Form detail:Picture book
Audience:Children/juvenile: Interest age, years 4 - 7, Canadian school grade range P - 2, US school grade range P - 2, Reading age, years 4 - 7
Dimensions:10.5in x 9.25 x 0.25 in | 330 gr
Page Count:36 pages
What does it mean to be Mi’kmaq? And if Swift Fox can’t find the answer, will she ever feel like part of her family?
When Swift Fox’s father picks her up to go visit her aunties, uncles, and cousins, her belly is already full of butterflies. And when he tells her that today is the day that she’ll learn how to be Mi’kmaq, the butterflies grow even bigger. Though her father reassures her that Mi’kmaq is who she is from her eyes to her toes, Swift Fox doesn’t understand what that means. Her family welcomes her with smiles and hugs, but when it’s time to smudge and everyone else knows how, Swift Fox feels even more like she doesn’t belong.
Then she meets her cousin Sully and realizes that she’s not the only one who’s unsure—and she may even be the one to teach him something about what being Mi’kmaq means. Based on the author’s own experience, with striking illustrations by Maya McKibbin, Swift Fox All Along is a poignant story about identity and belonging that is at once personal and universally resonant.
Own Voices: Illustrator Maya McKibbin is a two spirited Yaqui, Ojibwe and Irish. Author Rebecca Thomas is an award-winning Mi’kmaw poet. The story is deeply personal. Rebecca is of mixed heritage and grew up off-reserve and was 6 years old before she began getting to know her father. Her dad himself attended a residential school and had lost connection with his culture and language. This was something regained later with wider visits to his home community and wanted to share with his children.
Important themes: the Indigenous story is full of universal themes including family, connection, identity and self-acceptance.
Rebecca Thomas is a Mi’kmaw woman registered with Lennox Island First Nation. She is the daughter of a residential school survivor and unrelenting advocate for her community. She is a published poet and was the Halifax Poet Laureate from 2016 to 2018. She lives in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki.
Maya McKibbin is a Two-Spirited Ojibwe, Yoeme, and Irish filmmaker, illustrator, and storyteller. Using her education in computer graphics and interactive media, her work is rooted in the natural world and our relations to it.
“A touching and universal narrative . . . This title should definitely be added to any list of recommended children’s books focused on indigenous life, family, tradition, feelings, anxiety, fear and self-regulation. Swift Fox All Along is also brimming with cross curricular applications for school use, including incorporation with science, social studies, history, language, and mental health. Highly Recommended.”- CM Reviews, *starred review, 06/19/20
“A great opportunity for a discussion of culture—what it means and how we become part of one.”- Library Matters, 06/24/20
“Highlights the importance of connections to culture and self.”- Kirkus Reviews, 07/28/20
“This is a straightforward tale of a girl finding her way into a culture that is her heritage, yet new to her. As such, it works effectively. This may suit libraries in need of more modern Native picture books with child appeal.”- School Library Journal, 08/20
“The story authentically depicts how a child might feel being introduced to a culture that they haven’t had the opportunity to participate in regularly.”- The Horn Book, 11/20
“Celebrates learning more about who you are and being proud of your identity. Highly recommended for home, school and public libraries.”- Canadian Children’s Book News, *starred review, Fall/20
“A powerful book about identity and family.”- Waking Brain Cells, 10/12/20
“Both the message of living in a home with separation and pride in culture are important for children to see in stories today.”- Youth Services Book Review, 10/29/20
“Earnest and heartfelt . . . A touching story of family and identity, all children will empathize with feeling out of place and wanting to belong.”- Atlantic Books Today, Fall/20
“Personal and poignant.”- Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 11/18/20
“Spotting the animals on every page, especially Swift Fox’s butterflies, adds another layer to the reader’s experience . . . Many children will find a welcome reflection of real feelings in Swift Fox’s worries.”- Publishers Weekly, 10/26/20