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 is the illustrator of the award-winning Mothers of Xsan series (written by Brett Huson). She illustrated the graphic novel Surviving the City (written by Tasha Spillett), which won a Manitoba Book Award and received an American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA) honor. She also illustrated Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer which won an Orbis Pictus Honor Book and an American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA). Natasha is Métis, and spent her early life in Vancouver, British Columbia. Although she moved to the United States to marry a mathematician, she prefers to keep her own calculations to the world of color and line. She lives in Washington. www.natashadonovan.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.
Engrossing... [this story] remains a tribute to the missing and murdered and a clarion call to everyone else.
Selected for 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers
American Library Association (ALA)
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
[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.
Nominated for the Forest of Reading's Red Maple Award
Ontario Library Association
Selected as an AIYLA Young Adult Honor Book
American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA)