For National Aboriginal History Month we’ll be dedicating our June posts to Aboriginal titles published by Groundwood Books.
For children aged 4-7 looking to learn more about Aboriginal culture, we recommend the following titles.
Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox
by Danielle Daniel
In this introduction to the Anishinaabe tradition of totem animals, young children explain why they identify with different creatures such as a deer, beaver or moose. Delightful illustrations show the children wearing masks representing their chosen animal, while the few lines of text on each page work as a series of simple poems throughout the book.
In a brief author’s note, Danielle Daniel explains the importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can also act as animal guides for young children seeking to understand themselves and others.
P’ésk’a and the First Salmon Ceremony
by Scot Ritchie
It’s the day of the first salmon ceremony, and P’ésk’a is excited to celebrate. His community, the Sts’ailes people, give thanks to the river and the salmon it brings by commemorating the first salmon of the season.
Framed as an exploration of what life was like one thousand years ago, P’ésk’a and the First Salmon Ceremony describes the customs of the Sts’ailes people, an indigenous group who have lived on the Harrison River in British Columbia for the last 10,000 years. Includes an introductory letter from Chief William Charlie, an illustrated afterword and a glossary.
by Nicola I. Campbell
Illustrated by Kim Lafave
A young girl delights in a visit to her grandpa’s farm. She and her cousins run through the fields, explore the root cellar where the salmon and jars of fruit are stored, swing on a rope out the barn loft window, visit the Appaloosa in the corral and tease the neighbor’s pig. The visit is also an opportunity for this child to ask Grandpa what her grandmother,Yayah, was like, and explore the “secret room,”with its old wooden trunk of ribbons, medals and photos of Grandpa in uniform.
There is a wonderful blend of fun and family history in this visit to a grandparent, but also the realization that there can be some things about the people we know and love that will always remain a mystery.
A Salmon for Simon
by Betty Waterton
Illustrated by Ann Blades
Simon has always longed to catch a salmon. But when his luck suddenly changes and an eagle accidentally drops one into a tidal pool, Simon is torn between sympathy for the fish and the desire to catch something of his own.
All summer long, Simon, a young First Nations boy, has been desperate to catch a salmon. He goes fishing every day, but has no luck. Then one day a high-flying eagle drops a salmon into a clam hole right before his eyes, and Simon must decide whether to take it home or let it go.
This simple story, with its evocative watercolor paintings of the Northwest Coast, was an environmental fable before its time when it was first published in 1978. But its true power rests in the magical combination of text and pictures, which have made it a best-selling classic.