Young Adult

He Who Dreams

Melanie Florence

Summary of He Who Dreams

Juggling soccer, school, friends and family leaves John with little time for anything else. But one day at the local community center, following the sound of drums, he stumbles into an Indigenous dance class. Before he knows what's happening, John finds himself stumbling through beginner classes with a bunch of little girls, skipping soccer practice and letting his other responsibilities slide. When he attends a pow wow and witnesses a powerful performance, he realizes that he wants to be a dancer more than anything. But the nearest class for boys is at the Native Cultural Center in the city, and he still hasn't told his family or friends about his new passion. If he wants to dance, he will have to stop hiding. Between the mocking of his teammates and the hostility of the boys in his dance class, John must find a way to balance and embrace both the Irish and Cree sides of his heritage.

(Source: Orca Book Publishers)

Monsters

David Alexander Robertson

Summary of Monsters

Cole Harper is struggling to settle into life in Wounded Sky First Nation. He may have stopped a serial killer, but the trouble is far from over. A creature lurks in the shadows of Blackwood Forest, the health clinic is on lockdown by a mysterious organization, and long-held secrets threaten to bubble to the surface. Can Cole learn the truth about his father's death? Why won't Choch give him a straight answer? Where the heck is Jayne? Oh, and high school sucks.

(Source: Highwater Press)

Red River Resistance (A Girl Called Echo) Vol. 2

Katherena Vermette

Summary of Red River Resistance (A Girl Called Echo) Vol. 2

Picking up where Pemmican Wars left off, Red River Resistance sees Echo Desjardins adjusting to her new home, finding friends, and learning about Métis history. One ordinary afternoon in class, Echo finds herself transported through time to the banks of the Red River in the summer of 1869. All is not well in the territory, as Canadian surveyors have arrived and Métis families, who have lived there for generations, are losing access to their land. As the Resistance takes hold, Echo fears for her friends and the future of her people in the Red River Valley.

Red River Resistance is volume two in the graphic novel series, A Girl Called Echo, by Katherena Vermette, a Governor General Award–winning writer and author of The Seven Teaching Stories.

(Source: Highwater Press)

The Outside Circle

Patti LaBoucane-Benson
Illustrated by Kelly Mellings

Summary of The Outside Circle

In this important graphic novel, two Aboriginal brothers surrounded by poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence, try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in very different ways to bring about positive change in their lives.

Pete, a young Aboriginal man wrapped up in gang violence, lives with his younger brother, Joey, and his mother who is a heroin addict. One night, Pete and his mother's boyfriend, Dennis, get into a big fight, which sends Dennis to the morgue and Pete to jail. Initially, Pete keeps up ties to his crew, until a jail brawl forces him to realize the negative influence he has become on Joey, which encourages him to begin a process of rehabilitation that includes traditional Aboriginal healing circles and ceremonies.

Powerful, courageous, and deeply moving, The Outside Circle is drawn from the author's twenty years of work and research on healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Aboriginal men.

(Source: House of Anansi Press)
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Dear Canada: These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens

Ruby Slipperjack

Summary of Dear Canada: These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens

Violet Pesheens has been taken to Residential School. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her "white" school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been taken from her, including her name—she is now just a number. But worst of all, she has a fear. A fear of forgetting the things she treasures most: her Anishnabe language; the names of those she knew before; and her traditional customs. A fear of forgetting who she was.

Her notebook is the one place she can record all of her worries, and heartbreaks, and memories. And maybe, just maybe there will be hope at the end of the tunnel.

Drawing from her own experiences at Residential School, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violet, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation's history.

(Source: Scholastic Canada)

Curse of the Shaman: A Marble Island Story

Michael Kusugak
Illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka

Summary of Curse of the Shaman: A Marble Island Story

Sometimes even shamans get cranky. That was baby Wolverine's misfortune—to be cursed by an out-of-sorts shaman frustrated by his own baby daughter's incessant crying. Not only has shaman Paaliaq forbidden the future marriage of Wolverine to Breath, Paaliaq's beautiful but teary baby girl, he has cursed Wolverine, banishing him when he becomes a young man. And even when a contrite Paaliaq later revokes the curse, the shaman's even crankier magic animal will not. Now Wolverine finds himself stranded on a barren island, locked in a life-or-death struggle to return to his home, his family and a very special young girl.

Michael Kusugak, consummate storyteller and bestselling author, conjures up an Inuit tale of adventure, perseverance and first-time love shot through with humanity and humour. This is a story perfect for its pre-teen and 'tween audience, where even the strong and the mighty have bad days, the bully gets his due and a dream can come true.

