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We Dream Medicine Dreams

By (artist) Lisa Boivin
Imprint: HighWater Press

Categories: Children's Fiction, Indigenous, Death & Dying, Bedtime & Dreams
Big Ideas: Aspects of Indigenous Cultures, Worldviews, Teachings, and Protocols, Spirituality and Ceremony, Contemporary Setting, Social Emotional Learning, Character Education, Death, Grief, and Bereavement

Interest Age: 6–8
Grade: 1–3
Reading Level: Fountas & Pinnell Q, Lexile® Framework for Reading: HL600L
Hardcover : 9781553799870, 48 pages, April 2021
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553799887, 48 pages, May 2021
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553799894, 48 pages, May 2021

A gentle story about life and death that will touch the hearts of children and adults alike.


From Dene artist and bioethicist Lisa Boivin comes this healing story of hope, dreams, and the special bond between grandfather and granddaughter.

When a little girl dreams about a bear, her grandfather explains how we connect with the knowledge of our ancestors through dreams. Bear, Hawk, Caribou, and Wolf all have teachings to share to help us live a good life. But when Grampa gets sick and falls into a coma, the little girl must lean on his teachings as she learns to say goodbye.

Masterful prose and stunning collage weave a gentle story about animal teachings, the power of dreams, and the death of a loved one.


  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award 2022
  • Long-listed, First Nations Communities READ 2022
  • Short-listed, Indigenous Voices Awards, Published Graphic Novels, Comics, and Illustrated Books 2022
  • Short-listed, Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Awards, Children’s Illustration 2022
  • Short-listed, Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year 2022
  • Winner, Co-winner of the First Nation Communities READ PMC Indigenous Literature Award, Children’s Category 2022


How we deal with loss, and the personal, cultural, and community ways we do that, is an urgent issue. Lisa Boivin's work is as soulful and compelling as it is beautiful!

Dr. Allison Crawford

A moving and insightful picture book honouring the enduring relationship between a child and her grandfather. Boivin's exquisite, digitally created collages are luxuriantly alive with colour, pattern, and texture.

Quill & Quire, a starred review

The illustrations are a bright and colourful collage, full of depth. texture and pattern. The illustrations not only help serve to tell the story, but also demonstrate the warmth and beauty in nature, connection, and the medicine all around us. Highly recommended for home and public libraries.

Canadian Children's Book News

In We Dream Medicine Dreams, Lisa Boivin uses her powerful words and pictures to show us natural laws and teachings. These teachings about the medicine power of dreams, family, loss, and connection resonate with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. In sharing these teachings with us, Lisa has given all those that read her book a great gift that allows the ancestors to speak with our children. This little book full of stories and teachings, which are the core of who we are, will bring us back to our ancestral selves. I encourage everyone, young and old, to spend an evening with this charming masterpiece – you will not regret it.

The Honourable Yvonne Boyer, J.D., L.L.M., L.L.D.

We Dream Medicine Dreams is a beautiful depiction of Indigenous kinship and healing. It reminds us of how our cultural teachings and relationships with family and the land are acts of everyday ceremony and revitalization. The vivid collages that illustrate the book remind us of the beauty and wellbeing to be found in the natural world and how these elements contrast with the fear and discomfort that can be felt in Western health care systems. This is a story of how our holistic ways of knowing bring us comfort in times of grief and challenge and keep us forever connected to those we love.

Jaime Cidro, Canada Research Chair in Health and Culture, University of Winnipeg

Boivin’s thoughtful story is exquisitely complemented by stunning collage illustrations.

The Globe and Mail

Among USBBY 2022 Outstanding International Books List


Among OLA Best Bets Top Ten, Junior Picture Book

OLA Best Bets

I highly recommend this book. Not only did I love the incredible illustrations, which would definitely appeal to children, I also loved how this gentle story would be a great starting point when talking to children in a classroom about family loss, death and grief. In social studies, students can also use the book as a starting point when exploring animal teachings and the power of dreams in Indigenous cultures. We Dream Medicine Dreams would be a wonderful addition to a classroom library or to use as a read aloud.

ETFO Voice