Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 8
- Grade: p to 3
- Reading age: 4 to 8
Little Wolf, grown up with children of her own, moves to the country where her mother, White Raven, shares a sad story from her childhood.
All grown up with a family of her own, Little Wolf moves from the big city to the island of her ancestors. She wants to share the beauty and mysteries of nature with her children, and she wants them to learn as much about their culture as possible. One day, Little Wolf’s mother, White Raven, visits and begins to tell her grandchildren stories from her own childhood. But the stories are not happy ones. As a child, White Raven left her family to attend St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay, BC. While there, she experienced hunger, loneliness, shame, and isolation from her language and her culture. Even years later, as a grown woman and Elder, she has nightmares about her time at the school. But by sharing her story with Little Wolf and her grandchildren, White Raven begins to heal and brings the family closer together. Through simple, heartfelt text and vivid illustrations that combine contemporary and traditional Indigenous motifs, White Raven is an engaging teaching tool as well as a relatable narrative about the impact of intergenerational trauma on families. Based on the author’s own life and her mother’s residential school experience, the central message of this book is one of healing and family unity.
Finalist, Indigenous Voices Awards 2022
Shortlist, Victoria Book Prizes 2022
Longlisted, First Nations Communities READ Award 2022/23
About the authors
Teoni Spathelfer is a member of the Heiltsuk Nation from coastal BC. Since childhood she has loved immersing herself in her own culture and learning about other cultures around the world. Spathelfer has worked as a publicist; a radio journalist, host, and producer; and an arts and music writer. Her documentary Teoni’s Dream, informed by her mother’s residential school experience, has aired nationwide on CBC Radio. Her photography has been featured across various media and sold privately. She has been blessed with three daughters and four grandchildren. She lives in Sooke, BC.
Natassia Davies is a Victoria-based artist and graphic designer, and is of Coast Salish ancestry from W̱SÁNEĆ territory. For nearly a decade, Natassia has worked traditionally and digitally to create illustrations, develop visual brand identities, and design various other visual communications tools for local businesses, individuals, and non-profits. She also works with other First Nations Peoples and Indigenous groups to create educational tools and public art pieces. Natassia has collaborated on multiple large-scale Indigenous murals that can be found throughout Sooke and Victoria’s harbour.
- Long-listed, First Nations Communities READ Award
- Short-listed, Victoria Book Prizes
- Short-listed, Indigenous Voices Awards
“Spathelfer tells her mother’s story about her time at residential school with so much grace and care. White Raven is an honest and heartfelt glimpse into the lives of children who went to residential school, as well as the generational impacts the schools had on their families.”
—Jodie Callaghan, author of The Train
“Storytelling is essential for healing! Mixed with historical facts and lovely art, the values of mentorship and courage shine through in this important story.”
—Robert "Lucky" Budd, co-author of the Northwest Coast Legends Series
"The story demonstrates the heartbreaking truth about residential schools in Canada, but also makes evident the perseverance and strength in Indigenous Peoples as they find their way back to culture and the truth. This title is a good introduction to residential schools, and is an important story for all children and all Canadians to learn."
—Canadian Children's Book News, Winter 2021
"In White Raven, the author’s voice is a clarion call to action of remembrance, truth and reconciliation that has thus far been missing from many of our library book shelves. Highly Recommended"
—CM: Canadian Review of Materials