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2013 - 2014 Selections

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A Stranger at Home: A True Story
Editors:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8;

The powerful memoir of an Inuvialuit girl searching for her true self when she returns from residential school. 

Traveling to be reunited with her family in the Arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It's been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers. 

Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, "Not my girl." Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider. 

And Margaret is an outsider: she has forgotten the language and stories of her people, and she can't even stomach the food her mother prepares. 

However, Margaret gradually relearns her language and her family's way of living. Along the way, she discovers how important it is to remain true to the ways of her people -- and to herself. 

Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl's struggle to find her place will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.

Sequel to Fatty Legs.

Reviews
"This memoir, detailing a woeful piece of Canadian history and demonstrating Margaret's strength of character, compassion, courage and her willingness to sacrifice herself for her family's sake, gives the reader a lot to ponder. Highly recommended." — Shelbey Krahn, Canadian Materials, February 2012

"A Stranger at Home will speak to anyone who has experienced displacement or assimilation into a new culture. This fabulous story enhances the Grades 6 to 8 social studies curriculum." — Professionally Speaking (Ontario College of Teache, April 2012

"While it may not have the same drama and tension of the first memoir, this tale provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world." — Jody Kopple, School Library Journal, December 2011

"Without being graphic or overwhelming, the Fentons recreate a tragic moment in Canadian history through the innocent reflections of a child...a must for any classroom library." — Canadian Teacher Magazine, May 2012

"This tale provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world. The writing is unpretentious and accessible and readers who enjoyed the first book will find this an interesting follow-up. Vivid paintings are a beautiful accompaniment to the storytelling. Photographs from Pokiak Fenton's own collection add important points of reference for readers looking to visualize the characters and the unique setting of the Arctic Circle. A welcome addition to biography collections." — Jody Kopple, School Library Journal, December 2011

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 9-13.

Guided Reading Level: Fountas and Pinnell U

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; arctic; residential schools; identity; community; Canadian content; family; society; history; memoir.

Additional Information
128 pages | 6.25" x 9.00"

 

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$12.95

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As Long as the Rivers Flow: A Novel
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;

From the accomplished memoirist and former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario comes a first novel of incredible heart and spirit for every Canadian.

The novel follows one girl, Martha, from the Cat Lake First Nation in Northern Ontario who is "stolen" from her family at the age of six and flown far away to residential school. She doesn't speak English but is punished for speaking her native language; most terrifying and bewildering, she is also "fed" to the school's attendant priest with an attraction to little girls.

Ten long years later, Martha finds her way home again, barely able to speak her native tongue. The memories of abuse at the residential school are so strong that she tries to drown her feelings in drink, and when she gives birth to her beloved son, Spider, he is taken away by Children's Aid to Toronto. In time, she has a baby girl, Raven, whom she decides to leave in the care of her mother while she braves the bewildering strangeness of the big city to find her son and bring him home.

Awards

  • 2013 Burt Award - Third Place Winner
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$19.95

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Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a symbol of the free expression movement of the 1960s and her powerful songs inspired countless people seeking hope and change. Her life has been one of transitions; from songwriter to famous intellectually-oriented folk and protest singer, to country and western and rock and roll musician, to social activist, mother, script-writer, actress, digital artist, philanthropist, children's educator, and "medicine woman." Within all these roles, and throughout her incredibly diverse and engaging, though private, life, Buffy Sainte-Marie has cultivated her unique vision for achieving collective beauty and purpose in an often lonely world.

In this ambitious biography of an international cultural icon, Blair Stonechild seeks to bring together the many facets of a remarkable life, and to develop a sense of the woman behind it all. In doing so, Stonechild also traces some of the tumultuous history of the Cree people, and offers a fascinating, and challenging, view into the impoverished Saskatchewan reserve where Sainte-Marie was born, and an exploration of the story and context of a Native culture, which Buffy continues to inspire today.

