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2019 - 2020 Selections

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Fire Song
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12;

How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life?

Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David.

Things go from bad to worse as Shane’s dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone. Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.

With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane’s rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn’t always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.

Reviews
“Complex, vulnerable emotion is embedded within the specificity of the writing in this dramatic prose debut. Jones avoids clichés of reservation life, humanizing the stories of how his people reconcile the trauma of suicide, missing family members, same-sex relationships, and the isolation of a community left to fend for itself. A touching story that has been a long time coming for the Indigenous community.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This complex, well-written debut will resonate with young people . . . A great coming-out novel with Native American protagonists; recommended for all teen collections.”
Jill Baetiong, School Library Journal

“A powerful, challenging book that is full of deeply meaningful turns as it boldly encourages living life to the best of one’s abilities.”
Foreword Reviews

"A stunning debut. If you loved the movie Fire Song, get ready to swoon over this movie-to-novel adaptation. The tension, beauty, desperation, hunger for someone, hunger for yourself, a family at the crossroads and a highway that's calling--it's all here. Completely riveting. Completely compelling. Adam Garnet Jones, I would follow you and your characters anywhere. Bravo! A literary and unforgettable masterpiece."
Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed

Educator Information
Recommended for Ages 14+ / Grades 9+

Novel Themes: LGBTQ, family relationships, suicide, friendships, acceptance, sexuality, secrets, stereotyping, siblings, diversity, teens, multigenerational, Indigenous.

The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 for English Language Arts and Physical and Health Education.

Additional Information
232 pages | 5.50" x 8.25"

A hardcover copy of this book is also available on the Strong Nations website.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

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Moon of the Crusted Snow: A Novel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

A daring post-apocalyptic novel from a powerful rising literary voice.

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow. 

The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision. 

Blending action and allegory, Moon of the Crusted Snow upends our expectations. Out of catastrophe comes resilience. And as one society collapses, another is reborn.

Reviews
“This slow-burning thriller is also a powerful story of survival and will leave readers breathless.” — Publishers Weekly

"Rice seamlessly injects Anishinaabe language into the dialogue and creates a beautiful rendering of the natural world. . . This title will appeal to fans of literary science fiction akin to Cormac McCarthy as well as to readers looking for a fresh voice in indigenous fiction.” — Booklist

“Perfect for those who read Iain Reid's Foe this summer and are looking for something in the same vein.” — The Globe and Mail

“The creeping tension and vividly drawn landscapes make Waubgeshig Rice’s characters choices all the more real.” — Toronto Star

Moon of the Crusted Snow asks how do we live in a good way during the collapse of the infrastructure that supports modern life? For Evan Whitesky, the answer lies in rekindling Ojibwe, the old ways, language and culture. For other characters, when the food runs out, all options are on the table, no matter how gruesome. As the tensions between those surviving the end of modern civilization build to a harrowing conclusion, Rice deftly weaves tender family moments with his brutal survival scenes in the unforgiving northern Ontario winter. Chilling in the best way possible.” — Eden Robinson, award-winning author of Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster

Additional Information
224 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$17.95

In Re-Print
Otter's Journey through Indigenous Language and Law
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

Otter’s Journey employs the Anishinaabe tradition of storytelling to explore how Indigenous language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization. Indigenous languages and laws need bodies to live in. Learning an endangered language and a suppressed legal system are similar experiences. When we bring language back to life, it becomes a medium for developing human relationships. Likewise, when laws are written on people’s hearts, true revitalization has occurred.

Storytelling has the capacity to address feelings and demonstrate themes – to illuminate beyond argument and theoretical exposition. In Otter’s Journey, Lindsay Keegitah Borrows follows Otter, a dodem (clan) relation from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, on a journey across Anishinaabe, Inuit, Māori, Coast Salish, and Abenaki territories, through a narrative of Indigenous resurgence. While Otter’s Journey is guided by a literal truth, it also splices and recombines real-world events and characters.

