Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Holidays & Celebrations

The Huron Carol

by (author) Ian Wallace

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Holidays & Celebrations, Music, Native Canadian
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2013
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 4 to 18


The Huron Carol is a beautiful and unusual Christmas song with a rich history.

In the early 1600s, Father Jean de Brebeuf came to Canada from his native France as a Jesuit missionary. He settled among the Huron, or Ouendat, people near what is now Midland, Ontario. Despite his missionary zeal, Brebeuf was sensitive to the people with whom he lived. He learned their language and he wrote, in Huron, the original version of this famous Christmas carol.

Brebeuf's carol continued to be sung by successive generations of Hurons. Then in 1926, Toronto writer Jesse Edgar Middleton, inspired by Brebeuf, wrote his own version of the carol in English. His are the familiar words we sing today, describing the Huron landscape, flora and fauna in telling the Christmas story.

About the author

Ian Wallace has had a distinguished career as an author and illustrator of picture books, publishing many classics such as Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance, Boy of the Deeps and The Huron Carol. His visual interpretation of Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot received three starred reviews and was named a USBBY Outstanding International Book and a Resource Links’ Year’s Best. He has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Ian lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deb.

Ian Wallace's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice
  • Commended, Bank Street College Children's Library Best Children's Books of the Year
  • Long-listed, CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award

Editorial Reviews

...interesting and appealing...

Quill & Quire

Illustrations in this version evoke the richness of the native landscape.

Today's Parent

...the earth-toned watercolor illustrations are pleasant, depicting Canadian wildlife, spiritual scenes, and the Huron people...

School Library Journal

In the well-composed watercolour paintings, the many night scenes gradually give way to a radiant day. A beautiful, moving interpretation.


ÖIan Wallace, drawing on our imaginings of how that special night might have looked, puts it all down so well on paper.

Kitchener-Waterloo Record

...a worthy addition to Canadian Christmas book collections.

CM Magazine

The elegant watercolor landscapes...blend the Huron culture and the Christmas carol perfectly.

Multicultural Review

Librarian Reviews

The Huron Carol

Jean de Brebeuf’s carol was originally written in Huron in the early 1600s. That version and its history and the history of its writers (the English version was written by Jesse Edgar Middleton in 1926) are included in this edition, illustrated by Ian Wallace. Music and French lyrics are also incorporated. Wallace’s respectful watercolours depict Jesus as a Huron baby born in a longhouse. Animals surrounding the new babe are a bald eagle, a hare, wolves and a snowy owl. The three kings are Aboriginal chiefs who offer gifts. They are accompanied by other uniquely Canadian animals such as the moose, fox, lynx and bear that appear in the many wilderness scenes. The Aboriginal angel choirs are painted in blues and greys with more colours appearing as the sun rises and others come to visit the “radiant boy.”

Wallace won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.

The Huron Carol

Masterful watercolour paintings evoke the cultural uniqueness of this Christmas song. Includes multilingual versions with music and background information.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by Ian Wallace