Journal of a Travelling Girl

Wandering Fox. Oct. 2020. 144p. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781772033175.
Gr 3-6–This book, by Canadian author Neema about the Tłıcho people in Northwest Territory, Canada, begins with a foreword by a Tłıcho elder saying, “We welcome this story.” The story follows the journey of Julia as she travels with a group via canoe from where she lives in Wekweeti to where the Tłıcho Agreement of 2005 is signed and celebrated. Eleven-year-old Julia, who is white, has lived in Wekweeti for several years since her mother works for the community. She and her mother have gotten close to many of the Tłıcho in the time they have lived there, and Julia struggles with feeling like an outsider among people she has come to view as family. Initially, Julia doesn’t want to go on the trip, but as the 10-day journey progresses, she grows in her ability to contribute to the work of the canoe trip and her connection to the historic significance of the event. Going from not wanting to go on the trip at all to expressing gratitude to being able to witness history might not be a typical 11-year-old experience, but the earnest, if occasionally silted, narration makes an impression of the significance of the moment in time. Black-and-white illustrations by Tłıcho Dene artist Beaverho add to the book’s sense of place.
VERDICT Readers interested in Tłıcho culture or Canadian history will find much to appreciate.

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