selves in her short life. The first she remembers is Aissa, the daughter of Mama and Dada, sister to Zufi who watched the goats. Then the Bull King's raiders came, and Mama said, "Don't make a sound till I come back." And when the villagers found her she was silent as stone, because Mama never came back again.

So the villagers cursed her as back luck and made her No-Name, lowest of the servants to the Lady, the island's priestess. But there were whispers, as she grew, of another self: of the Lady's rejected first daughter, born imperfect with two extra thumbs. The silent girl looks at the scars on her wrists and wonders, but she has more pressing concerns. The villagers blame her bad luck for the tribute the Bull King now demands of them: two youths given each spring to dance with his bulls and die for his god's glory. And the servants hate and fear the unnatural way the animals all come to her. For Aissa, though, this bond with creatures of fur and scale is the first clue in finding the true self that no one else can give to her, or take away.

Wendy Orr, the author of Nim's Island, introduces a resourceful and resilient heroine for slightly older readers. Inspired by an archeological trip to the island of Crete, where frescoes show figures leaping over the backs of bulls, Orr weaves an intriguing mythological portrayal of the Bronze Age Minoan civilization. Lyrically written and refreshingly unpredictable, Dragonfly Song suggests a fascinating origin for the legend of the Minotaur and his dark tribute.

Reviews
"Orr tells her tale in both narrative poetry and prose for an effect that is both fanciful and urgent, drawing a rich fantasy landscape filled with people and creatures worthy of knowing. An introductory note describes Orr's inspiration in the legend of the Minotaur, but her story is no retelling but a meditation on rejection and acceptance, on determination and self-determination. The shifts between poetry and prose build tension just as surely as the bull dances do. As mesmerizing as a mermaid's kiss, the story dances with emotion, fire, and promise."—Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

"The Bronze Age setting makes for a unique backdrop, and Aissa is a sympathetic character. Her struggles are heartrending, and made more so by the lyrical storytelling style. The descriptions of the dances are especially vivid. VERDICT: Hand-sell this unusual tale to fans of Shannon Hale's historical fantasies."—School Library Journal

"A retelling of the legend of the Minotaur, Orr tells Aissa's tale in a lyrical mix of narrative poetry and prose, using lush, vivid language to create an unparalleled fantasy world full of life and lively characters. While young readers with a special interest in history will immediately be drawn into this meticulously researched, literary story, its fast-paced, adventurous, epic feel will undoubtedly appeal to all readers."—Booklist

"The narrative style shifts between straightforward, lyrical prose and imagistic free-verse poetry, a technique that infuses the story with a dreamlike atmosphere. Both forms advance the action, but the poetry enhances the sense of intimacy by focusing attention on Aissa's impressionistic views of the world and her sense of isolation among the people who fear, bully, and reject her. Her ultimate triumph is credibly compromised, making this an unusually thoughtful offering in the middle-school mythology genre."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"[A] work of beauty. From the stunning cover to the mythological imagery and lyrical prose, readers are drawn in and carried along on an intense ride....Orr's language is gripping and enchanting, and Dragonfly Song would make a perfect read-aloud chapter book for middle grade teachers. While the academic cross-curricular subject areas are obvious, including history, mythology, religion, spirituality, even bullying, I enjoyed this story simply as a pleasure read. Readers will find that Dragonfly Song and its fearless heroine will stick with them long after the final chapter. Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"Dragonfly Song is an impressive work of middle-grade historical fiction. Aissa is a brave, tenacious girl, who rebels against the constraints of her life without appearing anachronistic. There isn't a lot of young people's fiction set in the Bronze Age, and the details here are lovingly researched, creating a transportive world. Especially noteworthy is the representation of religion in a pre-Christian setting, as the book explores both its beauty and brutality."—Quill & Quire

"[Dragonfly Song] was very original and creative....I also like that the book was partially written in poetry and partially written in prose. Books are usually one or the other, so I like how the author wove them together. I love how this story was very detailed, as I could picture almost everything. Overall, Dragonfly Song was an amazing book."—Farrah, Age 11, Kids' BookBuzz

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 10-14

Additional Information
408 pages | 5.50" x 7.80"

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$19.95

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Swallow's Dance
Authors:
Wendy Orr
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home--and her family--in pieces. And the earth goddess hasn't finished with the island yet.

With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire world into darkness. After the resulting tsunami, society descends into chaos; the status and privilege of being noble-born are reduced to nothing. With her injured mother and elderly nurse, Leira must find the strength and resourcefulness within herself to find safety.

A thrilling new Bronze Age survival story from the award-winning author of Dragonfly Song and Nim's Island.

