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Multicultural Books

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A Grain of Rice
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 6; 7; 8; 9;

Thirteen-year-old Yen and her family have survived a war, famine and persecution. When a flood ruins their village in rural Vietnam, they take the ultimate risk on a chance for a better life.

Reviews
"Tran-Davies does not shy away from the terrible realities of post-war Vietnam, including the poverty, corruption, and violence that affected its citizens. The events in this novel are based on history and will act as curriculum tie-in for middle school students. Yen is a well-written character, a strong young teen, struggling to understand the world around her. Ma speaks little, but much is learned by her actions. Much is included in this book including many secondary characters and the many political and social issues of the time.Highly Recommended."— CM Magazine

"A suspenseful action story. . . which gives insight into the events that still haunt Canada's Vietnamese population — and the struggles of refugees past and present".— Quill & Quire

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 11-14 (young adult fiction).

Additional Information
168 pages | 5.40" x 8.25"

Authentic Canadian Content
$12.95

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Ceremony
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Native American; Laguna;

More than thirty-five years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power.

Leslie Marmon Silko was born in 1948 to a family whose ancestry includes Mexican, Laguna Indian, and European forebears. She has said that her writing has at its core “the attempt to identify what it is to be a half-breed or mixed-blood person.” As she grew up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, she learned the stories and culture of the Laguna people from her great-grandmother and other female relatives. After receiving her B. A. in English at the University of New Mexico, she enrolled in the University of New Mexico law school but completed only three semesters before deciding that writing and storytelling, not law, were the means by which she could best promote justice. She married John Silko in 1970. Prior to the writing of Ceremony, she published a series of short stories, including “The Man to Send Rain Clouds.” She also authored a volume of poetry, Laguna Woman: Poems, for which she received the Pushcart Prize for Poetry.

In 1973, Silko moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where she wrote Ceremony. Initially conceived as a comic story abut a mother’s attempts to keep her son, a war veteran, away from alcohol, Ceremony gradually transformed into an intricate meditation on mental disturbance, despair, and the power of stories and traditional culture as the keys to self-awareness and, eventually, emotional healing. Having battled depression herself while composing her novel, Silko was later to call her book “a ceremony for staying sane.” Silko has followed the critical success of Ceremony with a series of other novels, including Storyteller, Almanac for the Dead, and Gardens in the Dunes. Nevertheless, it was the singular achievement of Ceremony that first secured her a place among the first rank of Native American novelists. Leslie Marmon Silko now lives on a ranch near Tucson, Arizona.
Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-one bestselling novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show. He lives in Texas.

Authentic Indigenous Text
$24.00

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Dragonfly Song
Authors:
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"

Authentic Canadian Content
$19.95

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Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Australian;

This extraordinary story of courage and faith is based on the actual experiences of three girls who fled from the repressive life of Moore River Native Settlement, following along the rabbit-proof fence back to their homelands. Assimilationist policy dictated that these girls be taken from their kin and their homes in order to be made white. Settlement life was unbearable with its chains and padlocks, barred windows, hard cold beds, and horrible food. Solitary confinement was doled out as regular punishment. The girls were not even allowed to speak their language. Of all the journeys made since white people set foot on Australian soil, the journey made by these girls born of Aboriginal mothers and white fathers speaks something to everyone.

Educator Information
Grades 11-12 English First Peoples Resource.

Additional Information
160 pages | 5.00" x 7.75"

Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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Girl of the Southern Sea
Authors:
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7;

For girls all over the world, fighting for the futures they deserve...

A girl from the slums of Jakarta dreams of an education and the chance at a better life. But first she must battle the dangers of local superstition and thwart her father's plan to marry her off to an older man.

From the time she was a little girl, Nia has dreamed up adventures about the Javanese mythical princess, Dewi Kadita. Now fourteen, Nia would love nothing more than to continue her education and become a writer. But high school costs too much. Her father sells banana fritters at the train station, but too much of his earnings go toward his drinking habit. Too often Nia is left alone to take over the food cart as well as care for her brother and their home in the Jakarta slums.

But Nia is determined to find a way to earn her school fees. After she survives a minibus accident unharmed and the locals say she is blessed with 'good luck magic,' Nia exploits the notion for all its worth by charging double for her fried bananas. Selling superstitions can be dangerous, and when the tide turns it becomes clear that Nia’s future is being mapped without her consent.

If Nia is to write a new story for herself, she must overcome more obstacles than she could ever have conceived of for her mythical princess, and summon courage she isn't sure she has.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 9-13

Includes a glossary of Indonesian terms.

An Author's Note at the end of the novel provides more context about the story in relation to the author's own life experiences, as well more information on global issues that affect girls all over the world like poverty, forced marriages, lack of education and healthcare.

Themes: Homelessness & Poverty; Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance; Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse; People & Places (Asia, Indonesia); Legends, Myths, Fables (Asian).

