Read Across Turtle Island: Indigenizing Canada Day Reading

Reading Lists Read Across Turtle Island: Indigenizing Canada Day Reading

During a normal school year (and not one of crisis, like 2020 during which this blog was written), Canada Day would be the first holiday of the summer. We would typically be sharing book lists and activities that celebrate the nation as part of our ‘summer slide’ program — efforts to keep students reading over the summer so they don’t experience the phenomenon of learning loss that often occurs when they are away from school. But this far-from-normal year has seen many shifts, and of all the changes that have occurred, it is safe for us to say that a ‘lack of learning’, even away from school, is not one of them, at least not in one very particular sense…

The world has had to find new ways to connect, and in so doing, has uncovered a lot of ways that we are still divided. Crises of racism, classism, sexism, and other bigotries are part of our regular news cycles. We are all learning about the different lived experiences of people in the world. We are learning that we must change how we move in the world to make space for everyone. Canadians, as part of the long road to reconciliation, are paying attention to the racialization of our fellow citizens in new ways. We are working to indigenize our thinking and our living so that ways of being in this world, ones that have persisted through time, trial, and trauma, are honoured and elevated to help us all heal and move forward.

To that end, we’ll be publishing a list to ‘Read Across Turtle Island’ (one of the names for this place that predates colonialism and confederation), and in particular the Numbered Treaty and Unceded Territories that make up the parts of Turtle Island known as Canada. These recommendations will reflect authors and illustrators descended from the First Peoples of this place. It will include titles for very young children, school age readers, and for teens and adults, because one of the BEST ways to prevent Summer Slide is to demonstrate how much we value reading by reading every day that we eat.

We can all be Reading Role Models this Canada Day, and EVERY DAY, eh?


Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations Embers — Richard Wagamese (Wabaseemoong First Nation)






Where I Belong — Tara White (Haudenosaunee (Iroquois); Kanyen’keha:ka (Mohawk))






Anishinaabemowin Alphabet  Anishinaabemowin Alphabet — Wanda Barker (Anishinaabeg; Ojibway)


Mingan My Village — School Children (Innu) and Rogé







Why the Monster — Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley (Inuit; Cree (Nehiyawak)) and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Haudenosaunee (Iroquois); Kanyen’keha:ka (Mohawk))

Nova Scotia

Wild Woman Alphabet — Doris Muise (Mi’kmaq)







Nkij’inen Teluet / Our Grandmothers’ Words: Traditional Stories For Nurturing — Diana Denny (Mi’kmaq;), Prune Harris, Murdena Marshall (Mi’kmaq; Eskasoni First Nation)

New Brunswick

Glooscap, the Beavers and the Sugarloaf Mountain — Allison Mitcham, Réjean Roy, Serena M. Sock (Mi’kmaq)





Moonbeam –Gail Francis (Tobique First Nation)







Pemmican Wars: Vermette, Katherena, Henderson, Scott B., Yaciuk ... A Girl Called Echo — Katherena Vermette (Métis)








Bill Ballantyne (Cree (Nehiyawak))





British Columbia

NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women: Charleyboy, Lisa ... #NotYourPrincess — Lisa Charleyboy (Tsilhqot’in)







A Day with Yayah | Quill and Quire A Day With Yayah — Nicola I. Campbell (Métis; Salish; Interior Salish; Syilx; Nlaka’pamux) and Julie Flett (Métis; Cree (Nehiyawak))






I Am the Elwha — Robert Elofson (Salish; Coast Salish; Klallam (Clallam); Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe)







Prince Edward Island

Ni’n na L’nu The Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island  — Jesse Francis (Mi’kmaq) and A J B Johnston





cover Minegoo Mniku: The Mi’kmaq Creation Story of Prince Edward Island — Sandra L Dodge (Indigenous Canadian)





Fiddle Dancer — Wilfred Burton (Métis), Anne Patton, and Sherry Farrell Racette (Anishinaabeg; Algonquin;)






Will I See? –David Alexander Robertson (Cree (Nehiyawak); Swampy Cree)








Turtle Island — Kathy Lowinger and Eldon Yellowhorn (Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksikaitsitapi); Piikani (Peigan, Aapatohsipikani)






Burning in this Midnight Dream | CBC Books Burning in This Midnight Dream — Louise Bernice Halfe (Cree; Saddle Lake)







Newfoundland & Labrador

Pomiuk, Prince of the North (Labradormiut Content) — Jerry Whitehead (Cree (Nehiyawak))







Anguti’s Amulet — The Central Coast of Labrador Archaeology Partnership





Northwest Territories

A Blanket of Butterflies | The Debwe Series: A Blanket of Butterflies — Richard Van Camp (Tłı̨chǫ Dogrib Nation)







Come and Learn With Me: Ewo, seh Kedjdjh — Sheyenne Jumbo (Dene) and Mindy Willett






T Is For territories: A Yukon, Northwest territories, and Nunavut Alphabet — Michael Kusugak (Inuit)




Dakwäkãda Warriors — Cole Pauls (Tahltan (Nahanni))








The Legend of the Fog: Mikkigak, Qaunaq, Schwartz, Joanne ... The Legend of the Fog — Qaunaq Mikkigak (Inuit)






Sweetest Kulu — Celina Kalluk (Inuit)