Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
- Reading age: 0
Winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction
In the 1800s, the education of First Nations children was taken on by various churches, in government-sponsored residential schools. Children were forcibly taken from their families in order to erase their traditional languages and cultures.
As Long as the Rivers Flow is the story of Larry Loyie's last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl and watches his grandmother make winter moccasins. He helps the family prepare for a hunting and gathering trip.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
About the authors
Larry Loyie was born in Slave Lake, Alberta. He lived a traditional Cree life until he was eight years old, learning from his elders, many of whom he has written about in his childrenâ??s books. He has a website abailable here: www.firstnationswriter.comThe â??Lawrence Seriesâ? books are based on Larry Loyieâ??s traditional Cree childhood. The Moon Speaks Cree (Theytus, 2013) is a winter adventure, a traditional time of family, learning and imagination, when toboggan dogs were part of everyday life.From the age of eight to 14, Larry Loyie attended St. Bernard Mission residential school in Grouard, Alberta. At 14, he entered the work force, fighting fires, working in an oil camp and a mountain sawmill.He writes about his years in residential school and moving on in Goodbye Buffalo Bay (Theytus, 2008). This engaging chapter book is the sequel to As Long as the Rivers Flow (Groundwood), winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Childrenâ??s Non-Fiction. Goodbye Buffalo Bay is a popular choice for novel and classroom study.Larry Loyie is an invaluable resource on the history of residential schools in Canada. He is a survivor who has spent many years researching and writing about this hidden chapter in Canadian history.When the Spirits Dance, A Cree Boy's Search for the Meaning of War(Theytus, 2010), set during the Second World War, is based on the authorâ??s traditional Cree childhood when his father left the family to serve with the Canadian Army. It is a family story of universal interest in the discussion of the effects of war.The Gathering Tree (Theytus, 2005) is a bestselling work of fiction informed by Larry Loyieâ??s first-hand knowledge of Aboriginal culture and approaches. Winner of the 2012 Silver Medal (Health Issues) from Moon beam Children's Book Awards, The Gathering Tree encourages HIV awareness and prevention. Impressive, authentic illustrations by Heather D. Holmlund enhance the story. Included are 15 questions and answers in reader-friendly language prepared by Chee Mamuk, the Aboriginal education arm of the BC Centre for Disease Control.Larry Loyieâ??s books have been honoured by the First Nation Communities Read program and other awards and award-nominations. They are Highly Recommended by CM Magazine, Books in Print and other publications. His books are found on curriculums and recommended reading lists across Canada. Study material for each book is included on his website: http://firstnationswriter.comLarry Loyie went back to school at the age of 55 to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a writer. He is an active proponent of literacy and learning. With his partner, writer and editor Constance Brissenden, he launched Living Traditions Writers Group in 1993 to encourage Aboriginal writing. Together Larry and Constance have given more than 1,400 workshops, talks and presentations in schools, libraries, at writerâ??s festivals and conferences. Larry Loyie is also available for Skype school visits.
Heather D. Holmund studied fine art and the visual arts at York University, specializing in watercolour. Most recently she has focused on painting people as they relate to the natural world. From the day the authors met Heather and saw her work, the three of them shared a similar vision for this unique book, As Long as the Rivers Flow.
Constance Brissenden, BA (UofGuelph), MA (UofAlberta, Theatre) has written with Cree author Larry Loyie since 1993. A non-fiction writer and editor of more than 14 books of history and travel, she was a writing instructor in Simon Fraser University's Writing & Publishing program for 18 years. Constance Brissenden met Larry Loyie in a creative writing class at the Carnegie Community Centre in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. She directed Larry Loyie's first play, Ora Pro Nobis, Pray for Us, performed in Vancouver as well as five federal prisons in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. In 1993, Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden launched Living Traditions Writers Group to encourage writing in Aboriginal and other communities. A lifelong freelancer, Constance Brissenden continues to write, edit and teach writing and theatre. Together with Larry Loyie, she gives presentations on his books and co-teaches writing workshops
- Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice
- Winner, Norma Fleck Non-fiction Award
A haunting combination of art, story and document.
Holmlund's realistic and detailed watercolors expertly illuminate events throughout the story, in vignettes, plates, and a few full-page pictures.
School Library Journal
Loyie's quite words and Holmlund's authentic watercolor art capture the happy wilderness home...
As Long as the Rivers FlowThis story is based on the author’s memories of the last summer he spent with his family near Slave Lake, Alberta before being taken away to residential school. The year is 1944. Lawrence is ten years old. His family lives off the land, eating roasted rabbit and duck soup, fish, and bannock; the moose’s flesh is eaten in stew and its hide used for winter clothes and moccasins. Lawrence and his grandmother search for herbs— Labrador tea for when you’re tired and rat root for sore throats. They encounter an angry grizzly. Grandma shoots it creating fodder for stories around the campfire with aunts and uncles. In the background, there are worried whispers. Then, the truck arrives to take Lawrence and his siblings away. Photographs of Lawrence and his family complete the story.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.