HighWater Press Fall Release Preview 2018

Fall 2018 Titles

Fall 2018 Titles

It’s time for our annual Fall Title Release Preview and the weather is making the thought of curling up with one of our new books easy! We have four new titles coming out before the end of the year and you can either order or pre-order all of them now. Check out the descriptions and let us know on social media what you’re most excited for! Click the links Facebook Instagram Twitter



Release date: September 12

Cole Harper is struggling to settle into life in Wounded Sky First Nation.

Monsters is the second novel in The Reckoner trilogy, a series by Governor General Award-winner, David A. Robertson.

Come to the launch at McNally Robinson on Tuesday, October 30th 2018. A portion of the book sales this evening will be donated to Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba.




A Girl Called Echo Vol. 2: Red River Resistance


Release date: November 15

Picking up where Pemmican Wars left off, Red River Resistance sees Echo Desjardins adjusting to her new home, finding friends, and learning about her Métis heritage.

Red River Resistance is volume two in the graphic novel series, A Girl Called Echo, by Governor General Award–winner Katherena Vermette.


Surviving The City

Release date: November 28


Tasha Spillet’s graphic-novel debut tells a story of kinship, resilience, cultural resurgence, and the anguish of a missing loved one.

Surviving the City is one book in The Debwe Series. Come check out the launch party at McNally Robinson Thursday, December 6th 2018.





Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock

Release date: Late Fall


This whimsical story celebrates the revitalization of Cree dialects and traditional methods of story telling.

Dallas Hunt is a teacher, writer, and member of Wapisewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta, Canada. As a proponent of language revitalization, his debut book for children, Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock, includes words in Cree. Dallas lives in Winnipeg and enjoys reading great books to his nieces and nephews.

Amanda Strong, a Michif, Indigenous filmmaker, media artist and stop motion director currently based out of the unceded Coast Salish territory also known as Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sign up for our eNewsletter for up-to-date information on Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock.


*All release dates are subject to change. 

Don’t forget to let us know what book you’re most excited for, we would love to hear from you!

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This Place: 150 Years Retold

Indigenous Creators Focal Point of New Graphic Novel Anthology

A new graphic novel anthology from HighWater Press will highlight Indigenous creators including David Alexander Robertson (2017 Governor General’s Literary Award, When We Were Alone), Katherena Vermette (2017 Burt Award, The Break) and Jennifer Storm (2017 CBC Manitoba Future 40).

Work-In-Progress Depiction of Fictional Rosie by GMB Chomichuk

Work-In-Progress Depiction of Fictional Rosie by GMB Chomichuk

Slated for print in 2019, This Place: 150 Years Retold will bring the last 150 years to life through Indigenous characters and stunning, full-colour graphic novel art. The writers represent a broad spectrum of Indigenous voices, communities, and experiences.

“This book is an opportunity to shine a light on the stories most Canadians haven’t heard, to learn from Indigenous communities from 1867 to present day – whether these stories are influenced by the creation of Canada or not,” said Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, acquisitions editor for HighWater Press and contributor to This Place. “I’m thrilled to be included among amazing writers like Katherena Vermette and Chelsea Vowel, who have been at the forefront of thought-provoking conversation surrounding Indigenous issues for years.”

Watch for both familiar stories and new creations: Annie Bannatyne, the Oka Crisis, and the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, along with a wendigo killer charged as a serial killer, and a futuristic look at current events from “Métis in Space.” An Inuk girl’s coming-of-age story is infused with magic realism while the Second World War rages in the backdrop.

Work-In-Progress Depiction of Francis Pegahmagabow by Natasha Donovan

Work-In-Progress Depiction of Francis Pegahmagabow by Natasha Donovan

To enjoy contributor interviews, details about the process, and a sneak peek at the stories, follow along on social media: Twitter (@PortageMainPres), Instagram (@highwaterpress), and Facebook (HighWater Press).

Please visit our media kit for contributor bios, headshots, and images from the book.


Contributors: Writers: Richard Van Camp, Chelsea Vowel, David Alexander Robertson, Jennifer Storm, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, Brandon Mitchell, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Katherena Vermette, and Sonny Assu; Artists: Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, Natasha Donovan, GMB Chomichuk, Scott B. Henderson, and Andrew Lodwick; Colour Artists: Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk (bios attached in media kit).