Through her engaging protagonist, Borrows reveals that the processes, philosophies, and practices flowing from Indigenous languages and laws can emerge from under the layers of colonial laws, policies, and languages to become guiding principles in people’s contemporary lives. We need the best of all people’s teachings to lead us into the future.

Students and scholars in a wide range of subfields within Indigenous studies will find this book of considerable appeal, as will scholars and students of law, literature, education, and language studies, and those with an interest in Indigenous methodologies.

Reviews
"Otter’s Journey holds the potential to change the way people think about and, in turn, talk about Indigenous laws and Indigenous language acquisition and reacquisition ... The elemental way in which legal storytelling is embedded in the text makes Indigenous laws and language normative, not as things to be justified or even accommodated. Eloquent, poetic, and lyrical, this book marks a rare and even generational shift in the dialogue by and about Indigenous peoples." - Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie, and professor of law and University Research Chair in Indigenous Laws, Legal Orders and Traditions at the University of Ottawa


"Otter's Journey offers a vibrant account of the possibilities and importance of Indigenous language revitalization. Weaving oral narrative, prose fiction, and autobiography, Lindsay Borrows models a scholarly practice grounded in family, community, and storytelling. This is an important academic contribution – and also a new work of Indigenous literature by an emerging writer of considerable skill." - Keavy Martin, author of Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature, and associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta

Additional Information
236 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$32.95

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Tilly and the Crazy Eights
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

An unexpected journey can be powerful medicine.

When Tilly receives an invitation to help drive eight elders on their ultimate bucket list road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, she impulsively says yes. Before she knows it, Tilly has said goodbye to her family and is behind the wheel—ready to embark on an adventure that will transform her in ways she could not predict, just as it will for each and every one of the seniors on the trip, who soon dub themselves “the Crazy Eights.”

Tilly and the Crazy Eights each choose a stop to make along the way—somewhere they’ve always wanted to go or something they’ve wanted to experience. This takes them on a route to Las Vegas and Sedona, with a final goal of reaching the Redwood Forest. Each stop becomes the inspiration for secrets and stories to be revealed. The trip proves to be powerful medicine as they laugh, heal, argue, and reveal hopes and dreams along the way. With friendships forged, love found, hearts broken and mended, Tilly and the Crazy Eights feel ready for anything by the time their bus rolls to a stop in New Mexico. But are they?

Educator Information
This is a fictional novel for adults from the author of the groundbreaking children's books Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation and My Heart Fills with Happiness.

Reviews
"Tilly and the Crazy Eights, [is] a sequel of sorts to Smith’s first book [Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience].... In Smith’s first novel, Tilly was coming of age and into sobriety; now the reader finds her at mid-life, a married mother of two who’s at a crossroads. The opportunity to spend two weeks with Elders and receive the gifts of their teachings is the medicine she needs. Ideas of medicine recur throughout the text – laughter is medicine, and so are tears and words. For everyone, this will be a journey about healing..... Most powerfully, Smith infuses her novel with joy, love, and laughter and suggests that these could be what determine the future after all."— Quill & Quire, September 2018

Educator Information
The Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools list recommends this resource for Grades 10-12 English Language Arts.

Additional Information
230 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths delves into the life and the healing of an lnnininew woman from the ancestral lands of the Moshkekowok, now called Northern Ontario. It is through the process of writing broken poetry--visual poetry rooted in the haunting memories of her childhood--that she provides the reader a glimpse into the mind of child survivor who was saved by her ancestors. This thought provoking poetry sheds light on a personal account of how she comes to terms with intergenerational trauma inflicted by the residential school system.

To unearth our secrets means we must face our past, and in doing so, we will find our voice. Unearthing Secrets: Gathering Truths explores the heartfelt and evocative fragmented experiences through the eyes of an Indigenous woman. Through the honesty of her words, she embraces the spirit world, the resilience of her foremothers, the integral healing powers of disassociation as a survival mechanism, and the richness of her mitewin - dreams, which reconnects her to herself. Through her poetry, she has found the courage to face her difficult past, and now as a mother, she is gathering the truths of her family to help in the healing process.

Additional Information
97 pages | 6.50" x 10.00" | 8 illustrations

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.00

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