Reviews
"[Orr's] mixture of prose and free verse to tell Leira's story is lyrical and magnetic—and devastating. Not for readers searching for a simple or happy journey, this is a beautiful song of a book that shows that life isn't always fair, but change is always constant."—Kirkus Reviews

"Leira's lyrical first-person narrative advances the story along beautifully with a fitting sense of urgency, and free-verse songs clue readers in to her emotional development. Immersive historical fiction."—Booklist Starred Review

"Some chapters written in verse make the more emotional plotlines sing. An eye-opening look at how difficult it is when one's status changes in life, and how attitude can shape outcome. VERDICT: Beautiful writing and a fast-moving plot will give young historical fiction fans much to love."—School Library Journal

"Leira's protracted fall from grace is effectively punctuated by seamless narrative shifts among prose, verse, and song, which fans of Orr's Dragonfly Song will recognize. What she endures—the uncertainty of her family's fate and becoming a servant herself—makes for a gripping exploration of privilege during her journey toward womanhood."—Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

"Swallow's Dance is a sweeping tale of courage, fortitude, hardship and perseverance against all odds. It is also a coming of age story, an intimate glimpse into the life of a young girl adjusting to puberty at a time when her family, friendships and her understanding of her place in the world are brutally torn apart. Wendy Orr has crafted a sympathetic, memorable heroine whose struggles and challenges transcend time from the Bronze Age to modern day....While suitable for middle-grade students and a wonderful introduction to mythology and discussions surrounding puberty, spirituality, class, mental health, death and disaster, Swallow's Dance is one of those rare books that is also just a great story, an epic tale for all ages. Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"Top notch historical fiction for those who like it ancient!... The scenes of devastation – earthquake in Santorini, tsunami in Crete – are riveting to experience through the lens of a survivor."—Youth Services Book Review

"Orr's attention to character development is extremely well done....Swallow's Dance could be used in conjunction with the grades-five-to-eight Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum and would be great to teach students how to incorporate symbolism and imagery through free verse and poetry. In addition, Swallow's Dance could also be used to teach students about family, culture, history and the importance of the role of women in society. A fantastic novel to use as a read-aloud or novel study!"—Canadian Children's Book News

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 10-14

Themes/Subjects: Legends, Myths, Fables - Greek & Roman / Historical - Ancient Civilizations / Action & Adventure - Survival Stories / Coming of Age.

Additional Information
288 pages | 5.50" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$19.95

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Ghosts: The Reckoner, Book 3
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Cole Harper is dead. Reynold McCabe is alive and free. Mihko Laboratories has reopened the research facility and works to manufacture and weaponize the illness that previously plagued Wounded Sky. People are dying. The community has been quarantined. And time is running out. What deal did Eva strike with Choch? Who will defeat Reynold and Mihko?

Educator & Series Information
Ghosts is the final novel in David A. Robertson's The Reckoner trilogy. 

Recommended Ages: 12-18

Additional Information
230 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

Coming Soon
Nunavummi Reading Series: Joannie and the Vikings
Authors:
Alan Neal
Artists:
Amanda Sandland
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Grade Levels: 3; 4; 5;

While digging for clams, Joannie finds a strange artifact made of whale bone. Suddenly, he finds himself transported a thousand years in the past, when Vikings visited Nunavut!

This time-travel story will introduce readers to the science fiction genre and teach them about ancient Northern history.

Educator Information 
This book is part of the Nunavummi Reading Series, a Nunavut-developed series that supports literacy learning while teaching readers about the people, traditions, and environment of the Canadian Arctic.  It is a Level 16 book in the series. 

Nunavummi Reading Series books have also been officially levelled using the Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient™ Levelling System. This book's F&P Level is V.

Curriculum Connections: Language and literacy; Diversity; Indigenous Perspectives; Roles and responsibilities; History; Heritage.

Recommended for ages 8-10.

Additional Information 
40 pages | 6.00" x 8.00"

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$12.95

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Monsters: The Reckoner, Book 2
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Cole Harper is struggling to settle into life in Wounded Sky First Nation. He may have stopped a serial killer but the trouble is far from over. A creature lurks in the shadows of Blackwood Forest, the health clinic is on lockdown by a mysterious organization, and long-held secrets threaten to bubble to the surface. Can Cole learn the truth about his father's death? Why won't Choch give him a straight answer? Where the heck is Jayne? Oh, and high school sucks.