About the New Chapter initiative

This is one of 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. <http://canadacouncil.ca/initiatives/new-chapter>




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“When We Were Alone” wins GG Award

Congratulations to David Alexander Robertson and Julie Flett! When We Were Alone has won the Governor General’s Literary Award in the Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books category.

When We Were AloneWhen We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, a story of empowerment and strength. When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and wear beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where everything was taken away.

Learn more about When We Were Alone on our website.



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HighWater Press Fall Release Preview


There are so many things to look forward to when autumn rolls around – the leaves changing beautiful colours, hot drinks to sip, and new books from HighWater Press! We have four new titles coming out before the end of the year and you can pre-order all of them now. Check out the descriptions and let us know what you’re most excited for!


Release date: October 10

When Cole Harper is compelled to return to Wounded Sky First Nation, he finds his community in chaos: a series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and reemerging questions about Cole’s role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago. With the aid of an unhelpful spirit, a disfigured ghost, and his two oldest friends, Cole tries to figure out his purpose, and unravel the mysteries he left behind a decade ago. Will he find the answers in time to save his community?

Strangers is the first novel in The Reckoner, a series by David Alexander Robertson, award–winning writer and author of HighWater Press’ acclaimed children’s book When We Were Alone.

Nimoshom and his Bus

Release date: October 31

Nimoshom loved to drive the school bus. Every day, on the way to and from school, he had something to say. Sometimes, he told the kids silly stories. Sometimes, he taught the kids a new word in Cree.

Nimoshom and His Bus introduces basic Cree words. A glossary is included in the back of the book.

The Sockeye Mother

Release date: November 30

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the sockeye salmon is more than just a source of food. Over its life cycle, it nourishes the very land and forests that the Skeena River runs through and where the Gitxsan make their home. The Sockeye Mother explores how the animals, water, soil, and seasons are all intertwined.

A Girl Called Echo Vol. 1: Pemmican Wars

Release date: November 30

Echo Desjardins, a 13 year-old Métis girl, is struggling with her feelings of loneliness while adjusting to a new school and foster family. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican War.

Pemmican Wars is the first graphic novel in A Girl Called Echo, a series by Katherena Vermette, Governor General Award–winning writer and author of HighWater Press’ The Seven Teaching Stories.


All release dates are subject to change. 

Get Your Hands on Hands-On Science

Blog_HandsOnSciCan you smell that crisp, clean fall air? Or perhaps the freshly sharpened pencils? Is that you, back-to-school season?

Our favourite time of the year is here – time to pull on a sweater and fill your backpack with brand new books. Just in time for the season, we’re releasing new editions of Hands-On Science for Ontario, Grades 1-3! They’re rolling out (and shipping out) over the next month so you can have them for the new school year. We get a lot of questions about the different editions of Hands-On Science (with good reason – we have a lot of editions), so we decided to lay it all out so you can decide which edition is the best for you.

Ontario vs. WNCP editions – which will work for me?
The Ontario editions are designed specifically for Ontario curriculum. The WNCP editions (that’s Western and Northern Canadian Provinces) are more general and designed for widespread use throughout the country. You’re free to use whichever edition you want, of course – but they are more tailored to each of those regions.

New editions – coming soon!
If you’ve tried to order Hands-On Science for Ontario lately, you may have noticed that certain editions are unavailable or only available for pre-order. That’s because the new editions of Hands-On Science for Ontario are rolling out! Grade 1 and 2 are available for order now, Grade 3 will be available at the end of this month, and Grades 4-6 will be available early next year.

The new editions focus on and feature the following:

  • the components of an inquiry-based scientific and technological approach
  • Indigenous knowledge and perspective embedded in lesson plans
  • a four-part instructional process—activate, action, consolidate and debrief, and enhance
  • an emphasis on technology, sustainability, and differentiated instruction
  • a fully developed assessment plan that includes opportunities for assessment for, as, and of learning
  • a focus on real-life technological problem solving
  • learning centres that focus on multiple intelligences and universal design for learning (UDL)
  • land-based learning activities
  • a bank of science related images

Digital Reproducible Masters – Do I need them?
The digital reproducible masters are just the reproducible sections of Hands-On Science. We make it easy – no scanning in and copying, they come in a PDF form and you print the page out directly from your computer as you need it. These are designed as a companion to the lesson plans, and contain no lesson plans themselves.