(Source: Harper Collinss)

Son of a Trickster

Eden Robinson

Summary of Son of a Trickster

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize: With striking originality and precision, Eden Robinson, the author of the classic Monkey Beach and winner of the Writers' Trust of Canada Fellowship, blends humour with heartbreak in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existence meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics, and cannibalistic river otters . . . The exciting first novel in her trickster trilogy.

Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead.

Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don't.

(Source: Chapters)

Fatty Legs

Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

Summary of Fatty Legs

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools.

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls — all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school.

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity.

Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artworks from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

(Source: Scholastic Canada)

The Peacemaker: Thanadelthur

David Alexander Robertson

Summary of The Peacemaker: Thanadelthur

The Peacemaker is the story of Thanadelthur, a young Dene woman enslaved by the Cree, who becomes a guide for the Hudson Bay Company. In 1715 she negotiated a peace between longstanding enemies, the Cree and Dene. The Peacemaker is one book in the Tales from Big Spirit series. Tales from Big Spirit is a unique six-book graphic novel series that delves into the stories of some of the great Indigenous heroes from Canadian history—some already well known and others who deserve to be. Designed to correspond to grades 4–6 social studies curriculums across Canada, these full colour graphic novels could be used in literature circles, novel studies, and book clubs to facilitate discussion of social studies topics. These books will help students make historical connections while promoting important literacy skills.

(Source: Highwater Press)

My Name is Seepeetza

Shirley Sterling

Summary of My Name is Seepeetza

At six years old, Seepeetza is taken from her happy family life on Joyaska Ranch to live as a boarder at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Life at the school is not easy, but Seepeetza still manages to find some bright spots. Always, thoughts of home make her school life bearable. An honest, inside look at life in an Indian residential school in the 1950s, and how one indomitable young spirit survived it.

(Source: House of Anansi Press)

7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga

David Alexander Robertson
Illustrated by Scott Henderson

Summary of 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga

The 7 Generations series is available in one book, and the illustrations are in vivid colour. 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga includes the four graphic novels: Stone, Scars, Ends/Begins, and The Pact. Edwin is facing an uncertain future. Only by learning about his family's past—as warriors, survivors of a smallpox epidemic, casualties of a residential school—will he be able to face the present and embrace the future.

(Source: Strong Nations)

Moonshot: the Indigenous Comics Collection

Hope Nicholson

Summary of Moonshot: the Indigenous Comics Collection

MOONSHOT is a collection of short stories created by indigenous writers and incredible artists in Canada and the US. From traditional stories to exciting new visions of the future, this collection presents some of the finest comic book and graphic novel work in North America. The traditional stories presented in the book are with the permission from the elders in their respective communities, making this a truly genuine, never-before-seen publication. MOONSHOT is an incredible collection will amaze, intrigue and entertain!

(Source: AH Comics)

Secret Path

Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire

Summary of Secret Path

Secret Path is a ten song digital download album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago. Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie's home was 400 miles away. He didn't know that. He didn't know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids—more than anyone will be able to imagine—he tried.

(Source: Simon & Schuster)

Nunavik

Michel Hellman

Summary of Nunavik

Part autobiography and part documentary, Nunavik is an honest and often funny account of Hellman's trek through Northern Quebec – where he meets members of the First Nations, various activists and a few shady characters along the way. Throughout the book, the author acknowledges (and challenges) his own prejudices while questioning the way the North forges our identity – both as individuals and as a nation.

(Source: Pow Pow Press)

Alec's Journey

J. C. Wesley

Summary of Alec's Journey

Twelve-year-old Atungalik has learned to live with death and deprivation in his unforgiving Inuit homeland of the Barrens. There are greater challenges ahead, as he's pulled into new worlds - first, under the stern command of a trading post manager, and then in the urban dazzle of Ottawa and Winnipeg. Atungalik becomes Alec, and learns the city ways, but will he lose his Inuit identity and forget who he is? Alec's Journey is a deep and absorbing story of change, history, and the strength it takes for a young person to welcome both.

(Source: Pemmican Publications)

Lightfinder

Aaron Paquette
Illustrated by Aaron Paquette

Summary of Lightfinder

Written & illustrated by Aaron Paquette.Lightfinder is a Young Adult fantasy novel about Aisling, a young Cree woman who sets out into the wilderness with her Kokum (grandmother), Aunty and two young men she barely knows. They have to find and rescue her runaway younger brother, Eric. Along the way she learns that the legends of her people might be real and that she has a growing power of her own. The story follows the paths of Aisling and Eric, siblings unwittingly thrust into a millennia old struggle for the future of life on earth. It deals with growing up, love and loss, and the choices life puts in our path. Love and confusion are in store, as are loss and pain. Things are not always what they seem and danger surrounds them at every turn. Will Raven's mysterious purposes prevail? With darkness closing in how will they find the light to guide them? Will Aisling find Eric in time?

(Source: Kegedonce Press)

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