Authentic Indigenous Content for Ages 13–18

With the new school year just around the corner, we’ve heard from teachers like you looking to include Indigenous perspectives in your curriculum.

Grades 7–12 are tumultuous years for all students, and a time when kids are especially vulnerable to bias. These titles help Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth process tough concepts while offering a more multi-dimensional understanding of Canada.

Incorporate great literature from Indigenous authors into your lessons with the list below.

Surviving the City series

For ages 12-18
Written by Tasha Spillett-Sumner
Illustrated by Natasha Donovan

High school is tough enough. On top of class work, best friends Miikwan and Dez struggle with grief for missing family members, the death of a grandparent, placement in a group home, navigating a first love, and coming into their identities, as well as being at odds with each other from time to time. Together, the teens face the challenges of growing up Indigenous in an urban landscape, and learn to look to their communities and the spirits of their ancestors for support.

Surviving the City and From the Roots Up deal with the racism and discrimination experienced by Indigenous and Two-Spirit teens. These eye-opening graphic novels are written by award-winning author Tasha Spillett-Sumner with captivating artwork by Natasha Donovan

Order your copies here.

 

The Reckoner Trilogy
for ages 12-18
By David A. Robertson

Cole Harper is the hero Wounded Sky First Nation needs. In David A. Robertson’s page-turning trilogy, Cole and his friends must fight against the mysterious evils that threaten their community. 

With a brilliant portrayal of what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder, The Reckoner trilogy can help spark a discussion on mental health. The three books—Strangers, Monsters, and Ghosts—are a superhero origin story like nothing you’ve read before. Watch for the forthcoming graphic novel series that continues the story.

Once you meet Cole Harper, you won’t want to rest until you’ve learned what happened at  Wounded Sky First Nation. Start with the first book today.

Also available as audiobooks on our website or from your favourite online retailer.

 


The Reckoner Rises series
for ages 12-18
By David A. Robertson
Illustrated by Scott B. Henderson
Colour by Donovan Yaciuk

Acclaimed writer, David A. Robertson, delivers again with suspense, adventure, and humour in this stunningly illustrated graphic novel continuation of The Reckoner trilogy.

Breakdown (Volume 1) picks up the story after the events in Wounded Sky First Nation. Cole and Eva arrive in Winnipeg, the headquarters of Mihko Laboratories, intent on destroying the company once and for all. However, their plans are thwarted when a new threat surfaces. When Cole is mired in terrifying visions, Eva must harness her newly discovered powers to investigate Mihko without him. Are Cole’s visions just troubled dreams or are they leading him to a horrible truth? 

Perfect for superhero fans, The Bloodhound Gang returns in this all-new graphic novel series, The Reckoner Rises!

 

I Will See You Again
for ages 12 and Up
By Lisa Boivin

Presenting “a fresh understanding of death and grief” (Publishers Weekly), this book is a breathtaking journey through art, loss, and love from interdisciplinary artist and bioethicist Lisa Boivin.

When the author learns of the death of her brother overseas, she embarks on a journey to bring him home. Through memories and dreams of all they shared together, and through her Dene traditions, she finds comfort and strength. 

The lyrical art and story leave readers with a universal message of hope and love.

Get your copy here.

This book also has a reader’s guide for teachers, parents, and communities to help guide discussions and lesson planning. 

 

Perception: A Photo Series
for ages 16+
By KC Adams

After a racist, high-profile social media post surfaced in artist KC Adams’s hometown, she decided to challenge people to “look, then look again” at Winnipeg’s Indigenous people. This brilliant collection of portraits was first displayed on billboards, buildings, and bus shelters around the city. Each image aims to replace dehumanizing assumptions with positive truths about the subjects’ identities.

With a foreword by Katherena Vermette and a critical essay by Cathy Mattes, Perception is a valuable resource for dismantling stereotypes and guiding conversations about bias and racism.

Look for yourself—then look again—by ordering Perception in hardcover. Download a copy of the free Teacher Guide here


A Girl Called Echo series
for ages 11-15
Written by Katherena Vermette
Illustrated by Scott B. Henderson
Colour by Donovan Yaciuk


When we first meet thirteen-year-old Echo Desjardins, she is adjusting to her new reality: separated from her mother, living in a new foster home, and navigating the first few days of middle school. Everyday life is hard enough—but she can’t stop slipping back and forth in time. In this graphic novel series, Echo struggles to make sense of the present while learning more about her Métis heritage. 

With absolutely stunning artwork by Scott B. Henderson and Donovan Yaciuk, author Katherena Vermette’s series brings the history of the Métis Nation to life. 

Three graphic novels in the series, Pemmican Wars, Red River Resistance, and Northwest Resistance, are available now. 

Follow us @PortageMainPres for updates about the final volume The Road Allowance Era, slated for release in spring 2021.


This Place: 150 Years Retold
for ages 15+

Indigenous broadcaster and film critic Jesse Wente has called This Place: 150 Years Retold  “the graphic novel I’ve waited for my whole life, and the graphic novel Canada has needed for 150 years.” 

This Place is a groundbreaking graphic novel anthology that re-frames Canada’s history, present, and future through the perspectives of Indigenous writers. Through the anthology’s 10 beautifully illustrated stories,  readers will encounter Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and even time travel.

Get a new perspective on the past 150 years—and beyond—by ordering your copy today.

Include this book in your lesson plans this fall with ideas from the teacher guide

What are your favourite books to use with your students? Tell us in the comments! 

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