Orca Chief

Vickers, Roy Henry and Robert Budd. Orca Chief. Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 2015.
What are the stories that make you feel like you’ve come home? What are the myths of other cultures that remind you of your own spiritual values? Whenever I read a picture book by Roy Henry Vickers, I feel a sense of timelessness, as if a thousand days were but one day and the people of long ago could be the people of today. As if the story I’m reading is the same as the stories I heard as a child, just with a different setting. Orca Chief, the third in a trilogy of legends set in the Pacific Northwest, tells the story of four fishermen who are too exhausted to be respectful of life beneath the waves. Patiently but firmly, the orcas teach the four how to care for the environment and safely provide for their village. The fishermen learn to seek forgiveness, change their ways, and celebrate life with thankfulness. The flow of the writing, the elegance of the illustrations, and the flawless design make this a book for everyone. Buy it. Keep it. Read it aloud and to yourself, regularly. 

More stories from indigenous people of North America

A writing lesson using Gary Paulsen’s account of his encounter with a whale

The Night War

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The Night War. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2024.
Twelve-year-old Miriam’s father has taught her that can choose her actions, even if she can’t choose her feelings.  But her parents are gone now and she has to make a decision by herself: will she risk her life to save others? Will she stay in Nazi-occupied France to help others escape or run away to save herself? Set during World War II and full of historical facts and an extensive afterward, this compelling novel by an award-winning author is highly recommended for readers 11 to 14 years old.

Questions to consider: How do you know whom to trust? Does knowing someone’s story make you feel differently towards them? If you feel guilty, are you? If you had to give up your culture in order to save your life, would you?

More stories of courage

More books about World War II

More stories set in France

Angela’s Glacier

Scott, Jordan. Angela’s Glacier. New York: Neal Porter Books / Holiday House, 2024.
On the day of Angela’s birth, her father carefully bundles her up and carries her outside to show her an ancient glacier rising above their town. Even before Angela can walk, her father carries her on his back across lava fields and snowfields to listen to the sound of the glacier. And once Angela is old enough, she starts to hike by herself to listen to the mysterious sounds beneath the ice. But then she gets busy – school, friends, sports, music – and does not go anymore until her heart overflows with longing and she returns to her beloved glacier.
Extraordinarily evocative illustrations by Diana Sudyka help to tell this enchanting story set in Snæfellsnes National Park near Reykjavik. In an afterward, the author explains how he was inspired by a friend who grew up in Canada but moved to Iceland and the friend explains more about glaciers. Highly recommended as a read-aloud for children 5 to 10 years old. Even more highly recommended for readers of any age who appreciate astonishingly beautiful writing and exquisite design.

P.S. Where does your heart feel at home? Why there?

Another story by Jordan Scott

And another story by Jordan Scott 

More stories set in Iceland

More stories about characters with a strong sense of individuality

A way to use picture books with older students