Shining a Light on Great Books: Neekah’s Knitting Needles


Are you ready for the first annual I Read Canadian Day on February 19th? There are so many wonderful Canadian authored and illustrated titles available for all age levels that you shouldn’t have any trouble engaging your students in some reading and sharing activities to celebrate the day (or week). If you need some help in getting organized for the event, don’t worry, the people behind I Read Canadian Day have got your back! Go to for ideas and support.

Here’s a new picture book from Sono Nis Press that meets the Canadian criteria and also addresses the goal of including Indigenous content in your lessons. As a spinner and knitter, I was delighted when it arrived on my desk, but I think the charming story by Sylvia Olsen and Odelia Smith, and the gorgeous illustrations by Sheena Lott, will make it an appealing addition to classroom and school libraries. It is about a young girl’s first attempt at learning to knit, but it is also about the connection between generations within a family, and about traditions and skills that are passed down to children and grandchildren. The details of the connections and the particular skills and traditions in this story can be linked to other skills and traditions in the cultures of the students in your classroom and to the universal connections between generations. From a historical perspective, the knitting of a toque in Neekah’s Knitting Needles represents a long history of knitting among the Cowichan people of British Columbia—an interesting story of a resilient and resourceful people who created economic benefits and earned respect from around the world.

Wishing you peace and happiness in 2020 and lots of interesting reading on February 19th!


Diana Mumford
Diana is the Editor at Canadian Teacher Magazine.

This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Winter 2020 issue.

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