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.
Just Lucky by Cree/Scottish author Melanie Florence is the story of Lucky, a teen who tries to find home again with the help of her friend, Ryan and her Grandma. A number of events leaves Lucky in the hands of Children’s Aid. She is moved between foster homes and school districts, all the while trying to fit in under difficult circumstances. Her foster home experiences are a mix of bad and better ones. Just Lucky weaves friendship, bullying, family and loss with love, patience and responsibility.
In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience by Helen Knott, Dane-Zaa and Metis/Cree is a three part memoir in her dreamless void, the in-between and the healing. The memoir follows the life of Helen Knott through her childhood, describing life during school especially after eighth grade, and as a young woman on her red road journey through rape, alcoholism and drug addiction. It is her journey of darkness through which she questions her selfhood, ancestry, faith, and existence.
Clifford by Harold R. Johnson, a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, is dedicated to Harold Johnson’s older brother, Clifford Melton Johnson. Clifford is a memoir based on fact, fiction, and stories. The story begins in northern Saskatchewan on a highway construction project, where a Swedish/Sami immigrant and Cree, Nihiyithaw woman meet in the early 1900s. The story follows the lives of the Johnson family but especially the author and his brother, Clifford, and their discussions premised on their rational minds and internal messages.
From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle is his memoir. From being lost and alone, falling apart, living on the streets and later to reconciliation, From the Ashes is Thistle’s life story. Through four parts from 1997 to 2015 he recounts life through his stories of growing up berry picking with his Kokum in Debden, Saskatchewan; through his parents’ separation, and living rough, begging and going hungry with his father and then being in foster care.
Bawaajimo, A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature by Margaret Noodin, discusses Anishinaabe language and literature through the works of four writers representing a range of contemporary Anishinaabe literature: Louise Erdrich, Jim Northrup, Basil Johnston and Gerald Vizenor, who share a world view, a common cultural, linguistic and literary heritage. Their works reflect patterns of identity, conscious survival, universal life and stirred thoughts respectively.
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.
The Case of Windy Lake is a chapter book for young readers who enjoy mysteries and problem-solving along with traditions and culture. The author of ‘A Mighty Muskrats Mystery’ series, Michael Hutchinson is a citizen of Misipawistik Cree Nation in the Treaty 5 territory, and his familiarity with the land and life experiences are reflected in these mystery adventures. Cousins Samuel, Chickadee, Atim and Otter – the Mighty Muskrats - visit and live on the First Nation rez at Windy Lake. This mystery begins when an archaeologist goes missing from a mining company.
kimotinâniwiw itwêwina / Stolen Words by author Melanie Florence, illustrator Gabrielle Grimard and translated into Cree by Dolores Sand and Gayle Weenie is a primary level picture book that explains language loss among First Nations residential school survivors and their descendants. Told through the eyes of a child and her grandfather, the book captures the close and caring relationship between generations as the girl learns about residential schools and language loss.