Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Caribou Song, by Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway's Picture Books

Perusing the shelves at the Stratford Public Library (in Stratford, Ontario), I came across three books by Tomson Highway. I know he's Cree, and knew about his plays, but not his children's books. The three are a trilogy: Caribou Song came out in 2001, Dragonfly Kites in 2002, and Fox on the Ice in 2003. I skimmed Caribou Song. Characters are Joe and Cody, two young Cree boys. Modern day setting. Illustrations are terrific, done by Brian Deines, who also illustrated Jan Waboose's book, Skysisters.

The thing that struck me about them was the publisher --- HarperCanada --- and that the books have both English and Cree. Are HarperCanada and HarperCollins related? If so, I'm wondering if HarperCollins has ever published a US Native author, with text in English and one of our languages.

I can't sit with them right now but plan to spend time with them as soon as I get back to Illinois. Anyone out there know these books? Anyone out there in the US have them in your school or public library?


Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but I was wondering about your opinion of Stephenie Meyer's TWILIGHT series...

She's one of the most popular authors in YA literature right now, and the Quileute of LaPush, WA play a central role in this fantastical series about vampires and werewolves.

Rebecca, Children's Librarian

Debbie Reese said...


I don't know the TWILIGHT series. The Quileute? Interesting. I'll check it out.


Anonymous said...

Dear Debbie,

Please, please, please read these books!!! My fellow librarians and I have some iffy feelings about the ways in which she presents Jacob - and the Quileutes in general... Eclipse, the third and most recent book in the series, left me feeling particularly uneasy. I think she might have taken liberties that she shouldn't have. Of course, I could be completely wrong.

This series has been compared to Harry Potter in terms of popularity. They published a million copies of this last book.

Rebecca, Children's Librarian

Saints and Spinners said...

I too have been wondering about your opinions of Stephenie Meyer's TWILIGHT series. I don't know how authentic the portrayals of the Quileute are, but I did appreciate throughout the books that the Quileute characters are depicted in modern settings where the teenagers act like teenagers, not tokenistic representations of a cultural group.

Cheriee Weichel said...

I hope you found copies of these Debbie. I'm in the middle of reading this edition of Caribou Song from our local library. When searching to get the rest I discovered a newer version has been published with two changes. This newer version uses an informal dialect of Cree, and is illustrated by John Rombough, a Chipewyan Dene artist living in the Northwest Territories. The difference in the illustrations is startling. You might be interested in having a look at this version.