Grade 10: Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers

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Resources for Grade 10: Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers.


April Raintree
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis; Métis;

Very few of us have a proper understanding of the tragic and painful circumstances of native life in urban Canada. A truly black mark on the record of the Canadian government and Canadian society as a whole, these problems are dealt with by the astute and truthful writing of Beatrice Culleton. April Raintree is a work of autobiographical fiction that not only brings the reader into a genuine and difficult aspect of urban life, but also reveals Culleton`s significant talents.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 9-12.  This version of the novel was written specifically for students in grades 9-12 and does not contain the graphic scene that is contained in the original version, In Search of April Raintree.

Grades 10-12 English First Peoples resource.

Additional Information
196 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.00

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Medicine Walk (Wagamese) PB
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;

By the celebrated author of Canada Reads Finalist Indian Horse, a stunning new novel that has all the timeless qualities of a classic, as it tells the universal story of a father/son struggle in a fresh, utterly memorable way, set in dramatic landscape of the BC Interior. For male and female readers equally, for readers of Joseph Boyden, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas King, Russell Banks and general literary.

Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He's sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they've shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son's duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner.

What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon's end. From a poverty-stricken childhood, to the Korean War, and later the derelict houses of mill towns, Eldon relates both the desolate moments of his life and a time of redemption and love and in doing so offers Frank a history he has never known, the father he has never had, and a connection to himself he never expected.

A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion.

Wagamese's writing soars and his insight and compassion are matched by his gift of communicating these to the reader.

Reviews
"A masterpiece, a work of art that explores human interconnectedness with a level of artistry so superb that the personal becomes eternal."— National Post

"Wagamese balances the novel's spiritual and political subtexts with sly humour, sharp, believable dialogue and superb storytelling skills. Medicine Walk is a major accomplishment from an author who has become one of Canada's best novelists."—Toronto Star

This is very much a novel about the role of stories in our lives, those we tell ourselves about ourselves and those we agree to live by.... Medicine Walk is also testament to the redemptive power of love and compassion."—The Globe and Mail

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource for units on Childhood, Place-Conscious Learning, and Family.

Additional Information
256 pages | 5.21" x 7.99"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Monkey Beach
Authors:
Eden Robinson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Haisla;

Eden Robinson's first book, a collection of stories titled Traplines, earned high praise from critics: "Expertly rendered" (New York Times Book Review), and "Captured my attention and permeated my subconscious" (Toronto Globe and Mail). The book was named a New York Times Notable and won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize from the Royal Society of Literature.
Robinson''s mastery is confirmed in Monkey Beach, the first full-length work of fiction by a Haisla writer and an unforgettable story set in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. This powerful novel reminds us that places, as much as people, have stories to tell.

Five hundred miles north of Vancouver is Kitamaat, an Indian reservation in the homeland of the Haisla people. Growing up a tough, wild tomboy, swimming, fighting, and fishing in a remote village where the land slips into the green ocean on the edge of the world, Lisamarie has always been different. Visited by ghosts and shapeshifters, tormented by premonitions, she can''t escape the sense that something terrible is waiting for her. She recounts her enchanted yet scarred life as she journeys in her speedboat up the frigid waters of the Douglas Channel. She is searching for her brother, dead by drowning, and in her own way running as fast as she can toward danger.

Circling her brother''s tragic death are the remarkable characters that make up her family: Lisamarie''s parents, struggling to join their Haisla heritage with Western ways; Uncle Mick, a Native rights activist and devoted Elvis fan; and the headstrong Ma-ma-oo (Haisla for "grandmother"), a guardian of tradition.

Haunting, funny, and vividly poignant, Monkey Beach gives full scope to Robinson''s startling ability to make bedfellows of comedy and the dark underside of life. Informed as much by its lush living wilderness as by the humanity of its colorful characters, Monkey Beach is a profoundly moving story about childhood and the pain of growing older--a multilayered tale of family grief and redemption.

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples resource.

Note: This novel contains mature subject matter such as drug use and depictions of sex and violence.

Additional Information
384 pages | 5.14" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$21.00

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Secret Path
Authors:
Jeff Lemire
Gord Downie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Secret Path is a ten song album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids—more than anyone will be able to imagine—he tried.

Chanie’s story is Canada’s story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable. Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.

The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him—as we find out about ourselves, about all of us—but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, “Canada.”

Proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba.

Educator Information
Recommended resource for English First Peoples grades 10-11 for units on Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers and First Steps - Exploring Residential School and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.

Note: This resource is not considered an authentic First Peoples resource.

Additional Information
96 pages | 12.00" x 12.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$26.99

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Shi-shi-etko
Artists:
Kim LaFave
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

In just four days young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave her family and all that she knows to attend residential school.

