Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 7
- Grade: p to 2
- Reading age: 4 to 7
What does it mean to be Mi’kmaq? And if Swift Fox can’t find the answer, will she ever feel like part of her family?
When Swift Fox’s father picks her up to go visit her aunties, uncles, and cousins, her belly is already full of butterflies. And when he tells her that today is the day that she’ll learn how to be Mi’kmaq, the butterflies grow even bigger. Though her father reassures her that Mi’kmaq is who she is from her eyes to her toes, Swift Fox doesn’t understand what that means. Her family welcomes her with smiles and hugs, but when it’s time to smudge and everyone else knows how, Swift Fox feels even more like she doesn’t belong.
Then she meets her cousin Sully and realizes that she’s not the only one who’s unsure—and she may even be the one to teach him something about what being Mi’kmaq means. Based on the author’s own experience, with striking illustrations by Maya McKibbin, Swift Fox All Along is a poignant story about identity and belonging that is at once personal and universally resonant.
About the authors
Rebecca Thomas is an award-winning Mi'kmaw poet. She is Halifax's former Poet Laureate (2016—2018) and has been published in multiple journals and magazines. She coordinated the Halifax Slam Poetry team from 2014 to 2017, leading them to three national competitions with the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Her first children's book, I'm Finding My Talk, was a Globe & Mail Top 100 Pick of 2019, as well as a CBC Best Picture Book of 2019, and was nominated for both the 2019 Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature and the 2019 Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award (with companion title I Lost My Talk). The book is a White Ravens 2020 selection, chosen by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, and has been nominated for First Nations Communities READ 2020. Thomas's first adult collection of poetry, I Place You into the Fire, was a CBC Best Canadian Poetry pick of 2020.
Rebecca Thomas, 84 LaPierre Cres, Dartmouth, NS, B2W 5C8
Maya McKibbin is a Two-Spirited Ojibwe, Yoeme, and Irish filmmaker, illustrator, and storyteller. Using her education in computer graphics and interactive media, her work is rooted in the natural world and our relations to it.
Lisa Nasson is a Mi’kmaq actor, director and storyteller from Millbrook First Nation, Nova Scotia. She studied acting at George Brown College in Toronto, and studied Classical Theatre with the Birmingham Conservatory at the Stratford Festival. Lisa has taught at the Neptune Theatre School in Halifax, and the Young Peoples Theatre in Toronto. Lisa was also the Associate Artistic Director at Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto. She began her journey with Fatty Legs as Maragret-Olemaun’s voice with Xara Choral Theatre in 2012, and has played the role many times since then. Oleamaun’s voice has echoed in all of Lisa’s work since her first run of the theatre production, and is forever grateful for her courage, strength, and resilience.
- Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens
- Short-listed, The Doug Wright Award
- Short-listed, Governor General's Award - Children's English Language
“A touching and universal narrative . . . This title should definitely be added to any list of recommended children’s books focused on indigenous life, family, tradition, feelings, anxiety, fear and self-regulation. Swift Fox All Along is also brimming with cross curricular applications for school use, including incorporation with science, social studies, history, language, and mental health. Highly Recommended.”
CM Reviews, *starred review, June 19, 2020
“Highlights the importance of connections to culture and self.”
Kirkus Reviews, 07/28/20
“This is a straightforward tale of a girl finding her way into a culture that is her heritage, yet new to her. As such, it works effectively. This may suit libraries in need of more modern Native picture books with child appeal.”
School Library Journal, 08/20
“A great opportunity for a discussion of culture—what it means and how we become part of one.”
Library Matters, 06/24/20