One children’s graphic novel series getting some great attention in Canada from kids, librarians and educators is The Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws by Chad Solomon and Christopher Meyer. This independently published series has just earned an Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award nomination in the Express category for books at a Grade 3-4 reading level. Shortlists for this award are selected by a committee but the winner is voted on by actual kids participating in the program. It’s very rare to find a book not published by one of the larger publishers on these lists.
In the tradition of Asterix and Obelix, Rabbit and Bear Paws is a buddy comedy set in 18th Century colonized North America and follows two mischievous Ojibwa brothers who play pranks that often lead them to great adventures. The boys use traditional Ojibwa medicine that transforms them into various animals for short periods of time.
Each book explores one of the traditional Seven Grandfather Teachings of the Anishinabek (eg. bravery, love, honesty, etc.) without being too preachy or heavy-handed. Young readers will enjoy the slapstick humor and playful antics of the two main characters and teachers will appreciate the historical curriculum ties. This series is truly a hidden gem for librarians looking for books with that elusive Native North American content and ties in perfectly with this month, recognized as National American Indian Month.
For more on the Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws visit www.rabbitandbearpaws.com.