Reviews
"Cole, 17, is an interesting main character caught in a web of deception and surrounded by threatening people and circumstances. One of the main themes of the book is Cole’s mental health and his need to deal with sometimes crippling anxiety. There are times he can talk himself down, times he needs medication and times that the support from his friends help him cope. Robertson speaks from personal experience, and so his portrayal of Cole is filled with realism as well as understanding and empathy." — Ann Ketcheson, CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"The ending...is so unexpected that readers will eagerly anticipate a third volume. A satisfying continuation of a moody, stylish series." — Kirkus Reviews

"Robertson’s knack for writing distinct teenage voices also provides important character development — a tough requirement for the middle volume of any trilogy, in which plot resolution is usually minimal. The dialogue between Cole and his friends also uncovers the different ways in which folks grieve both those they’ve lost and the culture they’ve left behind. "— Nyala Ali, Winnipeg Free Press

Educator & Series Information
Monsters is the second novel in David A. Robertson's The Reckoner trilogy. It is the follow-up to Strangers.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 9-12 English Language Arts.

Additional Information
260 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Strangers: The Reckoner, Book 1
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

When Cole Harper is compelled to return to Wounded Sky First Nation, he finds his community in chaos: a series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and reemerging questions about Cole’s role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago. With the aid of an unhelpful spirit, a disfigured ghost, and his two oldest friends, Cole tries to figure out his purpose, and unravel the mysteries he left behind a decade ago. Will he find the answers in time to save his community?

Reviews
"Within the very opening pages of Strangers, Cole Harper had already burrowed his way deep into my heart. I raced through the chapters, fearing for this young hero, his friends, and his wider community. David Robertson has written a riveting story of a young man burdened with adult responsibilities. Robertson’s true skill, though, comes in the way he balances the intense peril with humour and magic and love and resilience. Teachers, get this novel into your classrooms. I want everyone to read Strangers." — Angie Abdou, author of In Case I Go 

 
"Strangers has it all - vivid and imaginatively crafted characters, a propulsive and energetic plot, brilliant dialogue, and a series of mysteries that make us think in a new way about the world we inhabit. The story skillfully unfolds, and the characters - the spirit beings and the human ones - are utterly convincing. This book is a page-turner and lingers in the memory. Strangers will resonate with and enthrall everyone, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers." —Warren Cariou, Canada Research Chair and Director, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba

Educator & Series Information
Strangers is the first novel in The Reckoner trilogy.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 9-12 English Language Arts.

Additional Information
233 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Those Who Run in the Sky
Artists:
Toma Feizo Gas
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

This teen novel, written by Iqaluit-based Inuit author Aviaq Johnston, is a coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu as he learns to use his powers and ultimately finds himself lost in the world of the spirits. After a strange and violent blizzard leaves Pitu stranded on the sea ice, without his dog team or any weapons to defend himself, he soon realizes that he is no longer in the world that he once knew. The storm has carried him into the world of the spirits, a world populated with terrifying creatures---black wolves with red eyes, ravenous and constantly stalking him; water-dwelling creatures that want nothing more than to snatch him and pull him into the frigid ocean through an ice crack. As well as beings less frightening, but equally as incredible, such as a lone giant who can carry Pitu in the palm of her hand and keeps caribou and polar bears as pets. After stumbling upon a fellow shaman who has been trapped in the spirit world for many years, Pitu must master all of his shamanic powers to make his way back to the world of the living, to his family, and to the girl that he loves.

Award

  • 2018 Winner of Indigenous Voices Award for Most Significant Work of Prose in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer.
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Authentic Indigenous Text
$13.95

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Billy Buckhorn: Supranormal
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cherokee;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Billy Buckhorn's uncanny intuition became apparent at an early age. In the course of this exciting series, Billy's supernatural abilities grow and develop, and his reputation as a gifted "holy man" in the Old Way spreads throughout the Cherokee Nation. In book 3, Supranormal, Billy and his grandfather Wesley face a deadly, ancient beast that's poised to take control of the world. While Wesley and Billy summon aid from the spirit realms, Billy's father, a college professor, puts together an archaeological team to help out - and to document the unprecedented things they've seen and experienced. But even with everyone pulling together, can they stop Uktena?

Series Information
This novel is part of the Billy Buckhorn series, which is part of the PathFinder series. The PathFinders series of Hi-Lo (high interest, low readability) novels offers the following features: 

• Indigenous teen protagonists
• Age appropriate plots
• 2.5 – 4.5 Reading Level
• Contemporary and historical fiction
• Indigenous authors

The PathFinders series is from an American publisher. Therefore, Indigenous terminology in the PathFinders books is not the same as Canadian Indigenous terminology. This prompts a useful teaching moment for educators in discussing appropriate terminology use in Canada.  The recommended ages for books in the PathFinders series are 12-16.

