Knowledge Seeker, The
University of Regina Press / 28 September 2016

The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality by Blair Stonechild Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $32.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-417-9 What is your purpose in life? This is one of the questions Blair Stonechild explores in The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality. In researching this book, Stonechild, a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation in Saskatchewan, interviewed numerous Aboriginal Elders. Among them is his mentor, Danny Musqua, who achieved the title of Knowledge Keeper, earning the right to pass sacred stories on to the next generation. Stonechild’s exploration of Aboriginal spirituality is both philosophical and practical. According to him, Indigenous spirituality has a place far beyond the classroom, and the importance of this book is self-evident: “Indigenous spirituality holds the key for transforming our future.” He explores the belief that when we die, we actually go home to the spirit world from which we came and reunite with the Creator. He also makes a strong case for reincarnation, citing several examples of children who spoke convincingly of having lived previous lives. In looking at the larger picture of life, Stonechild views all people as one. “Humans are like leaves on a tree,” he says, “all thinking they…

Stepping Into Traffic
Thistledown Press / 21 September 2016

Stepping into Traffic by K.J. Rankin Published by Thistledown Press Review by Leslie Vermeer $15.95 978-1-77187-101-3 If you’re looking for a new book to get teens back into the habit of reading for pleasure, you won’t go wrong with Stepping into Traffic by K.J. Rankin. Published by Saskatoon’s Thistledown Press, Stepping into Traffic is a sensitive young-adult novel about bad choices and second chances. Sixteen-year-old Sebastian Till stands at a turning point in his life. We meet him in the middle of a shoplifting spree, which ends when he and his friends are caught and charged. A veteran of the child-welfare system, Seb soon finds himself in his eighth foster home in eight years — and it’s his last stop if he wants to avoid a group home, or worse, homelessness. Mrs. Ford, his new foster parent, seems cool, but Seb’s not prepared to trust her, not after the things he’s seen in other settings. Still, Mrs. Ford feeds him well and gives him space — which he uses to get into more trouble in the guise of a high school drug dealer and his friends. Can Seb find the inner resources to make the changes he knows he needs?…

Sibling Shenanigans
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 14 September 2016

Sibling Shenanigans by Marjorie Cripps, illustrated by Val Lawton Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $12.95 ISBN 9-781927-75706 I can’t imagine a better title for first-time author Marjorie Cripps’ collection of stories for young readers than what she’s chosen, Sibling Shenanigans. This fun and ably-written series of short tales features likeable siblings Amanda and Mitchell, who get along exceptionally well with each other, their parents, and their beloved Grandma. The senior’s a central character (and sometimes accomplice) in several of the ten pieces. Saskatchewan-born Cripps is a retired school librarian whose love of quilting is evident in many of the stories. Using different styles – some stories are written in First Person, others in Third Person; some are realistic, others fantastic – and an upbeat tone, Cripps welcomes us into the active lives of young Amanda and Mitchell, beginning with the latter’s spectacular adventure in a “runaway stroller”. Cripps shares anecdotes about sleepovers, birthdays, Christmases, pet dogs, camping, and a family move from one side of Vancouver to the other. I appreciated how easily the author’s pen swung between real life and fantasy, making both feel credible. In “Barkley on Wheels,” we learn that Grandma…

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