Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 6 to 8
The Gathering Tree is a beautifully illustrated children's book about HIV/AIDS. Written by award-winning First Nations author Larry Loyie and co-author Constance Brissenden, it is a gentle, positive story of a First Nations family facing HIV. After eleven-year-old Tyler and his younger sister Shay-Lyn learn their favorite cousin Robert has HIV, they discover that knowledge brings understanding and self-awareness. Aspects of physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health are addressed.
About the authors
Larry Loyie was born in Slave Lake, Alberta. He lived a traditional Cree life until he was eight years old, learning from his elders, many of whom he has written about in his childrenâ??s books. He has a website abailable here: www.firstnationswriter.comThe â??Lawrence Seriesâ? books are based on Larry Loyieâ??s traditional Cree childhood. The Moon Speaks Cree (Theytus, 2013) is a winter adventure, a traditional time of family, learning and imagination, when toboggan dogs were part of everyday life.From the age of eight to 14, Larry Loyie attended St. Bernard Mission residential school in Grouard, Alberta. At 14, he entered the work force, fighting fires, working in an oil camp and a mountain sawmill.He writes about his years in residential school and moving on in Goodbye Buffalo Bay (Theytus, 2008). This engaging chapter book is the sequel to As Long as the Rivers Flow (Groundwood), winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Childrenâ??s Non-Fiction. Goodbye Buffalo Bay is a popular choice for novel and classroom study.Larry Loyie is an invaluable resource on the history of residential schools in Canada. He is a survivor who has spent many years researching and writing about this hidden chapter in Canadian history.When the Spirits Dance, A Cree Boy's Search for the Meaning of War(Theytus, 2010), set during the Second World War, is based on the authorâ??s traditional Cree childhood when his father left the family to serve with the Canadian Army. It is a family story of universal interest in the discussion of the effects of war.The Gathering Tree (Theytus, 2005) is a bestselling work of fiction informed by Larry Loyieâ??s first-hand knowledge of Aboriginal culture and approaches. Winner of the 2012 Silver Medal (Health Issues) from Moon beam Children's Book Awards, The Gathering Tree encourages HIV awareness and prevention. Impressive, authentic illustrations by Heather D. Holmlund enhance the story. Included are 15 questions and answers in reader-friendly language prepared by Chee Mamuk, the Aboriginal education arm of the BC Centre for Disease Control.Larry Loyieâ??s books have been honoured by the First Nation Communities Read program and other awards and award-nominations. They are Highly Recommended by CM Magazine, Books in Print and other publications. His books are found on curriculums and recommended reading lists across Canada. Study material for each book is included on his website: http://firstnationswriter.comLarry Loyie went back to school at the age of 55 to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a writer. He is an active proponent of literacy and learning. With his partner, writer and editor Constance Brissenden, he launched Living Traditions Writers Group in 1993 to encourage Aboriginal writing. Together Larry and Constance have given more than 1,400 workshops, talks and presentations in schools, libraries, at writerâ??s festivals and conferences. Larry Loyie is also available for Skype school visits.
Constance Brissenden, BA (UofGuelph), MA (UofAlberta, Theatre) has written with Cree author Larry Loyie since 1993. A non-fiction writer and editor of more than 14 books of history and travel, she was a writing instructor in Simon Fraser University's Writing & Publishing program for 18 years. Constance Brissenden met Larry Loyie in a creative writing class at the Carnegie Community Centre in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. She directed Larry Loyie's first play, Ora Pro Nobis, Pray for Us, performed in Vancouver as well as five federal prisons in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. In 1993, Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden launched Living Traditions Writers Group to encourage writing in Aboriginal and other communities. A lifelong freelancer, Constance Brissenden continues to write, edit and teach writing and theatre. Together with Larry Loyie, she gives presentations on his books and co-teaches writing workshops
Illustrator Heather D. Holmlund has roots in the northern town of Fort Frances, Ontario, where she grew up. Her source of artistic vision has always been the spiritual essence of the Canadian landscape and its people. Heather attended York University in the visual arts program, before making her home in Pickering, Ontario. She is the award-winning illustrator of As Long as the Rivers Flow.