Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
No one knows how a suit of samurai armour ended up in the Fort Smith museum. When a mysterious stranger turns up to claim it, Sonny, a young Tłı̨chǫ Dene boy, is eager to help.
Shinobu has travelled to Fort Smith, NWT, to reclaim his grandfather’s samurai sword and armour. But when he discovers that the sword was lost in a poker game, he must confront the man known as Benny the Bank. Along the way, Shinobu must rely on unlikely heroes—Sonny, his grandmother, and a visitor from the spirit world. Together, they face Benny and his men, including the giant they call Flinch.
Will Shinobu be able to regain the lost sword and, with it, his family’s honour? Can Sonny and his grandmother help Shinobu while keeping the peace in their community?
Now in full colour, this new edition includes additional background information and cultural context. Learn about the real-life inspiration behind the story and the intersections between Indigenous and Japanese Canadian experiences during the Second World War.
About the authors
Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, NWT.He is a graduate of the En'owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria's Creative Writing BFA Program, and the Master's Degree in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a movie with First Generation Films and premiered in September of 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is the author of four collections of short stories, Angel Wing Splash Pattern, The Moon of Letting Go, Godless but Loyal to Heaven and Night Moves, as well as two children's books with Cree artist, George Littlechild: A Man Called Raven and What's the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses?His first baby book, Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, was the official selection of the Books for BC Babies program and was given to every newborn baby in British Columbia in 2008. Richard followed this up with another board book: Nighty-Night: A Bedtime Song for Babies. His third book for babies, Little You, is now out with Orca Book Publishers. The amazing Julie Flett is the artist. Little You is published in Bush Cree, Dene and South Slavey, courtesy of the South Slave Divisional Board of Education. His new book for babies with Julie Flett is called "We Sang You Home" and it is gorgeous!All of Richard Van Camp's children's books are available in Braille for free, anywhere in the world, courtesy of the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired (PRCVI) and Accessible Resource Centre-British Columbia (ARC-BC)Richard has six graphic novels and comic books out: his first comic book on deterring youth away from gangs, Path of the Warrior, is published with Cree artist, Steve Sanderson, through the Healthy Aboriginal Network. His second comic book on sexual health is Kiss Me Deadly, with Haida artist Chris Auchter. His four graphic novels are Three Feathers (published in Bush Cree, Dene, South Slavey and English, illustrated by Krystal Mateus, on restorative justice; The Eisner Award Nominated A Blanket of Butterflies, on the theme of peace making, illustrated by Scott Henderson, The Blue Raven, illustrated by Steve Sanderson on mental health, and Spirit, a suicide prevention comic book illustrated by Emily Brown (which is also published in Bush Cree, Dene, and South Slavey and English).
Scott Henderson (he/him/his) is author/illustrator of the sci-fi/fantasy comic, The Chronicles of Era and has illustrated select titles in the Canadian Air Force’s For Valour series and Tales From Big Spirit series, the graphic novel series 7 Generations and A Girl Called Echo, select stories in This Place: 150 Years Retold, Fire Starters, an AIYLA Honour Book, and Eisner-award nominee, A Blanket of Butterflies. In 2016, he was the recipient of the C4 Central Canada Comic Con Storyteller Award. https://scotthendersonart.wordpress.com/
Since 1998, Donovan Yaciuk (he/him/his) has done colouring work on books published by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse comics, and High Water Press including A Girl Called Echo and Breakdown: Reckoner Rises series and This Place: 150 Years Retold. Donovan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Manitoba and began his career as a part of the legendary, now-defunct Digital Chameleon colouring studio. He lives in Winnipeg, MB Canada, with his wife and two daughters.
Nickolej Villiger (he/him/his) is a visual artist focusing on comic books and illustration. Nickolej is also a musician and has composed, produced, and arranged for video games and film. Dedicated to his family and fans of his work, he is most fulfilled when creating something that is uniquely his own, unfettered and unobstructed by the outside world. Nickolej lives and works in Lethbridge, Alberta.
- Long-listed, First Nation Communities READ
- Short-listed, First Nation Communities READ Award
A Blanket of Butterflies is a great addition to a high school library's graphic novel collection, a good choice as a supplemental novel for high school English classes, and certainly a must for any Indigenous studies class. Recommended.
The connections are mind-blowing...a beautiful book...a fascinating story.
The Next Chapter
The story and messages of honor, respect, peace, and human connection are powerful and moving. Valuable cultural and historical insights...support the story.
Among CBC Books The Best Canadian Comics of 2022
Among CBC Books 22 Canadian comics we can't wait to read this fall
Nominated for YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens List for 2024
Young Adult Library Association
A Blanket of Butterflies is a powerful tribute to the ways that different peoples’ cultures and histories have crossed and become connected throughout history. This book has stunning and intricately crafted action sequences.
This beautiful new edition, illustrated in full colour for the first time, tells the story of a young Dene boy and his grandmother helping a Japanese man recover his grandfather’s armour.
Among American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) Best Books 2022
American Indians in Children's Literature
Get a copy of A Blanket of Butterflies for your library or classroom, or for your own young readers. I really like it and highly recommend it.
Richard Van Camp on his hope for The Spirit of Denendeh feature interview in the Quill & Quire.
Quill & Quire
Other titles by Richard Van Camp
An Inuit and Dene Comics Collection
As I Enfold You in Petals
Richard Van Camp on the Joy of Storytelling
Little You / Gidagaashiinh
Det’oni-t’á tai / Three Feathers
An Anthology of Arctic Horror Stories
Angel Wing Splash Pattern
20th Anniversary Edition