The 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award was given to author Melanie Florence and illustrator François Thisdale, who will share the $30,000 prize, for their picture book Missing Nimâmâ. Missing Nimama is the first picture book written by Cree/Scottish author Melanie Florence. In this moving 32-page picture book from publisher Clockwise Press, the story offers junior and intermediate level readers an introduction to understanding the loss and grief of a child's mother. Kateri is a young girl who lives with her grandmother because her mother is lost as Nohkum (grandmother in Cree) explains. The picture book opens with with the loving voice of a mother as she watches her daughter sleep and dream. As the brief free verse in italics ends, the tone of the voice changes as it says, leaning against a mother, her nimama (mother) that she will lose all over again when she wakes. The reader now knows the mother is no longer present in her daughter's life. On the following pages the voices switch from young child asking her Nohkum questions about her lost mother. The other voice on the page is the mother who remains a spiritual-like presence throughout the story. It is Nohkum who braids the young child's hair, and it is Nohkum who takes her granddaughter to school. In fact Nohkum is present for all Kateri's life events including a first dance, first date, a wedding, and new life. The dream-like illustrations capture loving images of Kateri's life with her grandmother along with the ethereal moments when her mother's presence is felt. Told with gentle free verse this picture book reaches a remarkable achievement by presenting an age-appropriate introduction to the missing and murdered Indigenous women. The book can also serve to tell a story about the loss of a parent. Highly recommended. At the back of the book there are two pages of factual details about the issue of missing Indigenous women and what the country and individuals can contribute. Missing Nimama has been selected in the Young Adult/Adult Category Longlist for First Nation Communities READ 2017. Missing Nimama is in contention to become the First Nation Communities Read community reading selection for 2017-2018.
Literature Circle: http://www.clockwisepress.com/uploads/3/5/0/6/3506669/missing_nimama_lit_circle.pdf