Your cart is empty.

Heart Berry Bling

By Jenny Kay Dupuis
Illustrated by Eva Campbell
Imprint: HighWater Press

Categories: Children's Fiction, Indigenous, Values & Virtues, Prejudice & Racism, Multigenerational
Big Ideas: Aspects of Indigenous Cultures, Traditional Art, Traditional Foods, Contemporary Setting, Social Emotional Learning, Self-Esteem and Self-Reliance, Social Justice, Discrimination, Indian Act, Strong Female Characters
Cultures & Peoples: Anishinaabeg

Interest Age: 6–8
Grade: 1–3
Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell O, Lexile® Framework for Reading: 720L
Hardcover : 9781774920558, 48 pages, May 2023
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781774920589, 48 pages, June 2023
Ebook (PDF) : 9781774920596, 48 pages, June 2023

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.


  • Winner, CBC Favorites Awards 2023
  • Commended, Bookstagang Best of 2023 Picture Book Awards 2023


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

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

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

We need books from writers like Jenny Kay Dupuis--people whose families hold ... brutal realities in their memory as something they lived through--and people across North America have so much learning to do about Native life and history, and about authenticity of storyteller and storytelling. Quite magnificent….Highly recommended.

Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL)

Heart Berry Bling teaches Indigenous realities and culture while warming the human heart.

Kelly Anne Smith, Anishinabek News

Touches on the emotional aspects of beading as well as a few technical skills! All this weaved into a visit between a girl and her grandmother, with a sprinkling of Canadian history, women's rights, and the importance of perseverance. Great for a read aloud for older students to introduce some of the unfair treatments [of] Indigenous Peoples in North America.

Mary Hazel, Classroom Content Curator, Follett Learning

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

This is a really simple story with [a] really powerful meaning underneath it. This story is so important. This book...does a great job of highlighting the importance of passing down tradition and cultural practices and will start a really great conversation in your classroom.

49th Kids, Top Grade CanLit for the Classroom

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, author of "My Heart Fills With Happiness"

Among recommendations for new picture books to share and discuss with young readers.

Spencer Miller, Candian Children's Book News

Eva Campbell’s richly detailed illustrations and warm colour palette perfectly capture the loving relationship between Maggie and her granny. Heart Berry Bling is both a gentle introduction for readers who are not already familiar with the [Indian] Act, and a validation for those impacted by it. The book is an excellent educational resource for teachers, librarians, and parents looking to enrich collections of books about Indigenous histories in Canada.

Quill & Quire

Among Bookstagang Best of 2023 Picture Book Awards


Among Rise: A Feminist Book Project 2024 Booklist

Rise: A Feminist Book Project

Among AICL's Year in Review, Best Books of 2023

American Indians in Children's Literature