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A Blanket of Butterflies

By Richard Van Camp
Illustrated by Scott B. Henderson, Donovan Yaciuk, and Nickolej Villiger
Categories: Young Adult Fiction, Diversity & Multicultural, Aboriginal & Indigenous, Death & Dying, War & Military
Series: The Spirit of Denendeh
Imprint: HighWater Press

Interest Age: 15–18
Grade: 9–12
Paperback : 9781774920404, 56 pages, September 2022
Ebook (PDF) : 9781774920435, 56 pages, October 2022
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781774920428, 56 pages, October 2022
Expected to ship: 2022-10-06
Expected to ship: 2022-10-06

In this Eisner-nominated adventure, a Tłı̨chǫ Dene boy and his grandmother help a Japanese man reclaim his grandfather’s lost samurai sword and armour. Now in full colour!


No one knows how a suit of samurai armour ended up in the Fort Smith museum. When a mysterious stranger turns up to claim it, Sonny, a young Tłı̨chǫ Dene boy, is eager to help.

Shinobu has travelled to Fort Smith, NWT, to reclaim his grandfather’s samurai sword and armour. But when he discovers that the sword was lost in a poker game, he must confront the man known as Benny the Bank. Along the way, Shinobu must rely on unlikely heroes—Sonny, his grandmother, and a visitor from the spirit world. Together, they face Benny and his men, including the giant they call Flinch.

Will Shinobu be able to regain the lost sword and, with it, his family’s honour? Can Sonny and his grandmother help Shinobu while keeping the peace in their community?

Now in full colour, this new edition includes additional background information and cultural context. Learn about the real-life inspiration behind the story and the intersections between Indigenous and Japanese Canadian experiences during the Second World War.


Get a copy of A Blanket of Butterflies for your library or classroom, or for your own young readers. I really like it and highly recommend it.

Debbie Reese, AICL

The pace of the novel, as well as the balance between text and image, [are] particularly satisfying.

Karyn Huenemann, There Will Be Books Blog

A powerful and emotional book. Five stars.

My Book Abyss

A Blanket of Butterflies is a great addition to a high school library's graphic novel collection, a good choice as a supplemental novel for high school English classes, and certainly a must for any Indigenous studies class. Recommended.

Joanne Peters, CM Reviews