Wild Berries/Pakwa che Menisu is First Nation Communities Read Selection for 2014-2015

Toronto, May 23, 2014 – First Nation Communities READ (FNCR) and Periodical Marketers of Canada (PMC) are pleased to announce jointly that:

  • Wild Berries* and Pakwa che Menisu*, published by Simply Read Books are the FNCR 2014-2015 title selection for year-long community reading;
  • Julie Flett, author-illustrator of Wild Berries and Pakwa che Menisu, is the first-time recipient of PMC’s new Aboriginal Literature Award.

* There are two editions of this book by Julie Flett. Wild Berries is bilingual (English and n-dialect Cree or Swampy Cree from the Cumberland House area). Pakwa che Menisu is Cree only (n-dialect from the Cross Lake, Norway House area).

FNCR’s 2014-2015 submissions call was for children’s books that encourage family literacy, intergenerational storytelling, and intergenerational information sharing. With concise text, playful language, and elaborative illustrations, Wild Berries’ and Pakwa che Menisu deliver. They welcome and encourage everyone to read, recall, tell, share, and even venture out again, or for a first time, to a local berry patch.

A jury of librarians from First Nation public libraries in Ontario, with coordination support from Southern Ontario Library Service, selected Wild Berries and Pakwa che Menisu from more than 40 titles submitted by Canadian publishers. An announcement of five short list contenders preceded the selection decision. In arriving at its selection decision, the jury stated, “The surface story of a day of sunshine, birdsong, and berry picking in a woodland clearing makes for a deceptively simple-seeming picture book. However, Wild Berries’ and Pakwa che Menisu have important underlying themes: the importance of intergenerational relationships and teaching, respect for Mother Earth and all her creatures and creations, and the acknowledgment, preservation, and use of Aboriginal languages and dialects. Even Flett’s wild blueberry jam recipe speaks to traditions of socializing and feasting.”

The Aboriginal Literature Award, inspired by the goals of the FNCR program, recognizes the work of the creators of outstanding Aboriginal literature and supports the objectives of PMC’s Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters (FACL). The annual award of $5,000 is provided through a FACL funding commitment. PMC, with FNCR jurors on hand, will present the Award to Julie Flett on Monday, June 9, at a luncheon at the 40th Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference in Toronto. Following the Aboriginal Literature Award presentation on June 9, FNCR will sponsor a week-long tour during which several First Nation public libraries will host readings and workshops by Julie Flett in their communities.

Although FNCR times its title selection announcement to support programming and awareness initiatives for National Aboriginal History Month (June) and National Aboriginal Day (June 21), public and school libraries across Canada will continue to celebrate and program with Wild Berries and Pakwa che Menisu throughout the year.

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First Nation Communities READ (FNCR) is the Ontario First Nation public library community’s contribution to the popular reading movement. Launched in 2003 by the First Nations public library community in Ontario with support from Southern Ontario Library Service, it promotes a community-based approach to reading, FNCR:

  • encourages family literacy, intergenerational storytelling, and intergenerational information sharing;
  • increases awareness of the relevance and importance of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit writing, illustration, and publishing;
  • promotes the publication, sharing, and understanding of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit voices and experiences;
  • increases awareness and sales of the titles it honours.

The focus of the FNCR program alternates annually between books for children and books for adults and young adults. The 2014-2015 FNCR submissions call was for books for children. The 2015-2016 submissions call will be for books for adults and young adults.

Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) is mandated to deliver programs and services on behalf of the Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport by:

  • increasing cooperation and coordination among public library boards and other information providers in order to promote the provision of library service to the public;
  • assisting public library boards by providing them with services and programs that reflect their needs, including consultation, training and development.

For more information about FNCR and Southern Ontario Library Service, contact:

Patty Lawlor | First Nations Consultant | Southern Ontario Library Service
Tel: 416-961-1669, Ext. 5108 | plawlor@sols.org

Simply Read Books’ approach to illustrated children’s books follows the finest publishing tradition and spirit with inspired content, extraordinary artwork, outstanding graphic design form, and quality production. Simply Read Books introduces contemporary books with a modern appeal and fresh outlook, and offers a careful selection of timeless stories that link the past with the present.

For more information about Wild Berries, Pakwa che Menisu, and Julie Flett, contact:

Kallie George | Editor and Publicist | Simply Read Books

Periodical Marketers of Canada is the national association of magazine and book wholesalers serving 35,000 retail newsstands. Periodical Marketers of Canada was established under federal charter in 1942 for the purpose of furthering the wholesale periodical distribution industry and contributing to the encouragement of reading in Canada. Current members of the association are: Monahan Agency, Vernon, BC; Metro News, Toronto, ON; TNG, Burlington, ON.

PMC’s ongoing activities include funding of a nonprofit charitable foundation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters, which makes contributions to individuals and agencies engaged in the encouragement of literacy and reading in Canada.

For more information about Periodical Marketers of Canada, contact:
Periodical Marketers of Canada
Suite 1007, 175 Bloor St. E. | South Tower | Toronto, ON M4W 3R8
Tel: 1-613-583-7546 | Fax: 416-968-6281 | rargyle@periodical.ca

FNCR acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for this project.