Tag Archives: Julie Flett

Top 5 Books We Read in 2018

2018 was a rollercoaster of a year, with so many opportunities for growth and learning all over the place! We launched this site as a passion project, and we have been so lucky to connect with many people from all over the globe, sharing our mutual love of diverse literature!

We have no idea what 2019 will bring,

but we resolve to fight injustice,

to spread love and liberation,

and to lift up the voices of those most marginalized.

In 2019, we will educate to empower!

Without further ado, here are the Top 5 books we read in 2018:


5) A Day With Yayah  

Words by Nicola I. Campbell, Pictures by Julie Flett

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Click here for more about Indigenous Voices!

Why We Loved This Book:

-It promotes multilingualism & discusses the cultural significance of certain traditions

-Teaches about respecting and revering natural resources

-Julie Flett’s illustrations are stunning


4) Captain Starfish 

Written by: Davina Bell, Illustrated by: Allison Colpoys

captain starfish

Click here for more about Neurodiversity!

Why We Loved This Book:

-The protagonist Alfie learns about himself from the natural world-the aquarium is the place for him!

-Alfie learns to manage his anxiety on his own timeline, with his parent’s support

-Anxiety is described in a very understandable way, so children can identify times that they may have felt anxious


3) Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

Poem by Maya Angelou, Paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat

life doesnt firghten me

Click here for more about POC-Centric Narratives!

Why We Loved This Book:

-It introduces poetry and art to readers at the same time

-It highlights two incredible artists of color and brings them together in a way that appeals to children

– It’s easy to use this book in a variety of ways in the classroom as well as the home (see our full review for ideas!)


2) Neither

Written & Illustrated by: Airlie Anderson

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Click here for more about Gender Identity!

Why We Loved This Book:

– The imaginative illustrations draw the reader in, where they then encounter a lovable cast of characters

-Diversity and individuality is celebrated in a simple way that effectively communicates what can be a complex topic

-It opens the door for further conversation and self-reflection about identity!


#1 : Interstellar Cinderella

Written by: Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by: Meg Hunt

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Click here for more about Social Emotional Development!

Why we loved this book the most:

-It has a strong female protagonist who thinks for herself, and an interracial friendship

– Cinderella is a STEM-loving role model for young girls who beats the odds

– It switches up the typical fairy tale ending of marriage being the ultimate goal- Cinderella gets the job of her dreams and a new best friend who understands her!


Happy New Year, and may the year 2019

bring you more amazing books!

We Sang You Home

Written by: Richard Van Camp

Illustrated by: Julie Flett

For Ages: Infant and Up

Language: Bilingual-English and Plains Cree; English.

Topics Covered: Family, Indigenous Voices, First Nations, New Baby.

Summary: This board book is from the perspective of new parents speaking to their child, celebrating their birth and arrival to the family.  The metaphor “we sang you home” is used throughout the book to describe the baby’s arrival.  Short lines of text on each page describe how this new arrival blesses the family, and the promises the parents are making to their new child.  “As we give you roots you give us wings” and “thank you for joining us thank you for choosing us” are examples of the tender words being spoken to this new family addition.  A perfect book to read to children to help them understand how loved they are.

Reflection Questions:

  • What would you like a new baby to know about your family?
  • How do you think your parents felt when you were born?
  • If you have a little sibling, would you like to read them this book?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Think about your family.  What is special about it?  Make your own book about your family and what a new baby might want to know about the fun things you will do together.
  • What is another way to welcome someone new into your family?  It doesn’t have to be a baby, it could be a new uncle or aunt, or sometimes a new mom or dad!  How could you help someone new feel loved and appreciated?
  • Make a book or draw some pictures of your favorite things; things that you would want to show a new person in your life!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

david a robertsonRichard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, NWT, Canada from Fort Smith, NWT. He is a graduate of the En’owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria’s Creative Writing BFA Program, and the Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a movie with First Generation Films and premiered in September of 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is the author of four collections of short stories, Angel Wing Splash Pattern, The Moon of Letting Go, Godless but Loyal to Heaven and Night Moves, as well as two children’s books with Cree artist, George Littlechild: A Man Called Raven and What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? His first baby book, Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, was the official selection of the Books for BC Babies program and was given to every newborn baby in British Columbia in 2008. Richard followed this up with another board book: Nighty-Night: A Bedtime Song for Babies. His third book for babies, Little You, is now out with Orca Book Publishers. The amazing Julie Flett is the artist. Little You is published in Bush Cree, Dene and South Slavey, courtesy of the South Slave Divisional Board of Education. His new book for babies with Julie Flett is called “We Sang You Home” and it is gorgeous!

julie flettJulie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet, by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS, by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki (Tradewind Books), and My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014–2015.

