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Children's Fiction General

Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams

Based on a True Story

by (author) Cindy Blackstock

illustrated by Amanda Strong

First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada
Initial publish date
Dec 2019
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2019
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 12
  • Grade: 1 to 7


(NEW) Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams is the latest addition to the award-winning picture book series written by Order of Canada recipient Cindy Blackstock (Gitxsan Nation) and illustrated by Amanda Strong (Michif)!

Spirit Bear is on his way home from a sacred ceremony when he meets Jake, a friendly dog, with a bag full of paper hearts attached to wood stakes. Jake tells Spirit Bear that school children and residential school survivors will plant the hearts when a big report on residential schools called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC for short) is shared. The TRC will have Calls to Action so we can all help end the unfairness and make sure this generation of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children grow up healthy and proud!

About the authors

Cindy Blackstock's profile page

Amanda Strong is a Michif, Indigenous filmmaker, media artist, and stop motion director currently based out of the unceded Coast Salish territory also known as Vancouver, British Columbia. She has exhibited work and screened films worldwide, including at the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Amanda Strong's profile page

Excerpt: Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams: Based on a True Story (by (author) Cindy Blackstock; illustrated by Amanda Strong)

Today, I went to visit Victoria Island in the middle of the Ottawa River. It is sacred to the Algonquin. On my way home, I saw a dog carrying a huge bundle of decorated hearts on planting stakes!

“Hello, my name is Sus Zul, which means Spirit Bear in English,” I said. “What is your name?”

“My name is Jake,” he replied. “I help my friend Mick fix big trucks back home in Prince George, BC, but today I am volunteering as an official reconciliation support dog.”

I was surprised!

“Prince George? That is where I am from, too! I am a proud membear of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council.

“What are you doing with all those hearts?” I asked.

“Well,” said Jake, “the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (they call it TRC for short) is having its closing ceremonies in a few days and asked children to make hearts in memory of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children who went to residential schools. I am collecting the hearts from schools to take them to Rideau Hall for the ceremony. There are too many for me to carry. Do you want to help?”

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