Additional Information
224 pages | 5.50" x 8.00" | Glossary of Indonesian Terms | Map situating Indonesia

Authentic Canadian Content
$19.95

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Swallow's Dance
Authors:
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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Tecumseh: Shooting Star, Crouching Panther
Authors:
Format: Paperback

Shawnee war chief Tecumseh dedicated his life to stopping American expansion and preserving the lands and cultures of North American Aboriginal peoples. He travelled relentlessly trying to build a confederation of tribes that would stop the territorial ambitions of the newly created United States of America.

Tecumseh tried both diplomacy and battle to preserve his Ohio Valley homelands. When he realized that neither could stop the American advancement, he turned to the British in Canada for help was the War of 1812 began. He and Isaac Brock, British geneal and Canadian hero, caputured Detroit early in the war and historians believe they would have gone on to more impressive battles had Brock not fallen at Queenston Heights in 1812. After the loss of Brock, some success was achieved against the Americans, notably in the woods at Fort Meigs, Ohio, in May 1813. But when the Americans won the decisive Battle of Lake Erie later that summer, the door to Canada was opened. Chased by his nemesis William Henry Harrison, Tecumseh and the British retreated, making a final stand at the Battle of Moraviantown. Tecumseh was killed in the battle. His death marked the end of First Nations resistence to American expansion south of the Great Lakes.

A great leader, Tecumseh left an indelible mark on the history of both Canada and the United States. The story of his struggle to preserve a vanishing culture is one that remains relvant toda. One of the greatest tributes to Tecumseh came from his enemy, Harrison, who later became president of the United States. He called Tecumseh an "uncommon genius," who in another place, another time, could have built an empire.

Authentic Canadian Content
$19.99

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The Things She's Seen
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Australian;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

This brilliantly written thriller explores the lives--and deaths--of two girls, and what they will do to win justice. Sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year!

Nothing's been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.

Her dad is drowning in grief. He's also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she's got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he needs to reconnect with the living.

The case takes them to a remote Australian town, where there's been a suspicious fire. All that remains are an unidentifiable body and an unreliable witness found wandering nearby. This witness speaks in riddles. Isobel Catching has a story to tell, and it's a tale to haunt your dreams--but does it even connect to the case at hand?

As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town.

Awards

  • Winner of Australia's prestigious Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults

Reviews
"An #ownvoices story that empowers its female heroines, giving them pride in their lineage and power in remembering." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"An intense, addictive book. Shocking and heartbreaking truths come to light, and the book deftly examines racism, violence, terrible historic injustices and corruption within the police force. This is a book that shows trauma and survival. It's completely gripping, and while highly recommended for young adults, it also deserves a wider readership." —Readings, Australia

"A fusion of ghost story and crime thriller, it also combines poetry and fiction to striking and exciting effect." —The Saturday Paper, Australia

"Fascinating, gripping, innovative." —Magpies Magazine

"A ghost story as well as a psychological thriller, The Things She's Seen seamlessly weaves together the poetic and the everyday. A magnificent and life-giving novel." — Justine Larbalestier

"Terrible crimes lie at the centre here; viewed through the eyes of young women of unquenchable spirit, they can be approached, examined, and ultimately solved. This novel will turn gazes in the right direction, and make the caw of every crow more resonant." —Margo Lanagan

“The two Australian Aboriginal girls at the center of this The Things She’s Seen discover just how poisonous silencing can be and how much power it takes to finally break through it.”—Bulletin

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 12+ | Teen and young adult fiction

Additional Information

208 pages | 5.50" x 8.25"
Authentic Indigenous Text
$23.99

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There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Mi'kmaq;
Grade Levels: 11; 12; University/College;

In There’s Something In The Water, Ingrid R. G. Waldron examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities.

Using settler colonialism as the overarching theory, Waldron unpacks how environmental racism operates as a mechanism of erasure enabled by the intersecting dynamics of white supremacy, power, state-sanctioned racial violence, neoliberalism and racial capitalism in white settler societies. By and large, the environmental justice narrative in Nova Scotia fails to make race explicit, obscuring it within discussions on class, and this type of strategic inadvertence mutes the specificity of Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian experiences with racism and environmental hazards in Nova Scotia. By redefining the parameters of critique around the environmental justice narrative and movement in Nova Scotia and Canada, Waldron opens a space for a more critical dialogue on how environmental racism manifests itself within this intersectional context.

Waldron also illustrates the ways in which the effects of environmental racism are compounded by other forms of oppression to further dehumanize and harm communities already dealing with pre-existing vulnerabilities, such as long-standing social and economic inequality. Finally, Waldron documents the long history of struggle, resistance, and mobilizing in Indigenous and Black communities to address environmental racism.

Additional Information
184 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$25.00

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