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From the Spirit of Denendeh series , Vol. 1

A powerful, visually impactful story of cross-culture relations.

When a Japanese man comes to Canada to claim his family’s samurai armor, he finds healing and peace with a Tłı̨chǫ Dene family.

In a museum in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Shinobu, a man from Nagasaki, has arrived to take a suit of samurai armor back to his family. Unfortunately, the museum’s old manager gambled the sword away to a man known as Benny the Bank. With the guidance of Sonny, a Tłı̨chǫ boy, he finds Benny’s place but is attacked and knocked unconscious. Sonny brings him back to his grandmother’s house, and together, with the help of a spirit, he and Ehtsi heal Shinobu’s wounds. After getting to know each other and sharing stories of their respective cultures and connected histories, Ehtsi suggests going together to retrieve the sword peacefully. Van Camp (Dogrib Tłı̨chǫ) was inspired by an actual suit of samurai armor of mysterious provenance at the Northern Life Museum. This is a striking colorized version of his 2015 original. The story and messages of honor, respect, peace, and human connection are powerful and moving. Touching on the impacts of the Second World War on First Nations communities and their link to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an author’s note and two notes from experts in the fields of history and museum education add valuable cultural and historical insights to support the story.

A powerful, visually impactful story of cross-culture relations. (Graphic fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77492-040-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: HighWater Press

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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