Additional Information
128 pages | 4.50" x 7.00"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$11.95

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Bigfoot Boy: The Sound of Thunder
Authors:
J. Torres
Artists:
Faith Erin Hicks
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous;
Grade Levels: 4;

This conclusion to the Bigfoot Boy graphic novel trilogy adds a backdrop of Pacific Northwest mythology to the popular story about an ordinary boy who becomes a hero through the power of magic. As the book begins, Rufus, Penny and their squirrel friend, Sidney, are eager to recapture the magic totem they lost to the ravens in the previous book. But how? With Rufus no longer in possession of his powers, the trio seems destined to fail. Their luck turns, however, when they learn the local legend of Thunderbird. It seems the mighty bird had created the magic totem decades earlier to be used to ward off developers who wanted to destroy the precious Pacific Northwest forest. Developers who were much like the ones cutting down their trees today! Empowered with a newfound purpose to protect the woods, they finally know just what they have to do to save the day --- and the trees! 

J. Torres has crafted a fast-paced adventure with snappy dialogue, touches of humor and plenty of plot twists. Illustrations by Faith Erin Hicks are energetic and lush, with many panels per page to keep young eyes moving along. This book is an excellent choice to expose reluctant readers to literary devices such as plot and character development, the importance of dialogue and folklore. It could also provide a terrific jumping-off point for discussions about the environment, as well as the concept of civic engagement and making a difference in your community.

Educator and Series Information
This graphic novel is part of the Bigfoot Boy series.

Themes/Key Ideas: animals, protests, environmental issues, friendship, magic, bravery, determination, Indigenous Peoples, forest conservation, 

Additional Information
100 pages | 6.50" x 8.50"

 
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$10.95

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Billy Buckhorn: Paranormal
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cherokee;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11;

In this second installment in the series, Billy and his friend Chigger continue their adventures in a hidden cave. After a horrifying accident at the cave, Billy is pronounced clinically dead on an operating table. After being revived, he discovers an ability to see and speak with the spirits of the dead including his deceased Cherokee grandmother. When Chigger becomes possessed by an alien creature, Billy knows he must return to the cave to save his friend. What he doesn’t know is that the Horned Serpent known to the Cherokees as Uktena is lying in wait.

Ages: 12 to 16 / Reading level: 4.5

Series Information
This novel is part of the Billy Buckhorn series, which is part of the PathFinder series. The PathFinders series of Hi-Lo (high interest, low readability) novels offers the following features: 

• Indigenous teen protagonists
• Age appropriate plots
• 2.5 – 4.5 Reading Level
• Contemporary and historical fiction
• Indigenous authors

The PathFinders series is from an American publisher. Therefore, Indigenous terminology in the PathFinders books is not the same as Canadian Indigenous terminology. This prompts a useful teaching moment for educators in discussing appropriate terminology use in Canada.  The recommended ages for books in the PathFinders series are 12-16.

Additional Information
120 pages | 4.50" x 7.00"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

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Billy Buckhorn: Abnormal
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Cherokee;
Grade Levels: 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11;

Book one of the Billy Buckhorn series introduces a Cherokee teen who uses his supernatural abilities to solve mysteries. In Abnormal, Billy is struck by lightning while fishing with his friend Chigger. He survives the lightning strike but begins to experience an enhanced level of ESP. Billy is labeled "abnormal" by one of his teachers after he uncovers an unsavory secret from the teacher's past. What no one suspects is the teacher is a shape-shifter who becomes a raven that gains strength from his victims' fear. When Billy confronts the teacher, he must channel his own fear into anger in order to defeat the evil raven.

Series Information
This novel is part of the Billy Buckhorn series, which is part of the PathFinder series. The PathFinders series of Hi-Lo (high interest, low readability) novels offers the following features: 

• Indigenous teen protagonists
• Age appropriate plots
• 2.5 – 4.5 Reading Level
• Contemporary and historical fiction
• Indigenous authors

The PathFinders series is from an American publisher. Therefore, Indigenous terminology in the PathFinders books is not the same as Canadian Indigenous terminology. This prompts a useful teaching moment for educators in discussing appropriate terminology use in Canada.  The recommended ages for books in the PathFinders series are 12-16.

Additional Information
172 pages | 4.50" x 7.00"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

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Broken Circle (Dinsdale)
Authors:
Christopher Dinsdale
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7;

Angry at missing a week of summer video game entertainment, Jesse, a twelve year-old boy of European/Native American descent, grudgingly follows through with his deceased father's request that he join his Uncle Matthew and cousin Jason at Six Island's, on Georgian Bay, for a special camping trip. Uncle Matthew explains that Jesse's father wanted Jason's vision quest to be his introduction to their native culture. During their first night around the campfire, it is Jesse who has a vision, and the adventure begins. Not only is he swept back in time four hundred years but he is transformed into a majestic white-tailed deer. He must now survive the expert hunting skills of his ancestors while somehow rescuing his people before they are destroyed by warfare.

Additional Information
104 pages | 5.12" x 7.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
$8.95

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