Kids Virtual Reading Club

Welcome to the Virtual Reading Club for Kids!

Each month we will post some suggested reads across a range of reading levels, along with related activities, crafts and cooking/baking recipes.


How to participate in the Virtual Reading Club: Kids Edition

  1. Start by locating the book picks you are interested in reading during that month. Try one or try all of the book picks, it is completely up to you. Request a copy from TRAC or find it here at SGPL. Visit us in-person or give us a call as we would be happy to help you!
  2. Try out one or more of the featured activities, crafts or baking recipes. Activities will be posted at the beginning of each month so you can access them all month long.
  3. Let us know what you thought of the book(s) and/or share some of your makes with us and we'll showcase them right here! Contact Sarah (Children & Youth Services Librarian) at sarah@sgpl.ca with your book reviews and photos! 
    (We will only post photos of your creations, any pictures including faces of your family and friends will not be showcased for privacy reasons. SGPL support and uphold the privacy provisions of Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act)


“In Their Own Words” Illustration by Julie Flett

September is: Indigenous Reads #OwnVoices


What do we mean by the term Own Voices?

#OwnVoices is a term coined by the writer Corinne Duyvis, and refers to an author from a marginalized or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group.

All books selected this month are written by members of the wider Indigenous community and definitely fit this bill.

Only 1% of the children’s books published in the U.S. in 2016 featured Indigenous characters, and even fewer (1/4 of the 1% = 8 books total) were written by Indigenous authors. These figures were similar in the Canadian market.

“Most of what kids see in books today are best sellers & classics that stereotype & misrepresent Native people in history. There’s a lot of bias in them. The books that I recommend are ones that can counter that bias in several ways. One, they’re not stereotypical. Two, most of them are set in the present day, which is important in countering what we see in a lot of children’s & young adult literature, which says that we vanished, we didn’t make it to the present day, and of course we did.” -Debbie Reese, Nambe Pueblo, of American Indians in Children’s Literature

Indigenous people are very much a part of today’s society. With their stories, Indigenous writers share the range of their lives, past and present, and we hope that you’ll embrace and share their stories. This situation in the children's publishing industry is slowly improving with a broader range of diverse titles that are more representative becoming available to the public. We need to support these authors to continue to advocate for change and continue to make Own Voices works readily accessible.

Further information on this topic can be found at American Indians Children's Literature.


September Book Picks

This month let's take a look at these powerful tales:

  • Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids - edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • I Can Make This Promise - Christine Day
  • Fatty Legs: A True Story - Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton
  • Coyote Tales - Thomas King

We will be reading some of these stories aloud as part of our Cyber Tales: Storytime for Big Kids (of All Ages) program. Alternate Fridays at 4pm throughout the season live on our Facebook channel.


September Activities

Explore the Land We Live On

Explore the land we live on using interactive map: Native Land  

Do you know what treaty land you live on and which Indigenous groups and languages live and are spoken in your area?


Visit a Museum Virtually 

Explore Blackfoot culture and listen to Elders tell stories, like Sky Stories and Indigenous astronomy, through the Glenbow Museum’s Niitsitpiisini: Our Way of Life, and The Virtual Museum of Canada


Explore Your Own Backyard

Find out what Indigenous activities and events are happening in your backyard through Indigenous Tourism Alberta.

September Crafts/Creative Writing

Trickster Myths: The Coyote Origin

Trickster stories are common among various Indigenous nations. While there are some cross-cultural similarities of tricksters amongst nations, each nation will have its own unique trickster and stories.

Coyote is considered a trickster to both Syilx Okanagan and Secwepemc peoples. Coyote is often considered a hero and is often breaking the rules and bringing teachings through his adventurous mishaps. These teachings have strong ties to local societal values, traditional knowledge, spirituality and overall worldviews. There are many stories of his tricks and foolish ways including those collected in the book by Thomas King (one of our picks this month).

Listen to former professor Bill Cohen, talk about the Coyote story and it's role in Indigenous culture: Okanagan College.

Write your own creation myth and illustrate your story. Use stories from your own heritage to base your tale upon or get creative and make up something up using your imagination!

September Foodie Fun

Pemmican

Try making some pemmican. What is that you ask?

Pemmican is originally a Cree word for rendered fat. Pemmican is a food used by a variety of Native peoples for many generations, and was adopted by the fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. It likely originates from North America. Native American scouts who spent a great deal of time on the go depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time. Often times pemmican was their food of choice.

This amazing stuff is a dried mixture of meat, berries and rendered fat (also called suet or tallow). It is an invaluable survival food that when prepared properly using good pemmican recipes can last anywhere from several months to several years without refrigeration! Pemmican is a great asset to have with you while exploring the wilderness even today. Though most classic pemmican recipes require the use of meat and fat, it is also possible to make it vegetarian alternative.

Just follow one of four recipe options (including an vegetarian recipe) at: Wilderness College


Bannock

Every civilization in the world has a form of bread and the Indigenous peoples of North America are no exception. While the bannock we know has its roots in Scotland, “bannach” being the Scottish Gaelic word for morsel, many pre-colonial First Nations groups were already baking an unleavened bread using camas root (an important source of carbohydrates in a diet rich in protein), or flour made from the rhizomes of ferns. These were baked on stones placed on hot coals, in clay ovens, or wrapped around green sticks placed above the fire.

When the Scottish brought their similar version with them to North America, they also brought wheat flour, which made a longer-lasting product. First to adopt the new ingredient was the Métis community, and it spread throughout North America from there. Now nearly every First Nations community has a version of bannock. The recipes differ from community and family to the next, but all have the same basic ingredients: flour, a fat, salt, a liquid, and a leavening agent. While bannock can still be cooked over an open fire, popular amongst campers, it is usually baked or fried.

The bannock recipe used here comes from from the picture book 'Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock', by Dallas Hunt, illustrated by Amanda Strong. The story is about a girl who is tasked by her Kôhkum to take fresh-baked bannock to a relative. On the way there Awâsis accidentally drops the bannock in a river. With the help of some animal friends, Awâsis gathers the ingredients needed to make Kôhkum’s famous bannock.

This version is a fun rainbow coloured suggestion, you can make it plain if preferred. Full recipe can be found here: Coquitlam Heritage.

Today, bannock is most often deep-fried, pan-fried or oven-baked. If you want to try making fried bannock, like in the picture book 'Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story' by Kevin Noble Maillard here are some alternative recipes at: Lavender and Lovage.



Further information about bannock can be found at CBC's Bannock: A Brief History



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