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The Grizzly Mother

By Hetxw’ms Gyetxw Brett D. Huson
Illustrated by Natasha Donovan
Series: Mothers of Xsan
Imprint: HighWater Press

Categories: Children's Nonfiction, Environmental Science & Ecosystems, Indigenous, Bears, Seasons
Big Ideas: Aspects of Indigenous Cultures, Worldviews, Teachings, and Protocols, STEM, Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, Life Cycles, Seasonal Cycles, Ecosystems
Cultures & Peoples: Gitxsan
Indigenous Languages: Gitxsanimx, Words or Phrases

Interest Age: 9–12
Grade: 4–6
Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell S, Lexile® Framework for Reading: 980L
Hardcover : 9781553797760, 32 pages, September 2019
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553797777, 32 pages, September 2019
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553797784, 32 pages, September 2019

Explore the life cycle of a grizzly bear in this engaging look at how an ecosystem’s animals, people, and seasons are intertwined.


Book two in the award-winning Mothers of Xsan series, The Grizzly Mother uses striking illustration and lyrical language to bring the poetry of the Xsan ecosystem to life.

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need to survive on their own.


  • Winner, Animal Behavior Society's Outstanding Children's Book Award 2020
  • Winner, Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Awards, Children's Illustration 2020
  • Short-listed, McNally Robinson Book for Young People 2020


Teachers! Get The Grizzly Mother for your classroom--and ask your librarian to get it on the library shelves, too! I highly recommend The Sockeye Mother and The Grizzly Mother published by HighWater Press. They are pitched at children in grades 5-7 but I think they can be used with younger children. And of course, picture books should be used with people of any age. Highly recommended!

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

Selected for the 2020 Outstanding International Books List

The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)

Selected as Middle Honor Book for the American Indian Youth Literature Award

American Indian Library Association

Selected for the Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2019 reading list, Informational Books for Older Readers

Chicago Public Library

A lyrically poetic text, it delivers a wealth of information on the lives of grizzlies and the ecosystem they are part of, making this an invaluable introduction to the way we are all connected.

Jeffrey Canton, The Globe and Mail

This is a gorgeous book. Recommended.

School Library Journal

Anchored in the culture of the Gitxsan Nation, this spellbinding account of a grizzly bear’s first few years with her cubs is the second title in the Mothers of Xsan series. Saturated with ocher hues and expressively detailed with black line, Donovan’s illustrations amplify the text’s lyricism with nuanced perspectives.

Publishers Weekly, starred review