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Little Voice
By author: Ruby Slipperjack
Selling Points: "coming of age, Native, nature"
Publisher: Coteau Books
Pub Date: Sep/01/2001
Pages: 256
Fiction Ages 9-12
Price:  $8.95
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Eleven-year-old Ray feels like a misfit at school and in her family. Things have been hard for her family since her father's accidental death in a logging accident, and Ray has been unable to express her grief. In school, the green eyes she inherited from her father are unusual for a child from an Ojibway background in a northern Ontario town and get her noticed in ways she doesn't enjoy. At home, Ray believes that her mother, grieving herself and busy with Ray's younger brother and sister, no longer needs her. Ray becomes so withdrawn that at times she hardly speaks.

Then Ray gets the chance she's been longing for: to spend a summer in the bush with her beloved grandmother—fishing, camping, and living off the land. During this visit, guided by her grandmother's sure hands, compassionate wisdom, and unfailing sense of humour, Ray begins a marvellous journey. Her grandmother, Agnes, a skilled healer respected in her small community, is the mentor and teacher Ray needs. She sees Ray's need to find her own identity and voice and begins to help her learn traditional skills.

At the end of this beautiful and empowering story, which begins in 1978, the withdrawn green-eyed girl has found her voice and is not afraid to use it.

Ruby Slipperjack has three novels to her credit: Weesquachak and the Lost Ones, Silent Words, and Honour the Sun. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.



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