She spends her last days at home treasuring the beauty of her world -- the dancing sunlight, the tall grass, each shiny rock, the tadpoles in the creek, her grandfather's paddle song. Her mother, father and grandmother, each in turn, share valuable teachings that they want her to remember. And so Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers her memories for safekeeping.

Richly hued illustrations complement this gently moving and poetic account of a child who finds solace all around her, even though she is on the verge of great loss -- a loss that native people have endured for generations because of the residential schools system.

This gentle story of a child on the verge of great loss was selected as the Aboriginal Children’s Book of the Year.

Awards

  • Winner of the Anskohk Aboriginal Children's Book of the Year Award. 

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 2-10.

Recommended Authentic First Peoples resource K-9.

This illustrated children's story is recommended for English First Peoples Grades 10 for units pertaining to childhood through Indigenous writers' eyes and the exploration of residential schools and reconciliation through children's literature.

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.50" x 8.13" 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

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Shin-chi's Canoe
Artists:
Kim LaFave
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

This moving sequel to the award-winning Shi-shi-etko tells the story of two children's experience at residential school. Shi-shi-etko is about to return for her second year, but this time her six-year-old brother, Shin-chi, is going, too. As they begin their journey in the back of a cattle truck, Shi-shi-etko takes it upon herself to tell her little brother all the things he must remember: the trees, the mountains, the rivers and the tug of the salmon when he and his dad pull in the fishing nets. Shin-chi knows he won't see his family again until the sockeye salmon return in the summertime.

When they arrive at school, Shi-shi-etko gives him a tiny cedar canoe, a gift from their father. The children's time is filled with going to mass, school for half the day, and work the other half. The girls cook, clean and sew, while the boys work in the fields, in the woodshop and at the forge. Shin-chi is forever hungry and lonely, but, finally, the salmon swim up the river and the children return home for a joyful family reunion.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 2-10.

Recommended Authentic First Peoples K-9 resource.

This illustrated children's story is recommended for English First Peoples Grades 10 for units pertaining to childhood through Indigenous writers' eyes and the exploration of residential schools and reconciliation through children's literature.

Additional Information
40 pages | 8.50" x 8.13"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

Quantity:
Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story
Artists:
Scott B. Henderson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;

BASED ON A TRUE STORY!

A school assignment to interview a residential school survivor leads Daniel to Betsy, his friend's grandmother, who tells him her story. Abandoned as a young child, Betsy was soon adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changed. Betsy was taken away to a residential school. There she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalled the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls — words that gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive.

Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, Elder from Cross Lake First Nation. We wish to achnowledge, with the utmost gratitude, Betty's generosity in sharing her story.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sugar Falls goes to support the bursary program for The Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation.

Reviews
"With the 7 Generations series, David Robertson and Scott Henderson burst onto the Canadian graphic novel scene with beautiful storytelling, scenes of brutal honesty, and messages of truth. With Sugar Falls they do it again, narrating a graceful and unforgettable story of resilience and power." - Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba

"…does an excellent job of handing difficult material. It’s important for youth to understand the struggles that Aboriginal people have faced in order to survive and to read survival stories. This is based on a true story and the main character, Betsy, is definitely a role model. I would include this book in my classroom at the secondary level. Whether or not you choose to include this material depends on your own ability to navigate the policies in your district regarding difficult material in the classroom and your own comfort level…" - Starleigh Grass, Educator, South Interior, BC

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 9-12.

Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples Resource for various units.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Education has approved this resource for English Language Arts.

Additional Information
40 pages | 6.50" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.00

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Artists:
Ellen Forney
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Spokane;

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 7-12.

Resource for English First Peoples 10-12.

Note: This text has some mature language.

Additional Information
288 pages | 5.50" x 8.25"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$20.99

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The Debwe Series: Three Feathers
Artists:
K. Mateus
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Three young men—Flinch, Bryce, and Rupert—have vandalized their community and are sent by its Elders to live nine months on the land as part of the circle sentencing process. There, the young men learn to take responsibility for their actions and acquire the humility required to return home. But, when they do return, will they be forgiven for what they’ve done?

Three Feathers explores the power and grace of restorative justice in one Northern community and the cultural legacy that can empower future generations.

Three Feathers is the third title in The Debwe Series. Created in the spirit of the Anishinaabe concept debwe (to speak the truth), The Debwe Series is a collection of exceptional Aboriginal writings from across Canada.

Reviews
"Three Feathers is a graphic novel illustrated by stark, black and white images. Many of the frames have no captioning, inviting the reader to intuit the narrative. K. Mateus, the illustrator, makes imaginative use of Aboriginal symbols and motifs in this 48 page book; when Gabe is attacked, demonic figures shadow the background, and when Bryce rails at the members of the community sentencing circle, the image of an angry wildcat snarls behind him." - CM Magazine

Educator Information
Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples Resource for units on Childhood and Place-Conscious Learning.

