Your cart is empty.

Pemmican Wars

By Katherena Vermette
Illustrated by Scott B. Henderson & Donovan Yaciuk
Series: A Girl Called Echo
Imprint: HighWater Press

Categories: Young Adult Fiction, Canada, Orphans & Foster Homes
Big Ideas: Authentic Indigenous History, Contemporary Setting, Social Justice, Discrimination, Impacts of Colonization and Colonialism, Prejudice and Racism, Strong Female Characters
Cultures & Peoples: Métis

Interest Age: 12+
Grade: 8–12
Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell Y, Lexile® Framework for Reading: HL500L
Paperback : 9781553796787, 48 pages, November 2017
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553797357, 48 pages, December 2017
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553797364, 48 pages, December 2017

Explore the events leading up to the Battle of Seven Oaks in the first installment of the A Girl Called Echo series.


Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl adjusting to a new home and school, is struggling with loneliness while separated from her mother. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars.

Pemmican Wars is the first graphic novel in a new series, A Girl Called Echo, by Governor General Award–winning writer, and author of Highwater Press’ The Seven Teaching Stories, Katherena Vermette.


  • Nominated, In The Margins Fiction Recommended Book List 2019
  • Winner, Prix Aurora-Boréal, Meilleure bande dessinée 2022


Henderson’s realistic art and perfect pacing, particularly in the pages of wordless panels depicting Echo’s daily routine, highlight her silent nature and hint at the source of her unspoken sadness. Solitary teens are likely to strongly identify with Echo and look forward to more of her adventures.


In this YA graphic novel, an alienated Métis girl learns about her people’s Canadian history. [. ..] A sparse, beautifully drawn story about a teen discovering her heritage.

Kirkus Reviews

Vermette expertly juxtaposes the isolation of an aboriginal teen in the current day with the emphasis on working together in traditional Métis communities. Henderson’s artwork and Yaciuk’s colours help to emphasize the differences between the past and present, as gorgeous prairie panoramas in vibrant hues contrast with crowded, dingy hallways and buses. [. ..] This reviewer is eagerly awaiting the second volume of the series.

Roseanne Gauthier, National Reading Campaign

The carefully constructed panels and sparse, meaningful dialogue skillfully remind us the past is never truly in the past but constantly living with us in the present. A Girl Called Echo is a series to watch.

Alicia Elliott, THIS Magazine

Recognition is due Katherena Vermette’s collaborators on Echo – illustrator Scott B. Henderson and color artist Donovan Yaciuk. Because Echo speaks so seldom, it’s on the illustrations to convey key details about her life. And they do so with subtlety and grace! 

Jean Mendoza, American Indians in Children's Literature

Strong use of comics technique, a unique examination of a fascinating time of history, and the thoughtful narration by an aboriginal teen make this a must-read and a strong classroom or library choice.

Meghann Meeusen, VOYA Magazine

...feelings of alienation, of loneliness, of not belonging, either at home or at school, are experienced by both genders and those teens – male or female - who eat their lunch alone and wander the halls without friends will understand Echo's plight. Recommended.

Joanne Peters, CM Magazine