Books by David Bouchard

Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"A stunning picture book that celebrates life, family relations, and determination to preserve traditions and heritage. (artist's note) (Picture book. 5-11)"
A heartfelt intergenerational story about knowing and preserving heritage and love between elders and young ones. Read full book review >
THE FIRST FLUTE by David Bouchard
Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"If a bit patchwork, the package is still powerful. (Picture book/folk tale. 8-12)"
As he has in the past, Bouchard (The Song within My Heart, 2015, etc.) joins talents with a multicultural team, in this case New Zealand-American illustrator Oelze, Kalapuya flautist Jan Michael Looking Wolf, and Dakota translator Goodwill, to present an uplifting tale. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"This beautiful new edition of a familiar legend will be welcomed both for its pictures and its telling. (Folk tale. 7-12)"
An acclaimed Métis storyteller recounts a Lenape pourquoi tale explaining the crow's shiny black color and croaking voice as the result of bringing the gift of fire. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2010

A moving poem gives voice to the yearning of a Métis man for the names of his Native ancestors. In modified ballad form (sometimes rhymed, sometimes unrhymed), the poet addresses these grandmothers whose names have been obscured by racism and cultural self-hatred. "I don't know how to tell you / I can only say I'm sorry / That no one ever told me / That you were Anishnaabe." Métis artist Weber provides monumental paintings of both imagined historical scenes of French trappers and First Nations people in the wilderness and portraits of key Métis figures, including the author, with candy-striped Hudson's Bay Company blankets and coats providing a visual through-line. Fleury's Michif translation runs alongside the English text, and the accompanying CD (featuring noted Métis fiddler John Arcand) presents both read aloud. An introduction contextualizes the poem in history. The white text set on mostly earth-brown backgrounds is occasionally difficult to read, but this provides a window on a culture largely unknown in the United States, though its burden will be felt by many whose pasts have disappeared in the Melting Pot. (Poetry. 10 & up)Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 16, 2008

With paired verses in English and Cree matched to broad, finely detailed scenes of dancing silhouettes placed against semi-abstract backgrounds, this illustrated poem compellingly invites readers to join the Round Dance at a powwow. The authors—he of Métis descent, she a member of the Sucker Creek First Nation Reserve—use a child's voice, but the language is allusive, often mystical: "Have you danced the round dance yet? / Of course you have—you're in my dream. / You've danced in circles next to me. / You know things aren't as they seem." Illustrator Poitras—of Cree, Salteaux and Métis heritage—provides often equally obscure images (one depicts two weeping faces behind a fragmented barrier on which are painted an eye, a travois, a buffalo and a handprint) that nevertheless can provide valuable context (another sets the powwow inside a hockey rink). Readers will come away hearing the drums—both figuratively and literally, as this is packaged with a CD that includes readings in both languages, plus two tracks of traditional-style dance music. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10) Read full book review >
ABORIGINAL CAROL by David Bouchard
Released: Nov. 15, 2008

This innovative interpretation of the Huron Carol, Canada's oldest Christmas carol, is a collaborative effort by three Canadians of different ethnic backgrounds. Bouchard, a Métis poet, revised the traditional words to the carol; Beaver, a First Nations artist, provided stunning illustrations; and Aglukark, an Inuit singer, sings the carol in both English and an Inuit language on an accompanying CD. The intriguing illustrations use vibrant colors, surrealistic images and traditional First Nations artistic elements to convey both the specifics of the carol's verses and the overall theme of the song. The carol's text in English is followed on each page by a translation into Inuktitut. This second language is identified by name only on the jacket flap copy and on the label of the CD, leaving readers who are unfamiliar with Canadian history puzzled as to the origins of the translation. A more specific author's note with background information on the Huron Carol and on the Inuktitut language would have extended the usefulness of this beautifully illustrated but ultimately rather mysterious volume. (Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >
NOKUM IS MY TEACHER by David Bouchard
Released: March 1, 2007

