Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 14
- Grade: 7 to 8
Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape – they’re so close, they even completed their Berry Fast together. However, when Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can’t stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can’t bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez’s community find her before it’s too late? Will Miikwan be able to cope if they don’t?
About the authors
New York Times–bestselling author Tasha Spillett (she/her/hers) draws her strength from both her Inninew and Trinidadian bloodlines. She is a celebrated Afro-Indigenous educator, poet, and emerging scholar. Tasha is most heart-tied to contributing to community-led work that centres on land and water defence, and the protection of Indigenous women and girls. Her books include the award-winning graphic novel series Surviving the City and the celebrated children’s book, I Sang You Down From the Stars. Tasha is currently working on her PhD in Education through the University of Saskatchewan, where she holds a Vanier Canada Award. @TashaSpillett
Natasha Donovan (she/her/hers) is a freelance artist and illustrator from Vancouver, British Columbia. Her sequential work has been published in The Other Side and This Place: 150 Years Retold anthologies. She is the illustrator of the award-winning graphic novel Surviving the City, as well as the award-winning children’s book, The Sockeye Mother (shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction), the first book in the Mothers of Xsan series. Natasha is a member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia.
[A] haunting graphic novel... debut author Spillett and Donovan... present a story of girls growing up with the historical legacy of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people, particularly women and girls.
Selected as an AIYLA Young Adult Honor Book
American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA)
Centering the strong hearts of Indigenous women and girls and shattering racist assumptions, Surviving the City is a beautiful, uncompromising honour song to those of us that not only survive the urban, but navigate through it with the courage of our Ancestors.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of This Accident of Being Lost
Nominated for the Forest of Reading's Red Maple Award
Ontario Library Association
Selected for 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers
American Library Association (ALA)
Engrossing... [this story] remains a tribute to the missing and murdered and a clarion call to everyone else.