Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 15 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
Inspired by true events, this story of strength, family, and culture shares the awe-inspiring resilience of Elder Betty Ross.
Abandoned as a young child, Betsy is adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changes. Betsy is taken away to a residential school. There she is forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalls the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls—words that give her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive.
Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, Elder from Cross Lake First Nation. We wish to acknowledge, with the utmost gratitude, Betty’s generosity in sharing her story. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Sugar Falls goes to support the bursary program for The Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation.
This 10th-anniversary edition brings David A. Robertson’s national bestseller to life in full colour, with a foreword by The Hon. Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and a touching afterword from Elder Betty Ross herself.
About the authors
DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the winner of the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award, the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the TWUC Freedom to Read Award. His books include The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga; When We Were Alone (winner of the Governor General’s Award, a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and a McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People); Will I See? (winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, graphic novel category); and the YA novel Strangers (recipient of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction). He is the creator and host of the podcast Kiwew. Through his writings about Canada’s Indigenous peoples, Robertson educates as well as entertains, reflecting Indigenous cultures, histories and communities while illuminating many contemporary issues. David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.
Scott Henderson (he/him/his) is author/illustrator of the sci-fi/fantasy comic, The Chronicles of Era and has illustrated select titles in the Canadian Air Force’s For Valour series and Tales From Big Spirit series, the graphic novel series 7 Generations and A Girl Called Echo, select stories in This Place: 150 Years Retold, Fire Starters, an AIYLA Honour Book, and Eisner-award nominee, A Blanket of Butterflies. In 2016, he was the recipient of the C4 Central Canada Comic Con Storyteller Award. https://scotthendersonart.wordpress.com/
Since 1998, Donovan Yaciuk (he/him/his) has done colouring work on books published by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse comics, and High Water Press including A Girl Called Echo and Breakdown: Reckoner Rises series and This Place: 150 Years Retold. Donovan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Manitoba and began his career as a part of the legendary, now-defunct Digital Chameleon colouring studio. He lives in Winnipeg, MB Canada, with his wife and two daughters.
Shortlisted for the SOLS First Nation Communities READ Award
Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS)
[Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story] was still able to shock me. The truths this novel is able to portray so clearly through the use of illustrations is amazing, and I would encourage anyone and everyone to read it.
Ottawa Public Library
A powerful graphic novel.
Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story is a wonderfully illustrated...graphic novel that through images and words, portrays the emotions and experiences of Betty. Its impact on young readers, including university students, provides grounds for discussion and a visual connection to a human experience. It is a definite must-read that is both accessible and engaging, while offering a lesson about the past and engaging with the present.
For those Canadians who know little about the residential school system, Sugar Falls is a crucial text in their education about a truly shameful episode in the history of Canada. Highly Recommended.
Among CBC Books' 21 Canadian comics to watch for in spring 2021
Other titles by David A. Robertson
The Theory of Crows
Engaging With Indigenous Narratives and Cultural Expressions In and Beyond the Classroom
The Great Bear
The Misewa Saga, Book Two
Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory
On the Trapline
Ispík kákí péyakoyak/When We Were Alone
The Barren Grounds
The Misewa Saga, Book One