Seagull Island

31 May 2023

Seagull Island: kiyāsko-miniscikos
by Myles H. Charles and Miriam Körner
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Michelle Shaw
$22.95 ISBN 9781778690105

Seagull Island: kiyāsko-miniscikos is a beautiful children’s book that celebrates traditional life and blends English and Cree to create a captivating tale of family and their deep connection to nature.

One morning Luke’s grandfather wakes him up and tells him they are going for a boat ride for the day – to Seagull Island! When they get there, they see lots and lots of nesting seagulls. Carefully Luke’s mosōm and his kohkom show him how to gather the eggs. Finally, when their pail is full, they thank the seagulls for the eggs and set off. They stop at a nearby island to boil the eggs and have some BLT – bannock, lard and tea. Then it’s home to share the rest of the eggs.

Miriam Körner’s illustrations are glorious. The pictures fill most of the double pages which gives the reader a chance to immerse themselves in the visuals of the story. There is lots of attention to detail so children can find the butterflies and count the fish and spot the different types of birds.

The 24 page, hard-covered book is written in English with Woodland Cree words and phrases. I think it is a wonderful book to introduce children to the Cree language and also a fabulous way for early Cree readers to reinforce and enjoy the language.

At the back of the book is a Woodland Cree Pronunciation Guide which highlights many of the words and phrases used in the book with their English definitions. It also explains some basic Cree phonetics so that a reader who is not familiar with the language can learn how to pronounce the words and sounds correctly. Additional Cree words are provided for a variety of birds that a sharp-eyed reader can spot throughout the book.

Seagull Island: kiyāsko-miniscikos was inspired by the author, Elder Myles Hector Charles’s memories of gathering eggs with his grandson Luke in northern Saskatchewan.

The book is aimed at readers aged 5 to 10 years.


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