Blair Stonechild is a member of the Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan. He obtained his B.A. from McGill, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Regina, and in 1976 was the first academic hired by the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC). Blair is currently Professor of Indigenous Studies and has served as Dean of Academics and Executive Director of Development for the First Nations University of Canada (formerly Saskatchewan Indian Federated College). He co-authored with Dr. Bill Waiser, Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion, which won the Saskatchewan Book Award and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1997. Dr. Stonechild’s book on First Nations post-secondary policy, The New Buffalo: Aboriginal Post-secondary Policy in Canada (2006), was a finalist for the Saskatchewan Book Award. Blair was a Trustee of the Canadian Museum of Civilization from 1990 to 1998. He has done extensive consulting on Aboriginal education. Blair is married to Sylvia and is father to Michael, Rachel, and Gabrielle.

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$24.95

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Discovery Passages
Format: Paperback

With breathtaking virtuosity, Garry Thomas Morse sets out to recover the appropriated, stolen and scattered world of his ancestral people from Alert Bay to Quadra Island to Vancouver, retracing Captain Vancouver's original sailing route. These poems draw upon both written history and oral tradition to reflect all of the respective stories of the community, which vocally weave in and out of the dialogics of the text.

A dramatic symphony of many voices, Discovery Passages uncovers the political, commercial, intellectual and cultural subtexts of the Native ­language ban, the potlatch ban and the confiscation and sale of Aboriginal artifacts to museums by Indian agents, and how these actions affected the lives of both Native and non-Native inhabitants of the region. This displacement of language and artifacts reverberated as a profound cultural disjuncture on a personal level for the author's ­people, the Kwakwaka'wakw, as their family and tribal possessions became at once both museum artifacts and a continuation of the ­tradition of memory through another language. Morse's continuous poetic dialogue of "discovery" and "recovery" reaches as far as the Lenape, the original Native inhabitants of Mannahatta in what is now known as New York, and on across the Atlantic in pursuit of the European roots of the "Voyages of Discovery" in the works of Sappho, Socrates, Virgil and Frazer's The Golden Bough, only to reappear on the American continent to find their psychotic apotheosis in the poetry of Duncan Campbell Scott.

With tales of Chiefs Billy Assu, Harry Assu and James Sewid; the ­family story "The Young Healer"; and transformed passages from Whitman, Pound, Williams and Bowering, Discovery Passages links Kwakwaka'wakw traditions of the past with contemporary poetic ­tradition in B.C. that encompasses the entire scope of ­relations between oral and vocal ­tradition, ancient ritual, historical ­contextuality and our continuing rites.

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$17.95

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Nobody Cries at Bingo
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

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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$15.95

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Outcasts of River Falls
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 3; 4; 5; 6; 7;

After the death of her parents, well-bred young city girl Kathryn must travel across country to live with her Aunt Belle. Arriving at her destination in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Kathryn is horrified to learn her new home is a group of shacks called River Falls, a Métis community. Kathryn has never known about her true heritage, a mix of Native-American and Euro-Canadian. She is even more shocked to discover theirs is not even a permanent home. Barred from owning land, the Métis must find a way to live in the road allowances, or ditches—the strips of government land between public highways and the private properties of recognized citizens. Excitement comes in the form of a mysterious stranger known as the Highwayman, a shadowy Robin Hood figure who rights wrongs against his people in his own way. When he is framed for a crime he did not commit, and Aunt Belle becomes involved, Kathryn must use all her resources to prove their innocence—and challenge the deep-seated prejudices of an entire community.
Outcasts of River Falls is a next-generation sequel to the award-winning Belle of Batoche.

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$9.95

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Red: A Haida Manga
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Haida;

Referencing a classic Haida oral narrative, this stunning full-colour graphic novel documents the powerful story of Red, a leader so blinded by revenge that he leads his community to the brink of war and destruction.

Set in the islands off the northwest coast of B.C., it tells the tale of orphan Red and his sister, Jaada. When raiders attack their village, Red, still a boy, escapes dramatically. But Jaada is whisked away. The loss of Jaada breeds a seething anger, and Red sets out to find his sister and exact revenge on her captors.

