Add these powerful family and cultural stories to your bookshelves.
Every year, eager readers prepare for Free Comic Book Day, a single day where participating comic shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. Founded on the belief that there is a comic book for every person out there, the annual event offers a huge selection of free titles designed to appeal to a broad range of ages and tastes. To celebrate, we're highlighting some of the great literary work of Indigenous people. This selection of fiction & nonfiction graphic novels features works from First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artists and writers.
1. Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story
Sugar Falls was written by David A. Robertson, a member of the Norway House Cree Nation. Based on the true story of Betty Ross, an elder from the Cross Lake First Nation, Sugar Falls tells the story of Betsy, who was taken away to a residential school at the age of 8. Forced to endure abuse and indignity, Betsy recalls the words of her father spoken to her at Sugar Falls that gave her the resilience to survive. The heavy tone of the story is carried beautifully by Robertson’s words and the accompanying illustrations.
2. Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band
Written by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni, Redbone is part biography and part research journalism, telling the true story of brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas as they take the '60s Sunset Strip by storm, influencing The Doors and jamming with Jimmy Hendrix. Redbone uncovers key pieces of American history with the powerful story of the Native American civil rights movement and music - from the creation of the first all-Native American rock band, to the incorporation of tribal beats into chart-topping rock music, to the members taking a stand for their ancestry over commercial success.
3. If I Go Missing
Combining graphic fiction and nonfiction, this graphic novel serves as a window into one of the unique dangers of being an Indigenous teen in Canada today. The text of the book is derived from excerpts of a letter written to the Winnipeg Chief of Police by 14-year-old Brianna Jonnie. In her letter, she calls out the authorities for neglecting to immediately investigate and involve the public in the search for missing Indigenous people. She urges them to “not treat me as the Indigenous person I am proud to be” in the event she were to be reported missing, underscoring the urgency of the ongoing crisis.
4. A Girl Called Echo Vol. 1
In this first volume written by Katherena Vermette, a Red River Metis tells the story of Echo: a 13-year-old Metis girl struggling with feelings of loneliness while attending a new school and living with a new family. One day, Echo finds herself transported through time, arriving at a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth through time, visiting a Metis camp, travelling the old fur trade routes, experiencing the perilous era of the Pemmican wars. While only the first volume in a series exploring Indigenous culture, the Pemmican Wars highlight ethnic and class struggles, and a struggle for survival and self-determination.
5. 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga
Following seven generations of one Indigenous family over hundreds of years, each story in this 4-part series (Stone, Scars, Ends/Begins and The Pact) touches on a different subject throughout their history. Stone explores a Plains Cree warrior’s journey to avenge his brother, Scars explores the smallpox epidemic of the 1870, and Ends/Begins & The Pact tell the story of the struggle to survive and navigate healing around the residential school system.
Are there other stories you would recommend or add to this list? Share in the comments below!
Blog postsView all >
7 Heartwarming Children’s Books About Grandparents
Stories to appreciate our grandparents, and all the lessons and traditions they have to share.
Why “Getting to Know You” Matters in the Workplace
How to actually break the ice and grow together through the art of conversation.