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Children's Fiction Native American

Morning on the Lake

by (author) Jan Bourdeau Waboose

illustrated by Karen Reczuch

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Feb 1999
Native American
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 1999
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1997
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 9
  • Grade: k to 4
  • Reading age: 5 to 9


In the first of three linked stories, a young boy and his grandfather set out in a birchbark canoe early one spring morning. Together, they discover the peaceful beauty of the lake. In the second story, the sun rises high in the summer sky as they climb a rocky cliff for a bird's-eye view of the land. And, finally, as an autumn night descends, they venture into the woods. Under the patient and gentle guidance of his grandfather, the boy gradually comes to respect the ways of nature and to understand his own place in the world.

About the authors

Jan Bourdeau Waboose is a First Nations writer. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Jan Bourdeau Waboose's profile page

Karen Reczuch has illustrated many award-winning children’s books. Loon by Susan Vande Griek won the TD Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-fiction, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Picture Book Award and the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Information Book Award. Karen’s other publications include West Coast Wild, winner of the VCLR Information Book Award; The Auction by Jan Andrews, a Governor General’s Award finalist; Just Like New by Ainslie Manson, winner of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award; and Salmon Creek, winner of the BC Book Prize. Karen’s work includes scientific, historical and archeological illustration, and has been exhibited internationally.

Karen Reczuch's profile page


  • Winner, Parents' Guide to Children's Media Award
  • Unknown, CCBC Choices , Cooperative Children's Book Center
  • Winner, Pick of the Lists, American Bookseller
  • Short-listed, Mr. Christie's Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Filled with lessons of love and respect for Mother Earth, this book is packed with many Ojibway cultural references for young readers. Noshen and his grandfather, Mishomis, set off in a birchbark canoe, climb a mountain and stand off a pack of wolves - all in one day. Noshen learns that he is brother to the wolves and need not be afraid of any animal he meets in the woods. Karen Reczuch's illustrations of many culturally-relevant objects like beadwork designs and Mishomis' moccasins make this book something to be treasured.

Aboriginal Voices

From the first words of Morning on the Lake, it's evident the author has an abundance of love and respect for the force of nature in all its magnificence. And, as we follow the young native protagonist and his grandfather, the call of the wild sounds ever more clear. Early one morning, the boy and his grandfather set off in their canoe and are rewarded with a rare glimpse of a family of loons. Later that day, they climb to the top of a hill and have an encounter with a bald eagle. And in the still night, the boy comes face to face with a pack of wolves. In this boy's traditional world, nature is given very human qualities which can set the heart a-thumping as well as soothe the spirit. Karen Reczuch's tranquil illustrations lovingly portray the relationship between man and his surroundings.

Children's Book News

A Native American boy and his grandfather spend a full day in the wilderness. From a morning encounter with a family of loons on the lake, to an evening face-off with some wolves, the child is reassured by his grandfather's presence and wisdom. Quiet in tone, the contemplative first-person narrative brings the Ojibway view of the world into focus. The idea that people are part of nature and must respect both land and animals is never directly stated but is clearly shown. The full- and double-page watercolors are attractive and somewhat photographic in nature.

School Library Journal

Librarian Reviews

Morning on the Lake

An Ojibway boy and his Mishomis (grandfather) experience the northern wilderness together. At dawn, Mishomis and his Noshen (grandson) set out in a birchbark canoe to the centre of a lake where they encounter a family of loons. At noon, the two mocassin-clad explorers climb a rock ridge where an eagle sweeps down, leaving behind a feather—the sign of honour and wisdom. Nighttime finds the two in the forest facing a pack of timber wolves. Mishomis is serene and wise. Under his guidance, Noshen is acquiring these same traits.

This book has won several awards including the 1999 Parents’ Guide to Children’s Award. Waboose isan Nishnawbe Ojibway. Her other books include Sky Sisters, listed in this catalogue. Reczuch’s previous books include Just Like New,winner of the 1996 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2008-2009.

Other titles by Jan Bourdeau Waboose

Other titles by Karen Reczuch

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