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Young Adult Fiction Environment

Hawk Teachers' Guide

Dundurn Teachers' Guide

by (author) Josie Norton & Jennifer Dance

Initial publish date
Oct 2017
Environment, General, Aboriginal & Indigenous
  • Unknown

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 10
  • Reading age: 12 to 15


2018 Red Maple Award — Shortlisted • 2017 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award — Winner, Young Adult Category • CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Fall 2016)
When a First Nations teen rescues a fish-hawk from a tailings pond in Alberta’s oil sands, he has no idea that soon they will both be fighting for their lives. 

As a cross-country runner, Adam aims to win gold in the upcoming provincial championship. But when he is diagnosed with leukemia, he finds himself in a different race, one that he can’t afford to lose. He reclaims the name Hawk, given to him by his grandfather, and begins to fight, for his life and for the land of his ancestors and the creatures that inhabit it. With a little help from his grandfather and his friends, he might just succeed.

About the authors

Josie Norton's profile page

Jennifer Dance was born in England and holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Animal Science from the University of the West Indies. She migrated to Canada in 1979. With family in the Native community, Jennifer has a passion for equality and justice for all people. Her first novel, Red Wolf, was endorsed by Giller Prize–winning author Joseph Boyden. An avid environmentalist, Jennifer lives on a small farm in Stouffville, Ontario.


Jennifer Dance's profile page


  • Short-listed, Red Maple Award
  • Winner, Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award
  • Commended, CCBC's Best Books for Kids and Teens (Fall 2016)

Editorial Reviews

Jennifer Dance is a skillful and intelligent writer with a heart large enough to care for all of the environment, animals and humans who are suffering as we speak. I am awed by the power of her words that make all my senses wake up and take notice of every detail she shares. Somewhere, someone is showing her the way to bring some kind of justice to this situation.

Josie Norton, Teacher-Librarian, York Region District School Board

A powerful presentation of what can happen to a people, a land, its natural inhabitants, and to individuals as a result of the upheaval of the natural balance of the area. The rich visual imagery that Dance has breathtaking...this is a novel that needs to be on school curriculum.

Resource Links

With its soaring writing and readable plot, Jennifer Dance’s Hawk breathes new life into an important subject for middle grade readers. Hawk simultaneously dazzles and educates. Topical and hard to put down, this is a great choice for young Canadian readers.

Melissa Bell, Librarian, Richmond Hill Public Library

The tapestry Jennifer has woven is a brilliant representation of the ongoing tragedy in Northern Alberta today. It’s a story that young people need to hear, and it gives me hope!

Dr. John O'Connor

Because Hawk takes place in the here-and-now, in a Canadian setting that has been in the news, it will have a strong impact and possibly stir readers to some type of action. Jennifer Dance is to be congratulated on this courageous, radical novel.

Canadian Materials Magazine

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