My Heart Fills With Happiness

Written by: Monique Gray Smith

Illustrated by: Julie Flett

For Ages: Infant and Up

Language: Bilingual-English and Plains Cree; English.

Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, First Nations, Happiness, Family, Community, Culture,  Love.

Summary: This adorable board book celebrates happiness and the little things in life.  Baking bread, walking in the grass, drumming on the lap of a family member, and dancing.  The end invites the reader and audience to think about what fills their heart with happiness, and encourages joy in all aspects of life.  This book is light, positive, and celebratory.  The illustrations show happy faces and cultural elements of Indigenous life-dancing, drumming, watching narwhals from the shore.  A simple book for early readers, and a quick bedtime story.

Reflection Questions:

  • What makes you happy?
  • Who in your life fills your heart with happiness?
  • Who in your life do YOU want to make happy?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Draw a picture of the things that make you happy.  Are there people in the picture? Could you draw a picture of you both doing something that makes you both happy? Do you think it would make them happy to receive the drawing?
  • Do something nice for someone in the community that makes you happy.  A phone call, visit, small gift, or good deed like bringing in their mail are all easy ideas for young children!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

c4-0502-smith-jpg

Monique Gray Smith is a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish descent and is the proud Mom of twelve year old twins. She is an award winning author, international speaker and sought after consultant. Her career has focused on fostering paradigm shifts that emphasize the strength and resiliency of the First Peoples in Canada. She is well known for her storytelling, spirit of generosity and focus on resilience.

 

julie flett

Julie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet, by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS, by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki (Tradewind Books), and My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014–2015.

Little You

Written by: Richard Van Camp

Illustrated by: Julie Flett

For Ages: Infant and Up

Language: Bilingual-English and Plains Cree; English.

Topics Covered: New Baby, Indigenous Voices, First Nations, Family, Love, Celebration.

Summary: This rhyming board book celebrates a new baby’s arrival in a family.  The illustrations show a happy family mostly in nature, exploring the natural world.  The child is often being held, and shown new things-a starry sky, flowers, or in a boat watching fish.  A quick read, these beautiful illustrations ignite happiness within the reader, awakening the desire to show a new life all of the beauty in the world.

Reflection Questions:

  • What do you love most about being in nature?
  • What would you like to show someone new about your community?
  • What are some of the things you like to do with your family?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Draw pictures of things you do with your family, may you could even make your own book!
  • Learn more about rhyming and poetry.  Write a poem by yourself, with your classroom, or with your family.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

c4-0502-smith-jpg

Monique Gray Smith is a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish descent and is the proud Mom of twelve year old twins. She is an award winning author, international speaker and sought after consultant. Her career has focused on fostering paradigm shifts that emphasize the strength and resiliency of the First Peoples in Canada. She is well known for her storytelling, spirit of generosity and focus on resilience.

 

 

julie flettJulie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet, by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS, by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki (Tradewind Books), and My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014–2015.

When We Were Alone

Written by: David A. Robertson

Illustrated by: Julie Flett

For Ages: Infant and up

Language: English and Cree

Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, Residential Schools, First Nations,

Summary: This tender board book explores the history of residential schooling that was inflicted upon Indigenous and First Nations people.  A young girl helps her grandmother in the garden and asks questions about things her grandmother does, such as wearing bright colors, having long hair, and speaking in Cree.  The narrator’s grandmother tells of the times in her childhood that she was forced to live in a residential school, and had her autonomy, culture, and language taken away.

The book’s typography changes colors when speaking about past and present, which is a beautiful representation and goes well with Flett’s illustrations.  The book approaches this time in history in an accurate and easy to understand way for young children.  It is a story of a young girl subverting authority with an emphasis on explanation and healing; a grandmother living her truth despite those that tried to steal her culture demanding submission from the Indigenous children they took from their families under the guise of education.

Reflection Questions:

  • How would you feel if you were told not to do things important to your family and culture?
  • How do you think the children feel when they sneak away and remind themselves how important their culture is to their identity?
  • Do you think the children feel better once they’re back with their families instead of at the residential school?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Residential schooling is an important part of Indigenous history. Learn about all types of schooling as part of an in-depth unit about schools around the world, as well as in your community.
  • Invite a classroom guest to come and talk about their culture!
  • Talk with elders in your community about how they grew up.  What things are different from how you’re growing up today?  What things are the same?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

david a robertsonDavid A. Robertson is an award-winning writer. His books include When We Were Alone (Governor General’s Literary Award winner, McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People winner, TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award finalist), Will I See? (winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award Graphic Novel Category), and the YA novel Strangers. David educates as well as entertains through his writings about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples reflecting their cultures, histories, communities, as well as illuminating many contemporary issues. David is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.

julie flettJulie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet, by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS, by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki (Tradewind Books), and My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books). Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014–2015.