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The Animal People Choose a Leader

by (author) Richard Wagamese

illustrated by Bridget George

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Oct 2024
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2024
    List Price

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Accompanied by award-winning illustrator Bridget George’s luminous artwork, this tradition-steeped story from renowned author Richard Wagamese meditates on the unifying powers of wisdom, kindness and respect with all the visionary clarity of our most essential legends.

The unmistakable voice of revered Ojibway author Richard Wagamese returns with this moving tale, beautifully illustrated by original work from Anishinaabe artist Bridget George.

The story unfolds in a “Long Ago Time” when animals of all kinds share a common language and gather to solemnly consider which of them should be their leader. After hearing boasts about the qualities of the candidates—Horse’s fleetness, Buffalo’s stamina, Cougar’s patience, Wolverine’s stealth—the conference decides to settle the matter with a race between the challengers around a foreboding mountaintop lake. And there will be one more contestant of the most unlikely sort: a small, charmingly humble rabbit named Waabooz, whose chances are considered slim by all.

In the action that follows, described with the piercing clarity and richness of any great legend, Wagamese and George gracefully convey the limits of physical force and the quietly irresistible energies of humility, empathy and a loving attachment to the land. Unforgettable for its lyrical power and poignant message, The Animal People Choose a Leader is yet another example of the late author’s unique gifts as a storyteller, and a welcome reminder of his honoured place in Canadian writing.

About the authors

Richard Wagamese (1955–2017), an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, was recognized as one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storytellers. His debut novel, Keeper 'n Me, came out in 1994 and won the Alberta Writers Guild's Best Novel Award. In 1991, he became the first Indigenous writer to win a National Newspaper Award for column writing. He twice won the Native American Press Association Award for his journalism and received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his 2011 memoir One Story, One Song. In 2012, he was honoured with the Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communications, and in 2013 he received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize. In 2015, he won the Matt Cohen Award, a recognition given out by the Writers' Trust of Canada that honours writers who have dedicated their entire professional lives to the pursuit of writing. In total, he authored fifteen books including Indian Horse (2012), the 2013 People's Choice winner in CBC's Canada Reads competition, and his final book, a collection of Ojibway meditations, Embers (2016), received the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award.

Richard Wagamese's profile page

Bridget George is an Anishinaabe author-illustrator and graphic designer. She was raised on the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation and now lives in London, Ontario. George is the author of the 2020 book It’s a Mitig!, an acclaimed introduction to the Ojibway language for young readers.

Bridget George's profile page

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