Your cart is empty.

Learning to Carve Argillite

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

Categories: Children's Fiction, Indigenous, Art & Architecture, Multigenerational, School & Education
Big Ideas: Aspects of Indigenous Cultures, Totem Pole, Traditional Art, Contemporary Setting
Cultures & Peoples: Haida

Interest Age: 6–8
Grade: 1–3
Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell P, Lexile® Framework for Reading: AD920L
Hardcover : 9781553799849, 40 pages, September 2021
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553799856, 32 pages, November 2021
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553799863, 32 pages, November 2021

While practicing to become a skillful carver, a Haida boy learns important life lessons from his Elders.


Based on Haida artist Robert Davidson's own childhood experiences, this beautiful story highlights learning through observation, as well as the role of Elders in sharing knowledge and mentorship.

Learning to carve is a lifelong journey. With the help of his father and grandfather, a boy on Haida Gwaii practises to become a skillful carver. As he carefully works on a new piece, he remembers a trip to Slatechuck Mountain to gather the argillite, as well as his father’s words about the importance of looking back to help us find our way.

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


  • Long-listed, First Nations Communities READ 2022


A quiet, beautiful meditation on how traditions are kept alive by passing them down from one generation to the next, by remembering the ways things were so we can more clearly see the way things can be. Shaped by youth, under the watchful guidance of Elders, like etchings in argillite.

David A. Robertson

Davidson and Davidson's story is a snapshot of a memory that cohesively and effectively expresses a childhood embedded in love, in family, in tradition, and in art. The artwork is beautiful and thoughtful, often requiring second and third looks to pick up hidden details as the colours and flow of the images draw the eye over the pages. Highly recommended.

CM Association

The concept of intergenerational learning is woven into the books in both obvious and subtle ways.

Quill & Quire

Among OLA's First Nations Communities READ Longlist, Children's Category

Ontario Library Association (OLA)

Among CCBC's Best Books for Kids and Teens

Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC)

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

IBBY Canada