Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 11
- Grade: 4 to 6
To the Gitxsan of Northwestern British Columbia, Nox Ga’naaw is a storyteller, speaking truths of the universe. After Nox Ga’naaw, the frog mother, releases her eggs among the aquatic plants of a pond, the tiny tadpoles are left to fend for themselves. As they hatch, grow legs, and transform into their adult selves, they must avoid the mouths of hungry predators. Will the young frogs survive to spawn their own eggs, continuing a cycle 200 million years in the making?
Book four of the Mothers of Xsan series follows the life cycle of the columbia spotted frog. Learn about why this species is of special significance to the Gitxsan and how Nox Ga'naaw and her offspring are essential to the balance that is life.
About the authors
Hetxw'ms Gyetxw, also known as Brett D. Huson (he/him/his), is from the Gitxsan Nation of the Northwest Interior of British Columbia, Canada. Growing up in this strong matrilineal society, Brett developed a passion for the culture, land, and politics of his people, and a desire to share their knowledge and stories. Brett has worked in the film and television industry for over 13 years and is a volunteer board member for organizations such as Ka Ni Kanichihk and sākihiwē festival. Brett also works with the Prairie Climate Centre to connect western science and Indigenous Knowledges.
The award-winning Mothers of Xsan series is Brett’s first series of books and part of a larger vision to share the worlds of the Gitxsan Nation. With the support of his wife, Jeri, and their children, Warren and Ruby, Brett endeavours to continue sharing stories with his writing, artwork, and photography.
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
- Short-listed, Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher
- Long-listed, First Nation Communities READ
American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)
Among CBC Books 28 Canadian middle-grade books we are excited to read in spring 2021
The biological and ecological knowledge is skillfully intertwined with the traditional and contemporary lives of the Gitxsan. The artwork is exemplary. It works with the text not only to illustrate but to add layers of meaning and connections.
The Ormsby Review
Among Bank Street College of Education's The Best Children's Books of the Year (2022 edition)
Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee
In his engaging book, Hetxw'ms Gyetxw enhances plain biological facts by putting them in their cultural context; for example, the Frog Mother reflects the Gitxsan Nation’s matrilineal system. Donovan provides wonderfully sinuous illustrations that deftly capture frog movement and utilize color.
Readers are treated to an exploration of both the life cycle of frogs and, in particular, the role that frog mothers play in the lives of their offspring with the help of Donovan’s breathtaking illustrations.
The Globe and Mail
Among Loanstars Junior Top 10 Picks
Highly recommended. Every school library in Canada should own copies of this remarkable series. Parents will enjoy reading them with kids at home.