The best books about the Cree

1 authors have picked their favorite books about the Cree and why they recommend each book. Soon, you will be able to filter this list by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books.

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Book cover of Black Bear Red Fox (Colours in Cree)

Black Bear Red Fox (Colours in Cree)

By Julie Flett,

Why this book?

Black Bear, Red Fox is a board book introducing colours in both English and Cree using animals and plants. Julie Flett’s lush, vibrant illustrations highlight the colours so vividly they seem to pop off the page. Board books are associated with very young children, however, this one can be enjoyed by anyone who is interested in learning some words in Cree while enjoying some beautiful artwork. Arden Ogg of the Cree Literacy Network provides an interesting and informative introduction about the use of colour words in the Cree language. There is also a helpful pronunciation chart. If you are looking…
From the list:

The best books featuring animal friends and creative, artful illustrations

Book cover of We All Play

We All Play

By Julie Flett,

Why this book?

We All Play is a gorgeously simple book that celebrates the ways in which animals and children move. Bear cubs wiggle and wobble, and so do children! A few Cree words are sprinkled throughout, drawing attention to the connection among all living creatures. From start to finish, this book takes place outside.

From the list:

The best children’s picture books about playing outside

Book cover of When We Were Alone

When We Were Alone

By David A. Robertson, Julie Flett (illustrator),

Why this book?

This book is a conversation between a grandchild and their grandma who is a residential school survivor. With childlike simplicity, grandma explains why her colourful clothes, long hair, and treasured time with her brother are a reaction to being taken “from community” and being sent “far far away”. Grandma talks about students forced to wear uniforms, cut their hair, forbidden from speaking Cree, and separation from her brother.

This is a book I would probably have steered clear of “not wanting to frighten my children” when I was parenting, David Roberson does a masterful job of gently laying out facts…

From the list:

The best books I wish I could have read to my children & ones I would read to them again

Book cover of Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory

Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory

By David A. Robertson,

Why this book?

David Robertson is well known as an author for young readers, with two stunning picture books, a pile of graphic novels, and several amazing middle-grade novels to his name. All of those are also amazing! Yep, all of them. This book is the memoir of his experiences growing up in Canada, all explored through the lens of visiting his father’s trapline. Although a Swampy Cree man, he was initially taught to hide his identity, and what I most love about this work and all of Robertson’s work, is how his sense of identity now roots all of his writing. His…

From the list:

The best books to explore brilliant writing from Canada

Book cover of Almighty Voice and His Wife

Almighty Voice and His Wife

By Daniel David Moses,

Why this book?

A historical play that tells the story of a single Cree warrior doing battle with the Canadian military. Each of the two acts approaches the story differently. The first is more linear and poetic, the second more lyrical and surreal. Many have said they loved the first act and hated the second. And vice versa. Whatever you may feel, an excellent exploration of colonization as seen through the eyes of a poet.

From the list:

The best Indigenous plays that give the audience a window into the people and community

Book cover of Five Little Indians

Five Little Indians

By Michelle Good,

Why this book?

This is a story of children torn from their homes and forced to live in the horrific conditions of residential schools. Imprisoned and away from the love and protection of families and communities, many were abused for years by people whose words may have preached God’s love but whose actions demonstrated darker intentions. A few children managed to escape while many others were carelessly released to the unforgiving streets of east Vancouver where some managed to navigate their way through life while others succumbed to the demons that haunted them.

Having personally seen the impact this has had on people…

From the list:

The best Canadian historical fiction with strong female characters

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