Grades 11-12: What Creates Family?

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Resources for Grades 11-12: What Creates Family?


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"

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$19.95

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Motorcycles and Sweetgrass
Authors:
Drew Hayden Taylor
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;

A story of magic, family, a mysterious stranger . . . and a band of marauding raccoons.

Otter Lake is a sleepy Anishnawbe community where little happens. Until the day a handsome stranger pulls up astride a 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle – and turns Otter Lake completely upside down. Maggie, the Reserve’s chief, is swept off her feet, but Virgil, her teenage son, is less than enchanted. Suspicious of the stranger’s intentions, he teams up with his uncle Wayne – a master of aboriginal martial arts – to drive the stranger from the Reserve. And it turns out that the raccoons are willing to lend a hand.

Reviews
“A near-perfect debut, a masterful mythic-comedy balancing contemporary issues and realities with magic and history. . . . Motorcycles & Sweetgrass is a trickster story, but it’s also a fundamentally human account of individuals and of a people struggling to find a place for themselves in the world. . . . A broad, bawdy, raucous, deeply felt and utterly involving narrative, a genuine pleasure to read. . . . Motorcycles & Sweetgrass positively crackles with life, love and magic. What more can you ask of a book?”  — Robert J. Wiersema, Edmonton Journal

“Drew Hayden Taylor’s got no qualms about poking fun at his Native roots, and that’s what makes Motorcycles & Sweetgrass such a pleasure. It’s playful yet soulful, with a narrative that keeps those pages turning. . . . A fun, rollicking book, and Taylor’s voice is fresh and unique.” — NOW (Toronto)

“Taylor brings a modern twist to ancient native folklore. Motorcycles & Sweetgrass is a charming story about the importance of balance and belief—and a little bit of magic—in everyone’s life.”— Quill & Quire

“If the great Ojibway trickster Nanabush wrote fiction, I imagine he’d write just like Drew Hayden Taylor. You will find much sadness just below the laughs, and sly humour masked by sorrow. A wisdom exists in these pages that only comes from someone who writes from his heart.” — Joseph Boyden

“Fast-paced, uproariously funny and genuinely thrilling. Drew Hayden Taylor is one of Canada’s finest and funniest writers.”— Ian Ferguson, author of Village of the Small Houses

“Funny, heartfelt, hopeful and illuminating. Motorcycles & Sweetgrass made me laugh and made me think, sometimes in the same sentence. Drew Hayden Taylor is a master storyteller.”— Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans

“Drew Hayden Taylor has woven an epic tale of magic, mystery and charm for the world to discover in Motorcycles & Sweetgrass. This is a novel to savor. A complete delight!” — Richard Van Camp, author of The Moon of Letting Go and The Lesser Blessed

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit What Creates Family?

Additional Information
368 pages | 5.37" x 7.97"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$22.00

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Nobody Cries at Bingo
Authors:
Dawn Dumont
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree; Saulteaux;

In Nobody Cries At Bingo, the narrator, Dawn, invites the reader to witness first hand Dumont family life on the Okanese First Nation. Beyond the sterotypes and clichés of Rez dogs, drinking, and bingos, the story of a girl who loved to read begins to unfold. It is her hopes, dreams, and indomitable humour that lay bear the beauty and love within her family. It is her unerring eye that reveals the great bond of family expressed in the actions and affections of her sisters, aunties, uncles, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, and ultimately her ancestors.

It’s all here — life on the Rez in rich technicolour — as Dawn emerges from home life, through school life, and into the promise of a great future. Nobody Cries At Bingo embraces cultural differences and does it with the great traditional medicine of laughter.

Educator Information
Young adult fiction.

Recommended English First Peoples resource for grades 11-12 in the unit What Creates Family.

Additional Information
136 pages | 5.48" x 8.48"

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$15.95

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Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth
Authors:
Drew Hayden Taylor
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth is the emotional story of a woman’s struggle to acknowledge her birth family. Grace, a Native girl adopted by a White family, is asked by her birth sister to return to the Reserve for their mother’s funeral. Afraid of opening old wounds, Grace must find a place where the culture of her past can feed the truth of her present. Cast  of 2 women and 2 men.

Reviews
“…this play is a very tender, engaging look at two strangers learning to be sisters…witty one-liners and snappy dialogue has crafted likeable, real characters…brings a satisfying sense of closure to the struggles of Barb and Janice/Grace. It is a welcome ending, one that reflects hope for the future – not only for these two sisters , but also for all the others who have yet to find their way home.” - Cheryl Isaacs, Aboriginal Voices.

Awards

  • James Buller Award for Playwright of the Year, 1997
  • Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, Small Theatre Division, 1996.

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the units Yes, there is Funny Stuff - Humour in First Peoples Literature and What Creates Family?

Additional Information
112 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$22.00

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Son of a Trickster (PB)
Authors:
Eden Robinson
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize: With striking originality and precision, Eden Robinson, the author of the classic Monkey Beach and winner of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Fellowship, blends humour with heartbreak in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existence meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics, and cannibalistic river otters...The exciting first novel in her trickster trilogy.

Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead.

Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don't.

Reviews
“Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster is a novel that shimmers with magic and vitality, featuring a compelling narrator, somewhere between Holden Caulfield and Harry Potter. Just when you think Jared’s teenage journey couldn’t be more grounded in gritty, grinding reality, his addled perceptions take us into a realm beyond his small-town life, somewhere both seductive and dangerous. Energetic, often darkly funny, sometimes poignant, this is a book that will resonate long after the reader has devoured the final page.” —2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury (André Alexis, Anita Rau Badami, Lynn Coady, and Richard Beard)

Educator & Series Information
This is the second book in Eden Robinson's Trickster Trilogy.

Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit What Creates Family. 

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

Additional Information
336 pages | 5.20" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$21.00

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The Break
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;

When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break — a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house — she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim — police, family, and friends — tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Métis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg’s North End is exposed.

A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.

Awards

  • 2017 Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Literature Winner
  • Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction Winner
  • McNally Robison Book of the Year Winner
  • Amazon.ca First Novel Award 

Reviews
“Vermette is a staggering talent. Reading The Break is like a revelation; stunning, heartbreaking and glorious. From her exquisitely rendered characters to her fully realized world and the ratcheting tension, I couldn’t put it down. Absolutely riveting.” — Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach

“In Vermette’s poetic prose, The Break offers a stark portrayal of the adversity that plagues First Nations women in this country — and the strength that helps them survive.” — Toronto Star

The Break doesn’t read like an impressive first novel; it reads like a masterstroke from someone who knows what they’re doing . . . Vermette is skilled at writing with a language that is conversational and comfortable and with a poetic ease that makes the hard things easier to swallow. The result is a book that is at times emotionally demanding, funny, suspenseful, and always engaging.”—The Winnipeg Review

“This is a debut novel by the Governor General's Literary Award-winning Métis poet Katherena Vermette. The story takes place in Winnipeg's North End. And it starts when Stella thinks she sees a violent assault taking place in a barren strip of land outside her window, known as The Break. Turns out, she is right. In fact, there is a threat of violence that hovers over all the women in the story, three generations of them, and the story is told in many voices. Katherena writes with empathy and understanding about people who are living with the pain of intergenerational trauma. The Winnipeg winter she evokes is cold and cruel. But there is such love, loyalty and support in this story. If you enjoy a gripping family saga, I would recommend The Break.” — Shelagh Rogers, CBC The Next Chapter

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit What Creates Family?

Note: This novel contains mature and challenging content, such as incidents of drug use, rape, and, violence.

Additional Information
288 pages | 5.25" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
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$22.95

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The Lesser Blessed
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: T???ch? (Dogrib);

A powerful coming-of-age story -- edgy, stark, and at times, darkly funny that centers around Larry, a Native teenager trying to cope with a painful past and find his place in a confusing and stressful modern world.

Larry is a Dogrib Indian growing up in the small northern town of Fort Simmer. His tongue, his hallucinations and his fantasies are hotter than the centre of the sun. At sixteen, he loves Iron Maiden, the North and Juliet Hope, the high school tramp.

In this powerful and very funny first novel, Richard Van Camp gives us one of the most original teenage characters in Canadian fiction. Skinny as spaghetti, nervy and self-deprecating, Larry is an appealing mixture of bravado and vulnerability. His past holds many terrors: an abusive father, blackouts from sniffing gasoline, an accident that killed several of his cousins, and he's now being hunted and haunted by a pack of blue monkeys. But through his new friendship with Johnny, a Metis who just moved to town, he's now ready to face his memories and his future.

The Lesser Blessed is an eye-opening depiction of what it is to be a young Dogrib man in the age of AIDS, disillusionment with Catholicism and a growing world consciousness.

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit What Creates Family?

Note: This novel contains mature content, such as depictions of violence and incidents of drug and alcohol use).

Additional Information
128 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
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$19.95

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The Marrow Thieves
Authors:
Cherie Dimaline
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Awards

  • Winner of 2017 Governor General's Literary Award
  • Winner of 2017 Kirkus Prize
  • Winner of the 2018 Burt Literary Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Young Adult Literature.  

Reviews
“Miigwans is a true hero; in him Dimaline creates a character of tremendous emotional depth and tenderness, connecting readers with the complexity and compassion of Indigenous people. A dystopian world that is all too real and that has much to say about our own.”— Kirkus Reviews

"There's a quality in Dimaline's writing that reached from the page, into my being ... That's a specific reference to the residential schools of the past, where so much was taken from Native children. It is one of many points in The Marrow Thieves where - painfully or with exquisite beauty - Dimaline's story resonates with me. It will resonate with other Native readers, too, especially those who are Anishinabe. Several tribal nations are mentioned in here, too ... There's so much more to say ... about Miggs and Isaac, about Ri, about Minerva, about French. But I'll stop and let you be with these achingly dear characters. I highly recommend The Marrow Thieves." — Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"In The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline creates a near-future world which distinctly echoes our own, current and past traumas that have come back to repeat themselves, fiction with a basis in reality that gives the narrative a sheen of hard truths, following the trials and tribulations of a relatable cast of characters and their struggles to survive, and live their lives with the love and safety denied to them. The high-stakes tension of each scene pulls the reader along through the story, with a core message about our dreams and culture, which despite losses, has the potential to heal, and the power to restore." — Trillium Book Award Jury Citation, June 2018

"[The Marrow Thieves] brilliantly connects the legacy of residential schools to a dystopian post-climate-change future where only Indigenous people are able to dream. Dimaline’s novel reminds us of the power of storytelling and the importance of community, reinforced for the disenfranchised children by the wisdom of the heroic elder, Miigwans. The writing is painful yet beautiful, bleak but ultimately hopeful. In this era of reconciliation, Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves is a work of speculative fiction that resonates and stays with the reader long past the last page." — Sunburst Award Jury Citation, October 2018

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 13+ 

Recommended English First Peoples resource for grades 11-12.

Additional Information
180 pages | 5.00" x 8.00"

 

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$14.95

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