Patsy Aldana, founder of Groundwood Books, says reading “talks to you about who you are, or it tells you something about who the other is. So they’re windows and mirrors.” All children need books that are accessible and also meaningful to them. For a long time, for many children, these books just didn’t exist – or if they did, they were full of stereotypes and misconceptions. In Canada, we are very fortunate to have Aboriginal publishing houses like Theytus Books and Inhabit Media, who are creating vibrant, authentic and powerful books. Celebrate First Nations, Métis and Inuit literature by checking out some of these titles:
Wild Berries by Julie Flett is written in both English and Cree. In this quietly perceptive story, Clarence accompanies his grandmother on a blueberry picking expedition. When their buckets are full, they say “thank you/nanaskomowak” and head home, leaving a handful of berries for the birds. This picture book was the First Nation Communities Read Selection for 2014-2015
Long Powwow Nights by David Bouchard is written in both English and Mi'kmaq. The importance of culture and identity is vividly captured in this picture book. A child has been taught by his mother to respect and appreciate the powwow ceremony and he poetically reflects upon his love of the dance. A compact disc is also included with original music by Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Shin-chi’s Canoe by Nicola Campbell is a powerful story about a child’s experience at residential school. When Shin-chi leaves his family, his father gives him a toy canoe that symbolically represents everything that he must keep hidden including his culture, language and traditions. This picture book was nominated for the Governor General's Award in 2008.
For a complete list of other titles click here
Submitted by Linda Ludke, London Public Library