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Best (Inside) Places to Read

IMG_8311Are you an indoor person? We can be too. It’s nice to be outside when it’s nice outside, but sometimes, enjoying the summer sun is impossible – it’s too hot, or it’s storming, or the bugs won’t stop landing on your page. Why not stay inside instead and enjoy the great indoors (and a good book)?

Here’s our list of our favourite places to snuggle up to the AC and turn pages in temperature-controlled comfort.

Catch up at a coffee shop
Hot drinks and books have been best friends since the dawn of time. Find a local coffee shop that’s cool with you staying for a while, grab your favourite latte (perhaps even in a real mug!), and hunker down in a cozy leather armchair to catch up on your reading.

We recommend Indigenous Writes – perfect for stimulating insightful conversation while catching up with your friends over a round of coffee.

Buy a new page-turner at a bookstore
This one might be obvious, but bookstores are the best place to find your new paper friend and take them home forever. Once you make a purchase, many stores invite you to stay for a while and explore your new books – perhaps at an in-house coffee shop or simply in a classic sturdy armchair. You might have to buy another book if you get caught up reading!

Build a blanket fort
Why go out? Pile your own bed or couch with your fluffiest pillows, softest blankets, and piles of your old favourites and hide away for a few hours. Make a rule for yourself: no phones, no computers, no screens – just you and your books. You might not want to leave!

This one is especially great if you have little ones – they can pick their favourites from the Seven Teachings Stories to bring with them to the fort!

Take a trip to the library
No budget? No problem! Your public library has thousands of titles waiting for you to read them for free. Libraries have changed a lot in the past few years – many of them have upgraded and you can search and reserve your titles online before you make a visit. But you can also do it the old-fashioned way – spend some time wandering the aisles and collect an arm-weakening pile of books to take home.

On your commute (as a passenger, of course)
There’s no better way to pass the time than with reading! Long weekends are the time for road trips, so when your driving shift is over and you’re sitting in the backseat, stretch out your legs (as much as you can) and pull out your summer read. Or if you’re traveling solo, listening to an audiobook (like The Evolution of Alice or April Raintree) can do the trick too!

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5 Summer Reading Necessities

PMPSummer_58BJuly is here, and that means it’s time to soak up the two hottest months of the northern hemisphere’s year. Summer is all about hitting the beach, going hiking, heading out to the lake and enjoying some well-deserved time off with your loved ones, but our favourite summer activity is crossing books off that ever-growing reading list. Here’s our list of the absolutely essential things you need to pack in your bookbag this summer.

A good pair of sunglasses
The sun is tough on your eyes, and it can be even tougher when the light rays bounce off the white pages of your book and right into your retinas. Even if you’re not staring into the sun, be sure to get a nice pair of sunnies (that match your bookbag, natch) so you can keep reading and relaxing for summers to come.

Reusable water bottle
Stay hydrated, people.

The perfect picnic blanket
To make your reading spot as comfortable as possible, remember to pack a thin, foldable blanket to spread out on the ground, or if it’s a breezy day, wrap around your shoulders. It’ll keep those new white shorts from getting grass stains.

Sunscreen with a high SPF
When you get lost in a good book, your mind wanders off and you lose track of time. It’s the best feeling in the world – but not if you’re in the blazing sun. Be sure to protect your skin so you don’t have to deal with that sore, flaky burn. Ouch!

Portage & Main Press’s summer reading bundle

You don’t want to go through your reading list too quickly, especially when half the fun is building it up. Get our three-book summer reading bundle – including Come Walk With Me, The Evolution of Alice, and The Stone Collection for only $50 and only this summer, including free shipping, right here.


Come Walk With Me:
In 1983, the book In Search of April Raintree was published to great acclaim, heralding the voice of an important new writer, Beatrice Mosionier (then Culleton). With honesty and clarity, Mosionier explored the story of two Métis sisters as they struggle with loss, identity, and racism. Yet readers have long asked: How much of April’s story comes from the author’s own life?

Come Walk With Me, Beatrice’s answer to that question, is a moving memoir that follows a bewildered three-year-old through a dramatic journey to adulthood. She recounts a life that, at times, parallels that of her most memorable fictional character, and at others, diverges from it. Mosionier searches to make sense of her losses—her sundered family, her innocence, and her dignity—to triumph as a woman and as a writer, fulfilled artistically, politically, and personally.

