Tout Petit Toi (Little You in English) is a charming and heart-warming book that welcomes a new baby into a family. Written by renowned author and storyteller Richard Van Camp, illustrated with creative flair by Julie Flett and translated Rachel Martinez, this book is a welcome addition to Indigenous family resources. Flett uses collage-like images of an infant who grows to be a toddler. This child is adored and loved by one or both parents on every other page. Simple rhyming text accompanies each image.
In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok, who is an Inuit writer and educator originally from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut; and illustrated by Lenny Lishchenko, tell the story of the pouch in the back of a mother’s parka used to carry a child. The experience in this story is that of baby nestled inside feeling the softness of the amautik and hearing the delightful sounds of Anaana’s laughing. This is a peaceful book for all ages.
Teacher’s Guide for the Seven Teaching Stories by Katya Ferguson is a resource of this series by Katherena Vermette. They are: The Just Right Gift – a gift of love; Singing Sisters – a story of humility; The First Day – a story of courage; Kode’s Quest – a story of respect; Amik Loves School – a story of wisdom; Misaabe’s Story – a story of honesty and, What is Truth, Betsy? – a story of truth. The teacher’s guide is organized in three parts: The Seven Teachings, Teaching the Stories and Strategies and Activities Applicable to All Stories.
Hearts Unbroken, by New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith (enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Indian Nation in Oklahoma, is a young adult novel about a school musical, friendship, romance and heartache. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Louise joins the school’s Journalism class working on the school newspaper writing stories and meets Joey. The local school musical, The Wizard of Oz, has new guidelines – to be colour-conscious – which sets in motion objections, acceptance, bullying, sexism and racism.
The Fox Wife by Beatrice Deer, Inuk singer from Quaqtaq, Quebec and illustrated by D.J. Herron, is an interpretation of a traditional story. In The Fox Wife, a very pretty fox falls from the sky and begins to follow humans – a woman, her husband and two sons – through the seasons. Irniq the oldest son leaves his family and is followed by the fox. Thinking he is dreaming when he returns to his camp to find things different to when he left, he decides to lay a plan to find out who is looking after him. The mystery is resolved shortly after this.
The Train is written by Jodie Callaghan, a Mi’gmaq woman from Listuguj First Nation in Gespegewa’gi near Quebec. The Train is illustrated by Georgia Lesley. This is story of a young girl, Ashley who is slowly walking back from school when she meets her Uncle. He is sad. He tells Ashley his story of first going to residential school and the important lesson of knowing where you come from. This story is colourfully illustrated yet invokes the sadness that Ashley and her Uncle feel. It is also descriptive with a short glossary of Mig’maq words.
Nibi is Water, Nibi Aawon Nbiish is written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson and translated by Shirley Williams and Isadore Toulouse. Joanne Robertson is AnishinaabeKwe and author and illustrator of The Water Walker. Nibi is Water, Nibi Aawon Nbiish is for babies and toddlers and in both English and Anishinaabemowin. This book is written from an Anishinaabe water protector's perspective. There are many words associated with the importance of water - rain, snow, splashing, drinking and our role to thank, respect and protect Nibi. Nibi is water and water is life.
Nokum is My Teacher is a picture book that effectively explains about teachings from grandmother, Nokum, told in English and Cree. Allen Sapp's remarkable oil paintings illustrate this sensitive book about the importance of Elders. Grandson asks his grandmother about the importance of attending school and learning how to read. Grandmother provides gentle teachings about respect for the culture of the Cree and advises the boy about understanding the world around him as well as his community. Bouchard uses lyrical dialogue between Nokum and grandson that is thoughtful and loving.
The Song Within My Heart is now available in paperback and is centred on Cree artist Allen Sapp's evocative paintings of his boyhood in Saskatchewan together with David Bouchard's lyrical text. In combination the text and images reinforce the love between a grandmother and her grandson as they prepare to attend a powwow. Based on the recollections of Allen Sapp's childhood with his Nokum (grandmother), the paintings capture the everyday preparations of this Plains Cree family. The boy recalls his first powwow and asks his Nokum what the singers are saying.
Neekah's Knitting Needles is a delightful story about learning to knit in the Cowichan style based on the knitting of Cowichan people from near Port Alberni. In Neekah’s Knitting Needles, the knittling style is based on the work of Odelia Smith from Tsartlip First Nation near Victoria, B.C. Coast Salish knitting is also part of a National Film Board documentary, The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters. Sheena Lot is a picture book illustrator and has won numerous awards for her work. In Neekah’s Knitting Needles Neekah is finally old enough to learn to knit.