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Children's Fiction Fantasy & Magic

The Barren Grounds

The Misewa Saga, Book One

by (author) David A. Robertson

Publisher
PRH Canada Young Readers
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Category
Fantasy & Magic, Native American, Orphans & Foster Homes
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780735266100
    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
    $21.99
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780735266124
    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
    List Price
    $12.99

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 18
  • Grade: 5 to 12

Description

Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in an epic middle grade fantasy series from award-winning author David Robertson.

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home -- until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything -- including them.

About the author

DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the winner of the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award, the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the TWUC Freedom to Read Award. His books include The Barren Grounds: The Misewa SagaWhen We Were Alone (winner of the Governor General’s Award, a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and a McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People); Will I See? (winner of the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award, graphic novel category); and the YA novel Strangers (recipient of the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction). He is the creator and host of the podcast Kiwew. Through his writings about Canada’s Indigenous peoples, Robertson educates as well as entertains, reflecting Indigenous cultures, histories and communities while illuminating many contemporary issues. David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation. He lives in Winnipeg.

 

David A. Robertson's profile page

Awards

  • Nominated, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Nominated, Surrey Schools Book of the Year
  • Short-listed, Diamond Willow Award
  • Short-listed, National Chapter IODE Violet Downey Award
  • Nominated, Panda Book Award
  • Nominated, Governor General’s Literary Award - Young People’s Literature - Text
  • Nominated, Silver Birch Award for Fiction

Editorial Reviews

A 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People's Literature Nominee
One of Quill & Quire's Best Books of 2020
Recommended by booksellers on NPR's Code Switch
One of CBC Books' Best Middle-Grade and Young Adult Books of 2020
One of Canadian Children's Book News’ Best Books of 2020
A CBC Books Bestseller
PRAISE FOR The Barren Grounds

"David A. Robertson has written such a fine, beautiful novel. He manages to combine hard truths about our history with a Narnia-like fantasy, sweeping us into the world of the story while opening our hearts as well." —Susin Nielsen, author of We Are All Made of Molecules and No Fixed Address
"This middle-grade fantasy deftly and compellingly centers Indigenous culture." —STARRED REVIEWKirkus Reviews
“This is a book that is rich in its characterization, evocative in its descriptions, and skillful in its weaving together of traditions of the past and life in the present.” —CM Magazine
“[T]he treatment of Cree culture resonates, and the engaging characters and folklore ensure readers will look forward to the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly
“Reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories, this fantasy is very much its own tale of ruptured Indigenous culture, of environmental reciprocity and care.” —Toronto Star
The Barren Grounds has a strong message about living with the earth and not taking more than you need.” —Toronto Public Library

Other titles by David A. Robertson

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