Red blends traditional Haida imagery into a Japanese manga-styled story. Tragic and timeless, it is reminiscent of such classic stories as Oedipus Rex, Macbeth and King Lear.

This innovation in contemporary storytelling consists of 108 pages of hand-painted illustrations. When arranged in a specific order, the panels of the narrative create a Haida formline image four metres long. The sequence for this complex design is displayed on the inside jacket.

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$19.95

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Strength of Women: Âhkamêyimowak
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Âhkamêyimowak is a Cree word which embodies the strength that drives women to persevere, flourish, and work for change within their communities. Women are the unsung heroes of their communities, often using minimal resources to challenge oppressive structures and create powerful alternatives in the arts, education, and the workplace.

The stories included here are by women with vision, who inspire and lead those who have lived in their midst. Stories are a means of transmitting vital information from within community as well as to outside communities.

Relations are something fundamental to Indigenous communities the world over. Besides human relationships, there is a bigger set of relationships that keeps some people marginalized and others in positions of power. This book tells the stories of both sets of relationships. Some women tell powerful personal stories and others describe institutional relationships that keep Indigenous women in Canada – along with women generally, people of colour, indigenous peoples and youth around the world – in the margins. In both cases, the clarity of vision that comes from the margins is astounding and compelling.

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$19.95

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Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

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"

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$16.00

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The Next Sure Thing
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Cree Thunderboy wants nothing less than to be the next great blues man. But, playing to tiny audiences in shabby rooms like Shelly's Crab Shack, his career is stalled. Then at the race track he meets Win Hardy, a seemingly charming rogue who spots Cree's knack for picking winning horses. He offers to record his first CD and send him on tour, as long as Cree can keep coming up with the hot tips at the track.

Things are looking good for Cree until he discovers Win's connections to the mob and his violent response to anything that doesn't go his way. And when things inevitably go bad, Cree discovers that in life and in gambling there is never really the next sure thing.

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$9.95

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Three Day Road
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 12;

The National Bestseller
Shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award
One of The Globe and Mail One Hundred Best Books of 2004
Inspired in part by real-life World War I Ojibwa hero Francis Pegahmagabow, this unblinking, impeccably researched novel is the astonishing story of two Cree snipers in the killing fields of Ypres and the Somme, and the winding journey home to northern Ontario that only one of them will make. A remarkable tale of brutality, survival, and rebirth, Three Day Road is an
unforgettable reading experience.

Boyden, like Homer in The Iliad, is precise and unflinching in his descriptions of the ways in which soldiers fall in battle. ... This novel is a remarkable achievement, and a breathtaking debut.
The Globe and Mail

This poignant tale weaves together magic, hubris and plain good storytelling, making it one of the best Canadian literature offerings of the season.
The Calgary Herald

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$22.00

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Through Black Spruce
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Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

From internationally acclaimed author Joseph Boyden comes an astonishingly powerful novel of contemporary aboriginal life, full of the dangers and harsh beauty of both forest and city. When beautiful Suzanne Bird disappears, her sister Annie, a loner and hunter, is compelled to search for her, leaving behind their uncle Will, a man haunted by loss. While Annie travels from Toronto to New York, from modelling studios to A-list parties, Will encounters dire troubles at home. Both eventually come to painful discoveries about the inescapable ties of family. Through Black Spruce is an utterly unforgettable consideration of how we discover who we really are.

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$19.00

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War Games
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

Ryan Taber's father is about to deploy for his first tour of duty with the Canadian army in Afghanistan. Ryan lives his days on an army base in Alberta, and spends his evenings at the CyberKnights cafe, playing his favourite video game,Desert Death. At CyberKnights, Ryan meets the Desert Death ultimate champion and becomes entangled in a world of danger and deceit that begins to resemble the very real circumstances his father is facing overseas.

[Fry Reading Level - 5.5]

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$9.95

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