- Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award nominee
- Commended, CCBC Best Books
- Winner, Quebec Writers' Federation Literature Prize winner
- Commended, PSLA Top Forty
Aneze, a young Aboriginal girl, is left for dead after her village is ripped apart by a wife-raid; her father and brother are killed and her mother is kidnapped. Aneze is the only survivor. She renames herself Orphan Ahwak as she struggles to survive on her own, first in the forest and then in a remote world of tundra and sea-ice. She endures cold and hunger and befriends people whose customs are completely foreign to her. Through it all she remains determined to become a hunter and to find a place in an often hostile and terrifying world.close this panel
"A hunter knows he is never alone." She had heard Father say that once.
Aneze looked into the trees. She spoke out loud to the bush. "There's always you, Chickadee," she said to the small birds skittering above. "And if I stare long enough at the sky, I'll see you, Eagle, circling with your wife. You will show me where Rabbit and Vole are hiding. And nearby in the stream, you are swimming, Jackfish. And you, Beaver, you are working on your house."
"You see," Aneze told the woods. "I'm not alone at all."
"A skilful blend of fact and fiction, Rivera fashions a mesmerizing page-turner that is filled with many touches of early aboriginal life."
"The author's biggest achievements in this work are two-fold: her creation of a character who portrays the strength of the human spirit, and her ability to immerse us into a foreign world so completely that we miss it when it's gone."
"Aneze's adventures, and the folklore woven through the story, will appeal to both boys and girls."
"Rivera skillfully interweaves fact and imagination. This little story is a true gem."
"Charming...full of adventure and atmosphere."
"Orphan Ahwak features a female protagonist who is strong and resilient."
"Rivera has written this story with touches of humor and tenderness."