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Heart Berry Bling

By Jenny Kay Dupuis
Illustrated by Eva Campbell
Categories: Children's Fiction, Indigenous, Values & Virtues, Prejudice & Racism, Multigenerational
Imprint: HighWater Press

Interest Age: 6–8
Grade: 1–3
Hardcover : 9781774920558, 48 pages, May 2023
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781774920589, 48 pages, June 2023
Ebook (PDF) : 9781774920596, 48 pages, June 2023
Expected to ship: 2023-05-09
Ebook (EPUB) - Unavailable
Ebook (PDF) - Unavailable

A touching story about perseverance, family, and the tradition of beading from the bestselling co-author of I Am Not a Number.


On a visit to her granny, Maggie is excited to begin her first-ever beading project: a pair of strawberry earrings. However, beading is much harder than she expected! As they work side by side, Granny shares how beading helped her persevere and stay connected to her Anishinaabe culture when she lost her Indian status, forcing her out of her home community—all because she married someone without status, something the men of her community could do freely.

As she learns about patience and perseverance from her granny’s teachings, Maggie discovers that beading is a journey, and like every journey, it’s easier with a loved one at her side.

In this beautifully illustrated book, children learn about the tradition of Anishinaabe beadwork, strawberry teachings, and gender discrimination in the Indian Act.


Heart Berry Bling is a soulful children’s story that reminds readers of not only the importance of family and culture, but also the generational harm caused by laws against Indigenous Peoples. In this tale of a young Anishinaabe girl who finds out how her own family was negatively impacted by the Indian Act, Jenny Kay Dupuis has created an important text for anyone learning of the erased ancestral stories from and about Indigenous Peoples.

John P. Broome, Purdue University

Social justice messages lie at the heart of many children’s and YA books with Indigenous authorship. The picture book Heart Berry Bling (HighWater, May), written by Jenny Kay Dupuis, a member of the Nipissing First Nation, and illustrated by Ghana-born artist Eva Campbell, shares the tradition of Anishinaabe beadwork and highlights the experiences of women, including the author’s grandmother, who lost their First Nations status due to Canada’s Indian Act.

Publishers Weekly

A delightful story.

Anishnabek News

This title stimulates the senses as the reader experiences impressions of colour, sound, touch, scent and taste through the keenly observed descriptive text and the accompanying illustrations. Text and illustrations meld together perfectly. It is a deceptively simple story of love that also draws attention to injustices of which most non-indigenous people are unaware. A great addition to all collections. Highly Recommended

CM Magazine

A beautifully written and illustrated story that seamlessly weaves connection to family, history, culture, and joy. Heart Berry Bling is a gorgeous and important contribution to literature for all children and families.

Monique Gray Smith mistikwashkihkos, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults

Heart Berry Bling seamlessly threads together history with cultural teachings and practices, like the beads Granny and Maggie patiently stitch to share their story. The story's calm beauty is perfectly matched with soft, warm illustrations. This is a wonderful and impressive follow-up to I Am Not a Number.

David A. Robertson, Governor General's Award-winner