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Dancing With Our Ancestors

By Sara Florence Davidson & Robert Davidson
Illustrated by Janine Gibbons
Series: Sk'ad'a Stories Series
Imprint: HighWater Press

Categories: Children's Fiction, Indigenous, Multigenerational, Dance, Death & Dying
Big Ideas: Aspects of Indigenous Cultures, Potlatch, Traditional Art, Traditional Clothing, Contemporary Setting, Social Justice, Impacts of Colonization and Colonialism, Indian Act
Cultures & Peoples: Haida
Indigenous Languages: Haida, Words or Phrases

Interest Age: 6–8
Grade: 1–3
Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell S, Lexile® Framework for Reading: 950L
Hardcover : 9781774920244, 40 pages, September 2022
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781774920251, 40 pages, October 2022
Ebook (PDF) : 9781774920268, 40 pages, October 2022

Learn about the cultural significance of the Haida potlatch through the sights, sounds, and dances of this once-banned ceremony.


In this tender picture book, Sara Florence Davidson transports readers to the excitement of a potlatch in Hydaburg, Alaska—her last memory of dancing with her late brother.

It feels like my brother and I have always known how to sing the songs and dance the dances of our Haida ancestors. Unlike our father, we were born after the laws that banned our cultural practices were changed. The potlatch ban did not exist during our time, so we grew up dancing and singing side by side.

The invitations have been sent. The food has been prepared. The decorations have been hung. And now the day of the potlatch has finally arrived! Guests from all over come to witness this bittersweet but joyful celebration of Haida culture and community.

Written by the creators of Potlatch as Pedagogy, this book brings the Sk'ad'a Principles to life through the art of Janine Gibbons.


  • Short-listed, Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher 2023
  • Long-listed, PMC Indigenous Literature Award 2023
  • Short-listed, First Nations Communities READ Award 2023


The colorful, painted illustrations set a festive tone while the text also teaches that there were once laws banning these celebrations. The celebratory book will find a ready home in public library and elementary school library shelves, and anywhere looking to expand picture book knowledge of Indigenous cultures.

Carrie Voliva, School Library Journal

Among Quill & Quire's Fall Preview: Books for Young People – Picture Books

Quill & Quire, Quill & Quire

Each of the four books documents a different day in the authors’ lives, including learning to carve argillite and fishing on the Yakoun River. Along the way, they immerse the reader in an Indigenous approach to teaching and learning. The collection really honours the people in the stories.

Kaitlyn Bailey, Vancouver Sun

A Globe and Mail top 10 kids' book of 2022

The Globe and Mail

Among American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) Best Books 2022

American Indians in Children's Literature

The book is exciting, powerful, and educational for readers.

Alex Hebert, Anishinabek News

Among IBBY Canada's 2020-2022 From Sea to Sea to Sea: Celebrating Indigenous Picture Book Collection

IBBY Canada

Among CCBC's Best Books for Kids & Teens 2023