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Children's Fiction Native Canadian

Tapwe and the Magic Hat

by (author) Buffy Sainte-Marie

illustrated by Michelle Alynn Clement

Greystone Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Native Canadian, Friendship, Values & Virtues, Country & Ethnic, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 3


"Beautiful, poignant and poetic. This story will weave its way into the hearts and minds of readers for generations."
—Monique Gray Smith, author of My Heart Fills With Happiness

From beloved Indigenous icon Buffy Sainte-Marie comes a chapter book inspired by oral histories and traditions. On a prairie reserve, Tâpwê receives a mysterious gift from Kokhom (grandma)—and finds himself on an unforgettable adventure.

Tâpwê can’t wait to spend a week with his cousins on the other side of the Cree reserve—especially since Kokhom, his grandma, has given him the most amazing gift: a Magic Hat with bluebirds and grass snakes that come to life! Tâpwê is so excited that he soon forgets Kokhom’s advice: Watch out for tricksters!

Tâpwê’s adventure is everything he imagined. He meets his cousins, takes part in a powwow, and sleeps in a tipi. But soon he’s reminded of Kokhom’s words. Is his new friend Wâpos leading him astray with mischief?

Tâpwê and the Magic Hat draws on a rich Indigenous tradition of storytelling and features:

  • A memorable cast of characters from both imagination and legend.
  • A glossary and pronunciation guide of Cree words used in the book.
  • A note to parents and teachers from Buffy Sainte-Marie about trickster stories.
  • An important message for young readers about being yourself, and learning to dance to the beat of your own heart.
  • Features black and white illustrations throughout.

About the authors

Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Native Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist, was born on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu'Appele Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada. She holds degrees in teaching and Oriental philosophy, and graduated in the top ten of her class. Throughout her varied career she has focused on love, war, religion, people's rights and mysticism.

Buffy Sainte-Marie's profile page

Michelle Alynn Clement's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Full of native songs, dances and magical creatures, this silly story is an immersion into a Cree folkloric world… Cree words are easily understood through context clues, and there’s a glossary at the end…..for readers who enjoy trickster tales, or for units on tricksters in different cultures….and larger collections looking to add more Native American fiction.”
— Youth Services Book Review

"Endearing characters and cheerful illustrations bring this humorous, engaging story to life. A great read- aloud for both children and adults."
Booklist Review
"Beautiful, poignant and poetic. This story will weave its way into the hearts and minds of readers for generations."
Monique Gray Smith, author of My Heart Fills With Happiness
“Offer[s] much to admire and cherish, twining Indigenous beliefs and traditions with descriptions of reserve life as well as lessons around family and the natural world.”
Publishers Weekly
"An adventure story that is both relatable and enlightening for young readers.Beautifully written with humor and energy, children will relate to the twists and turns along the way, all accompanied by beautiful black and white illustrations. The book includes a glossary and pronunciation guide of Cree words as well as a message to parents and teachers about trickster stories, making this an excellent read-aloud book for classrooms as well."

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