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Young Adult Fiction Aboriginal & Indigenous

Jak's Story

by (author) Aaron Bell

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2010
Aboriginal & Indigenous, Bullying, Environment
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2010
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 4
  • Reading age: 12 to 15


A special ravine and its revered history with First Nations people inspires Jak to save the ravine from demolition.

Thirteen-year-old Jak Loren is a typical boy with the usual problems a family with older sisters and younger brothers presents. Never mind the troubles at school! When Jak goes to the ravine near his home in Brantford to get away from Steven Burke, a bully who’s been tormenting him, he discovers the ravine has a history that’s much older than he thought. He meets Grandfather Rock, who shares with him the story of the people who have lived near the ravine for thousands of years. Soon Jak’s eyes are opened to a new world of beings and respect.

He learns about First Nations people and how their teachings inhabit the spirits of all living things that surround us even today. The tales of the First Nations help Jak to understand that the gift of life is something to be cherished. And when a construction crew arrives in his neighbourhood and threatens his beloved ravine, Jak knows he has to act to save it.

About the author

Aaron Bell has been sharing the teachings and stories of the First Nations people of southern Ontario for 18 years. He owns and operates two businesses, Ojibway Storyteller and Gonrah Desgohwah White Pine Dancers, out of his home in Brantford, Ontario.

Aaron Bell's profile page

Editorial Reviews

The reader learns a lot of First Nations history and wisdom in a succinct and natural manner.

CM Magazine

This is an excellent story to teach youth about First Nations beliefs and culture. It also reminds the reader of the importance of protecting the environment by setting limits to the amount of development of land. Aaron Bells honesty and respect for land and community shines through his writing in this first book.

Resource Links

Jak's Story explores the issues of bullying and the environment and integrates First Nations storytelling, wisdom and history. The chapters are short and captivating and Bell manages to minimize coming off as preachy.

Waterloo Record

Librarian Reviews

Jak's Story

When there is too much arguing in his home, 12-year-old Jak takes refuge in a nearby wooded ravine. He feels lonely and is also bullied by a boy at school but one day, his life is dramatically transformed when a large granite rock in his special place begins to communicate with him. “Grandfather Rock” teaches Jak to listen respectfully and learn as he tells him First Nation’s stories. With a stronger understanding of his people’s wise beliefs and a growing sense of self-awareness, Jak is able to rally his classmates to stop a planned development, which is threatening his beloved ravine.

A comprehensive 48-page Teacher’s Guide for Grade 7 students is available on the publisher’s website. The author shares stories of the First Nation’s people of southern Ontario through his business in Brantford called Ojibway Storyteller.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2012-2013.

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