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Silver Birch Express Award 2023

Tapwe and the Magic Hat
By (author): Buffy Sainte-Marie Illustrated by: Michelle Alynn Clement
Buffy Sainte-Marie ,

Illustrated by :

Michelle Alynn Clement


Greystone Kids



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paper over boards
Hardcover , Paper over boards


Juvenile: Age (years) 6 - 9, Grade (US) 1 - 3
Jun 07, 2022
$22.95 CAD


8.25in x 6.25 x 0.5 in | 280 gr

Page Count:

152 pages


16 spreads of B&W art
Greystone Books
Greystone Kids
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island / General

"Beautiful, poignant and poetic. This story will weave its way into the hearts and minds of readers for generations."
—Monique Gray Smith, author of My Heart Fills With Happiness

From beloved Indigenous icon Buffy Sainte-Marie comes a chapter book inspired by oral histories and traditions. On a prairie reserve, Tâpwê receives a mysterious gift from Kokhom (grandma)—and finds himself on an unforgettable adventure.

Tâpwê can’t wait to spend a week with his cousins on the other side of the Cree reserve—especially since Kokhom, his grandma, has given him the most amazing gift: a Magic Hat with bluebirds and grass snakes that come to life! Tâpwê is so excited that he soon forgets Kokhom’s advice: Watch out for tricksters!

Tâpwê’s adventure is everything he imagined. He meets his cousins, takes part in a powwow, and sleeps in a tipi. But soon he’s reminded of Kokhom’s words. Is his new friend Wâpos leading him astray with mischief?

Tâpwê and the Magic Hat draws on a rich Indigenous tradition of storytelling and features:

  • A memorable cast of characters from both imagination and legend.
  • A glossary and pronunciation guide of Cree words used in the book.
  • A note to parents and teachers from Buffy Sainte-Marie about trickster stories.
  • An important message for young readers about being yourself, and learning to dance to the beat of your own heart.
  • Features black and white illustrations throughout.

  • Written by an Indigenous icon: Cree singer-songwriterBuffy Sainte-Marie has been writing and performing her music for decades. She was the first Indigenous person to win an Academy Award (for an original song), the first person to breastfeed on TV (on her recurring role on Sesame Street) and is widely recognized for her activism on Indigenous rights and her powerful folk ballads.
  • Based on Cree storytelling traditions: kids follow Tâpwê as he navigates tricksters, takes part in a powwow, and delights in his Magic Hat. 
  • Indigenous voice: Written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, who is Cree; the book is dedicated to the Piapot and Obey families of Piapot Reserve. 
  • Award-winning illustrator: Michelle Alynn Clement’s stunning illustrations bring Tâpwê’s world to life.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a world-renowned and Academy Award-winning Cree singer-songwriter, activist, educator, and visual artist. Her picture books for kids include Hey LIttle Rockabye, illustrated by Ben Hodson,and (forthcoming) Still This Love Goes On And On, illustrated by Julie Flett.

Michelle Alynn Clement is an award-winning book designer and illustrator from Vancouver, BC.

  • Print galley mailing
  • Submission to all major trade journals
  • Digital galley promoted on Edelweiss
  • Promoted at ALA, Children’s Institute, and other trade shows
  • Library promotion
  • International reviews 
  • Social media campaign and influencer outreach

"Full of native songs, dances and magical creatures, this silly story is an immersion into a Cree folkloric world… Cree words are easily understood through context clues, and there’s a glossary at the end…..for readers who enjoy trickster tales, or for units on tricksters in different cultures….and larger collections looking to add more Native American fiction.”
— Youth Services Book Review

"Endearing characters and cheerful illustrations bring this humorous, engaging story to life. A great read- aloud for both children and adults."
Booklist Review
"Beautiful, poignant and poetic. This story will weave its way into the hearts and minds of readers for generations."
Monique Gray Smith, author of My Heart Fills With Happiness

“Offer[s] much to admire and cherish, twining Indigenous beliefs and traditions with descriptions of reserve life as well as lessons around family and the natural world.”
Publishers Weekly
"An adventure story that is both relatable and enlightening for young readers.Beautifully written with humor and energy, children will relate to the twists and turns along the way, all accompanied by beautiful black and white illustrations. The book includes a glossary and pronunciation guide of Cree words as well as a message to parents and teachers about trickster stories, making this an excellent read-aloud book for classrooms as well."

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