The Gift of the Little People

The Gift of the Little People

by William Dumas
illustrated by Rhian Brynjolson
Highwater Press, 2022
ISBN 978-1-55379-992-4 (hc)
$22.95, 48 pp, ages 9 – 11, glossary

The Gift of the Little People is the third title in the Asiniskaw Ithiniwak (Rocky Cree) Series from Northern Manitoba. William Dumas, a well-known educator, administrator, and storyteller from South Indian Lake in Manitoba, shares a story that his father told him as a child. The main character is an Elder named Kakakiw. When the story begins, Kakakiw is at the point of exhaustion due to taking care of his people who are suffering from a deadly illness. He seeks direction through prayer. Help arrives in the form of one of the Little People. Kakakiw is advised to journey to the village of these small beings—paddling through a cliff of solid rock— where he will be given the medicine that his people need.

Classroom Connections: The Gift of the Little People shares aspects of the language, culture, territory, history, and knowledge of the Rocky Cree people at the beginning of the fur trade in the 1600s. This story fits into many areas of the school curriculum and lends itself to practising the following reading comprehension strategies: questioning, inferring, predicting, visualizing, and making connections.

Review by Brenda Boreham.

This review is featured in Candian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2024 issue.

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