A fully credentialed author and illustrator present a poetic First People text in English and Cree. Early primary readers/listeners will find the text confusing, and the paintings, magnificent as they are, give a somewhat conflicting view of the time setting—sleds and wagons pulled by horses, buffalo hunting scenes and tipis; modern-day overcoats and hats, shirts and ties within a more contemporary structure. A boy asks his grandmother to respond to his queries about fitting "into their world" and the role of reading in his life. She is content to "watch [him] learn to see." The two-track CD that accompanies the book has a mature-sounding male and female reading the book's text, in each language. The Cree reading includes authentic musical productions by Steven Wood and Northern Cree. The CD is an inspired addition and may be enough to redeem this otherwise marginal purchase. (Picture book. 8-10)Read full book review >
THAT’S HOCKEY by David Bouchard
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

Bouchard trumps our expectations in this winsome tale of how they play hockey in the Far North. It's winter, it's Canada, and the sport is, of course, hockey. On a visit to Cousin Etienne's farm, the narrator is stoked for a weekend full of hockey. But wait: "Where are our skates? Our pads and gloves," asks the narrator. "That stuff's for city kids," Etienne says. "We play real hockey here. No skates. No pads. No helmets. Just a number nine sweater." (For the uninitiated, that's Rocket Richard's number when he played with the Montreal Canadiens.) We're talking street hockey—a nice twist and a subtle jab at the purists—and the kids have a blast, a hard-playing, high-scoring, play-'til-you-drop blast. The narrator even gets the pleasure of showing some nice moves and gaining the respect of the other players, in a sport where respect is never a given. Then, just to throw another move on his audience, Bouchard (Qu'appelle, above, etc.) reveals that the narrator is a girl, now a woman passing on the old number nine to her daughter. Those hats and clothes have masked her gender throughout, thanks to Griffiths's (Give Maggie a Chance, not reviewed, etc.) clever art. He really gets into the spirit of the lark; the contestants are gamesome, open-mouthed, and good-natured, for in Bouchard's story there are no winners or losers, just a bunch of kids who play on and on until the dinner bell calls. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
QU’APPELLE by David Bouchard
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

Bouchard (That's Hockey, below, etc.) uses his childhood recollections to preserve an old legend in written form. Two children, Ikciv and Witonia, forge a friendship and love that brings them into adulthood. When Ikciv is called to war, Witonia falls ill. As he bravely fights, her village mourns her. Once he returns and finds his beloved gone, he sets out in search of her. It's believed that it is her voice that calls out for her loved one and his that responds, "Who calls?," which in French is "Qui Appelle." With a gentle rhythm, the romanticized legend is recounted in un-rhyming stanzas that flow effortlessly from one to another, with an uneven rhythm that is less poetic than narrative. Lonechild, a Cree artist who drew upon his own memories of the Saskatchewan prairie and its images, has created boxed paintings to illuminate each page of the recounting. Rich with the greens and lush colors of the prairie in all its seasons, the illustrations are vivid in detail and speak with images of the days of which Bouchard speaks. One might have wished for the designer to allow these works the full page, but the effect is that of an art catalog: lovely, but leaving the reader wishing for more. A poet's note explains the origin of the legend and the importance of the Qu'Appelle Valley. Few offerings of poetry from the Native American community are available, making the inclusion of this accessible narrative poem a thoughtful selection for most libraries. (Poetry. 10+)Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1995

A fiercely protective, evocative view of the ties between person and place. Defensive from the start, this book attempts to create an understanding for Bouchard's homeland. Each page begins with the phrase, ``If you're not from the prairie...'' and follows with ``you don't know the sky,'' ``you don't know the wind,'' etc. In snatches of verse, descriptions of the prairie emerge, until Bouchard attests that without knowing these, ``You don't know me.'' In the conclusion, he modifies that stance: ``Unless deep within you, there's somehow a part..../A part of these things that I've said that I know,/...and then we'll be one,/For we will have shared that same blazing sun.'' Only in these last words do readers feel welcomed into the book, and it will be too late for many. After all, a New Englander will ``know cold,'' a Floridian ``wind,'' and a Texan ``flat,'' without any of them setting foot on the prairie. The intrapersonal pitch and repetitions of ``you don't know'' create a crabbed and beleaguered perspective, rather than a wide open, affectionate one. The realistic, intensely colored paintings show children boarding a school bus, repairing a bike, having a snowball fight. In part they reiterate the plain, forthright tone of the book, but make the prairie a place most people will recognize. (Picture book. 6-10) Read full book review >