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Children's Fiction Native Canadian

Siha Tooskin Knows the Love of the Dance

by (author) Charlene Bearhead & Wilson Bearhead

illustrated by Chloe Bluebird Mustooch

Portage & Main Press
Initial publish date
May 2020
Native Canadian, Dance, New Experience, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 11
  • Grade: 3 to 5


Paul Wahasaypa—Siha Tooskin—has invited his friend, Jeff, to a powwow. It’s Jeff’s very first powwow, and is he ever nervous! What if he says or does the wrong thing? Grass dancers, Fancy Shawl dancers, Chicken dancers—what does it all mean? Follow along as Jeff learns all about the dances and their beautiful traditions. See you at the powwow!

The Siha Tooskin Knows series uses vivid narratives and dazzling illustrations in contemporary settings to share stories about an 11-year-old Nakota boy.

About the authors

Charlene Bearhead (she/her/hers) is an educator and Indigenous education advocate living in Treaty 6 Territory in central Alberta. She was the first Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the Education Coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Charlene was recently honoured with the Alumni Honours Award from the University of Alberta and currently serves as the Director of Reconciliation for Canadian Geographic. She is a mother and a grandmother who began writing stories to teach her own children as she raised them. Adaptations of these stories have now been published as the Siha Tooskin Knows series, which she co-wrote with her husband, Wilson.

Charlene Bearhead's profile page

Wilson Bearhead (he/him/his), a Nakota Elder and Wabamun Lake First Nation community member in Treaty 6 territory (central Alberta), is the recent recipient of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Indigenous Elder Award. Currently, he is the Elder for Victoria School for the Arts in Edmonton and a board member for the Roots of Resilience Education Foundation. Wilson’s grandmother Annie was a powerful, positive influence in his young life, teaching him all of the lessons that gave him the strength, knowledge, and skills to overcome difficult times and embrace the gifts of life.

Wilson Bearhead's profile page

Chloe Bluebird Mustooch is from the Alexis Nakoda Sioux Nation of Northern Alberta, and is a recent graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art & Design. She is a seamstress, beadworker, illustrator, painter, and sculptor. She was raised on the reservation, and was immersed in hunting, gathering, and traditional rituals, and has also lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an area rich in art and urbanity.

Chloe Bluebird Mustooch's profile page


  • Long-listed, SOLS First Nations Communities READ, Children's Category

Editorial Reviews

Among The Globe and Mail's twelve children’s books that will inspire and enlighten

The Globe and Mail

5 out of 5 stars

I loved this story. Siha Tooskin Knows the Love of the Dance is a beautiful story about friendship and curiosity. I loved the way this story explains powwows and the importance of each type of dancer. In this story, Jeff goes to the powwow with Siha Tooskin and gets to learn and experience something so special.


Among Best Books for Kids & Teens, a starred selection of exceptional caliber

The Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC)

Among Toronto Public Library's TD Summer Reading Club Top Recommended Reads (2021) list

TD Summer Reading Club

...the use of humour, historical content and details of how a powwow is run helps bridge gaps of knowledge for readers who may have no knowledge of what a powwow is. Siha Tooskin Knows the Love of the Dance sets out to inform, educate and include the reader and does it in a way that works. Highly Recommended

CM Association

Reconciliation is a big word, and it is a big job. Authors Wilson and Charlene Bearhead show us that even storybook characters can help when they are brought alive in authentic cultural settings. Meet Paul Wahasaypa, also known as Siha Tooskin or Little Foot, as he dances his way through these colourful pages, sharing some of the things he loves most with his new, non-Indigenous friend Jeff…his culture, his powwow dances, and even his beloved Uncle Lenard with all his teachings and teasing! More than an adventure between new friends, this is a colourful, youth-friendly, cultural exchange based on kindness, respect, and willingness to share and to learn.

Marie Wilson, Commissioner, TRC of Canada , 2009-2015

#SihaTooskinKnows..., with its words and illustrations, is a love letter to our family, culture, resilience, and pride.

Tanya Talaga, journalist and author

There are many reasons to love this series. Highly Recommended.

Bit About Books

Other titles by Charlene Bearhead

Other titles by Wilson Bearhead

Other titles by Chloe Bluebird Mustooch