Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards 2014 — Silver Medal
Forest of Reading, Silver Birch Awards — Shortlisted
MYRCA Award 2016 — Shortlisted
Chosen for the Toronto Public Library's 2015 Great Reads for Kids collection
“With Red Wolf, Jennifer Dance has come howling out of the wilderness … and I'm deeply impressed.” — Joseph Boyden, Giller Prize–winning author
Life is changing for Canada’s Anishnaabek Nation and for the wolf packs that share their territory.
In the late 1800s, both Native people and wolves are being forced from the land. Starving and lonely, an orphaned timber wolf is befriended by a boy named Red Wolf. But under the Indian Act, Red Wolf is forced to attend a residential school far from the life he knows, and the wolf is alone once more. Courage, love and fate reunite the pair, and they embark on a perilous journey home. But with winter closing in, will Red Wolf and Crooked Ear survive? And if they do, what will they find?
Jennifer Dance was born in England and graduated from the University of the West Indies with a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Animal Science. She immigrated to Canada in 1979 and still lives in Stouffville, Ontario. With family in the Native community, she has a passion for equality and justice for all people.
The Dickensian world of any nineteenth-century boarding school, particularly a Canadian Indian residential school with the agonizing clash of indigenous and British cultures, is excellent fodder for Dance’s powers of portrayal, and she gives a memorable picture of those who worked in these institutions.
Told with great empathy and careful research, Jennifer Dance has done a good job of making us feel alienated, lost, and in between worlds ... an important book for young readers about the sad history of Canada's residential school system.
Red Wolf depicts an unquestionably shameful part of our history about which today’s children should be informed. The novel serves that purpose while reinforcing our feelings of outrage and disgust.
Dance puts a human face to the history books by portraying the terror and confusion of a young boy ripped away from his family and forced to conform to the rules of a cruel and bigoted world he doesn't understand. What is especially impressive is how Dance manages to capture the internalized self-hatred forced upon the students of the residential schools.
Although Red Wolf is marketed as juvenile fiction, it is a book that will appeal to all ages. Poignantly written from the perspective of both boy and wolf, it brilliantly encapsulates the fear, alienation and hopelessness felt by a child who is powerless against a system which seeks to annihilate his heritage, spiritual beliefs and family ties.
While the topic is a difficult one, [Red Wolf] covers the realities faced by First Nations in the late 1800’s in a realistic and broad-minded manner.
Dance's first novel addresses a horrific historical period and details Red Wolf's harsh awakening in painful, hard-hitting scenes . . . readers will finish with a strong sense of the abuses suffered by natives at the hands of settlers.
This book should be placed in every classroom in Canada. It is informative of our cultural way of life, and respectful of all creation. There are things that non-natives do not understand about our culture. This book will help with the understanding.
This book could make a big impact on the way that non-aboriginals look at First Nations people.... I strongly believe it also has a place in healing the legacy of the residential schools within First Nations communities where lack of self identity and self respect still endure.
Jennifer Dance's Red Wolf is a heartrending, relentlessly compelling novel about the impact of the Indian Act of 1876 and the residential schools system upon indigenous cultures.
Dance imbues the novel with lyrical prose and lilting rhythms, and the essence of what we’ve come to recognize in First Nation storytelling.
Children and young adults alike will want to read Jennifer Dance's novel on the intertwined stories of a wolf and a First Nation boy. It is exactly the sort of story I loved when I was a boy.