Additional Information
48 pages | 6.50" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.95

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Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree; Lakota;

Tilly has always known she’s part Lakota on her dad’s side. She’s grown up with the traditional teachings of her grandma, relishing the life lessons of her beloved mentor. But it isn’t until an angry man shouts something on the street that Tilly realizes her mom is Aboriginal, too—a Cree woman taken from her own parents as a baby.

Tilly feels her mother’s pain deeply. She’s always had trouble fitting in at school, and when her grandma dies unexpectedly, her anchor is gone. Then Abby, a grade seven classmate, invites her home for lunch and offers her “something special” to drink. Nothing has prepared Tilly for the tingling in her legs, the buzz in her head and the awesome feeling that she can do anything. From then on, partying seems to offer an escape from her insecurities. But after one dangerously drunken evening, Tilly knows she has to change. Summoning her courage, she begins the long journey to finding pride in herself and her heritage. Just when she needs it most, a mysterious stranger offers some wise counsel: “Never question who you are or who your people are. It’s in your eyes. I know it’s in your heart.”

Loosely based on author Monique Gray Smith’s own life, this revealing, important work of creative non-fiction tells the story of a young Indigenous woman coming of age in Canada in the 1980s. With compassion, insight and humour, Gray Smith illuminates the 20th-century history of Canada’s First Peoples—forced displacement, residen­tial schools, tuberculosis hospitals, the Sixties Scoop. In a spirit of hope, this unique story captures the irrepressible resilience of Tilly, and of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Awards

  • 2014 Burt Award Winner

Reviews
“What a gorgeous read! Reminiscent of Lee Maracle’s Will’s Garden and Ruby Slipperjack’s Little Voice, Tilly will bring strength, comfort and peace to all who read it. Let it discover and inspire you, too. Wow! I've been waiting for a book like this for years. Mahsi cho, Monique Gray Smith, for digging so deep to create something so loving and nurturing for the world.” —Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed and The Moon of Letting Go

"Gray Smith intricately pieces together stories, traditional teachings and hard-earned personal wisdom, creating a hand-stitched quilt you can’t help but wrap yourself in—a quilt filled with optimism and the assurance that no matter how lost we are, hope, love and guidance surround us at every turn. Delicate with the handling of mature details, but fiercely candid with emotion, Tilly is an ideal resource not only for youth, but also for those who are easily triggered, while its universality will be appreciated by a wider audience. A brave new voice ready to take her place among the great contemporary storytellers, Gray Smith breaks her own trails as she explores what it means to be Indigenous in a modern world." —Christy Jordan-Fenton, author of Fatty Legs, A Stranger at Home and When I Was Eight

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 15-18.

Grades 10-12 English First Peoples resource for units on Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers and Exploring Text through Local Landscape.

Additional Information
208 pages | Ages 14+

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Where the Blood Mixes
Authors:
Kevin Loring
Format: Paperback

Irreverently funny and brutally honest Governor General's Award-winning play about loss and redemption. Cast of 2 women and 4 men.

 
Where the Blood Mixes is meant to expose the shadows below the surface of the author's First Nations heritage, and to celebrate its survivors. Though torn down years ago, the memories of their Residential School still live deep inside the hearts of those who spent their childhoods there. For some, like Floyd, the legacy of that trauma has been passed down through families for generations. But what is the greater story, what lies untold beneath Floyd's alcoholism, under the pain and isolation of the play's main character?
 
Loring's title was inspired by the mistranslation of the N'lakap'mux (Thompson) place name Kumsheen. For years, it was believed to mean "the place where the rivers meet"-the confluence of the muddy Fraser and the brilliant blue Thompson Rivers. A more accurate translation is: "the place inside the heart where the blood mixes." But Kumsheen also refers to a story: Coyote was disemboweled there, along a great cliff in an epic battle with a giant shape-shifting being that could transform the world with its powers-to this day his intestines can still be seen strewn along the granite walls. In his rage the transformer tore Coyote apart and scattered his body across the nation, his heart landing in the place where the rivers meet. Floyd is a man who has lost everyone he holds most dear. Now after more than two decades, his daughter Christine returns home to confront her father. Set during the salmon run, Where the Blood Mixes takes us to the bottom of the river, to the heart of a People. In 2009 Where the Blood Mixes won the Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Script; the Sydney J. Risk Prize for Outstanding Original Script by an Emerging Playwright; and most recently the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama.
 
Educator Information
Grades 10-12 English First Peoples resource for the units Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers and Further Steps toward Reconciliation. 
 
Additional Information
96 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"
Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.95

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