The Evolution of Alice: This haunting, emotionally resonant story delivers us into the world of Alice, a single mother raising her three young daughters on the rez where she grew up. Alice has never had an easy life, but has managed to get by with the support of her best friend, Gideon, and her family. When an unthinkable loss occurs, Alice is forced onto a different path, one that will challenge her belief in herself and the world she thought she knew. The Evolution of Alice is the kaleidoscopic story of one woman’s place within the web of community. Peopled with unforgettable characters and told from multiple points of view, this is a novel where spirits are alive, forgiveness is possible, and love is the only thing that matters.

The Stone Collection: In these 14 unique stories, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm takes on complex and dangerous emotions, exploring the gamut of modern Anishinaabe experience. Through unforgettable characters, these stories—about love and lust, suicide and survival, illness and wholeness—illuminate the strange workings of the human heart.

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50 Years of Books – Send Us Your Stories

May_2017aDid you know that when we started as Peguis Publishers in 1967, we were Manitoba’s first full-time publishing company? This year, we’re celebrating a half century of trailblazing, from publishing educational materials that help guide the next generation, to award-winning books from Indigenous authors that tell stories of inclusion and reconciliation.

We started fifty years ago as the brainchild of Winnipeg bookseller Mary Scorer after she realized that Manitoba didn’t have its own publishing company. She wanted to give Manitobans a voice both within and outside the province’s borders. The first work she published was a reprint of Women of Red River for the Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg, followed by her first original work, Four Recorders of Rupert’s Land by Roy St. George Stubbs. Peguis Publishers would also go on to publish books of poetry, including three volumes by young Manitoba poets, and one by Winnipeg Free Press book writer Thomas Saunders, Red River of the North.

Mary Dixon bought the company in 1985 and turned its focus to K-12 educational resources. During her time as owner, she won the Manitoba Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1993, and Peguis Publishers became Portage & Main Press in 2001.

Annalee Greenberg and Catherine Gerbasi bought P&M in 2007 and started HighWater Press, our trade imprint, which publishes books that portray a wide-ranging expression of Indigenous culture and experience. Our titles include a rich mix of novels, graphic novels, memoirs, and children’s books for readers of all ages.

We’re going to party like only we can – by reading a ton of books! We want you to celebrate with us, so stay tuned for special 50th anniversary sales and exclusive social media content (like us on Facebook!).

Do you have any special memories of Portage & Main Press or HighWater Press books? We want to hear about them! Send us your story at portageandmainpress50@gmail.com to be part of our anniversary celebrations.

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Coming soon! Indigenous Writes

From guest contributor, author Chelsea Vowel:

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada

At a NATO press conference in 2002, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was widely panned for saying: “Reports that say something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

As ridiculous as Rumsfeld sounded, I actually find his words to be immensely useful. I like to boil it down to a simpler version: there are known knowns, there are known unknowns, and there are unknown unknowns. I have been having the same conversations for the past 20 years. I challenge “known knowns” about Indigenous people – the myths and attitudes that so thoroughly permeate public perceptions and discourse. I answer the “known unknowns,” questions – like who has Indian status and who the Métis are. Most important, I try to get people to face the fact of “unknown unknowns” – the vast number of things people in Canada are simply unaware of when it comes to Indigenous peoples.

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada is my attempt to gather together these conversations and put them in an easily accessible place, with lots of resources to investigate further if a particular topic catches one’s fancy. Reading this book will give Canadians a basic understanding of Indigenous issues, finally allowing us all to have that “new conversation” so many people have been talking about.


Click here to pre-order your copy of Indigenous Writes.




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Inquiry – the teaching method where mistakes matter!

Coming soon – Bold School: An Inquiry Model to Transform Teaching

for all teachers

Did you know your brain rewires and makes new connections whenever you notice you have made a mistake and again when you correct a mistake? Each time you fail you provide feedback to your brain. Knowing this about the brain, we believe we should teach in a way that maximizes learning from mistakes, taking appropriate risks, as well as listening and learning from others. In the classroom, failing at something gives students the opportunity to reflect on what went wrong, what went well, and what changes need to be implemented in similar situations. In a way, we should be thankful for our mistakes, because they encourage us to be more curious and strengthen our thinking skills. Read More »

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