#ReadIndigenousTO : Children’s Books

December 7, 2018 | RayL

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Written By Joanne S. 

On our Read Indigenous children’s list you will find stories for kids of all ages. From board books for babies to stories for older children, there is a rich and growing body of work by Indigenous authors and illustrators, not to be missed.


Preschoolers will love learning their numbers in English and Cree with Jason Adair’s board book We All Count: Book of Ojibway Art. Illustrated in the style of Woodland art, Adair suffuses the pages with bright, bold flat planes of colour. From 1 – bezhik -magical pink thunderbird to 10 – mdaaswi – green jumping frogs, this little book is a gem.

We All Count


In Wild Berries, we follow Clarence and his Grandmother as they go wild blueberry picking. The simple narrative and stunning illustrations by Métis author/artist Julie Flett is told in English with a single word on each page translated into n-dialect, also known as Swampy Cree: blueberries = ininimina, Grandmother=okoma, fox = makesis. The loving relationship between Grandmother and grandson, so central in Indigenous stories, is the heart of this beautiful book.

Wild Berries


We learn 13 Cree words in Penny M. Thomas’ warm-hearted story Nimoshom and His Bus. Nimoshom drives the school bus and he greets the children in Cree. On the drive back and forth to school, we learn words like tansi, which means hello and kinapi, hurry up. Beautiful illustrations bring Nimoshom to life, surrounded by the happy faces of Indigenous children, who clearly adore him.

Nimoshom and his Bus


In a joyous celebration of Métis heritage and identity, Nolin, in Fiddle Dancer, learns to dance from his Mooshoom, or Grandfather. Métis artist Sherry Farrell Racette’s lively illustrations saturate the pages with swirling patterns of colour that will make you want to get up and dance along with Nolin.

Fiddle Dancer

Inuit author Nancy Mike’s first picture book, Elisapee: And Her Baby Seagull, is set in a small hamlet in Nunavut.  Elisapee falls in love with the baby seagull her father brings home one day. She feeds it, cares for it and even helps it learn to fly.  But when the seagull is big enough to fly away, Elisapee must learn to say goodbye. A story of family, friendship and first pets and a little slice of life in a Northern community.

Nancy Mike

Start enjoying these wonderful stories from Indigenous authors and illustrators.

Join the conversation on Twitter #ReadIndigenousTO and find more books on the Read Indigenous: Children’s book list. 

Read Indigenous is a yearly list of must-read titles written by Indigenous authors, writers, illustrators and knowledge keepers for all ages. The titles have been selected with Toronto Public Library's Indigenous Advisory Council.