Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl, is struggling with her feelings of loneliness while separated from her mom and adjusting to a new school. Then an ordinary day in Mr. Bee’s history class turns extraordinary, and Echo’s life will never be the same. During Mr. Bee’s lecture, Echo finds herself transported to another time and place—a bison hunt on the Saskatchewan prairie—and back again to the present. In the following weeks, Echo slips back and forth in time. She visits a Métis camp, travels the old fur-trade routes, and experiences the perilous and bygone era of the Pemmican Wars.
Pemmican Wars is the first graphic novel in A Girl Called Echo, a series by Katherena Vermette, Governor General Award–winning writer and author of The Seven Teaching Stories (HighWater Press).
Compelling…realistic art…perfect pacing…Teens are likely to strongly identify with Echo and look forward to more of her adventures.
…feelings of alienation, of loneliness, of not belonging, either at home or at school, are experienced by both genders and those teens – male or female – who eat their lunch alone and wander the halls without friends will understand Echo’s plight. Although I think that Pemmican Wars is a book which will find its greatest readership amongst students with Métis or Indigenous heritage, those who are the descendants of settlers will be offered a new perspective with this book.
A unique examination of a fascinating time of history and the thoughtful narration by an Indigenous teen make this a must-read.
…visits to, and interactions with, the past offer a fantastic voyage for Echo…. Echo seems to be living two lives: one life is in the present, where she struggles with self-identity amidst a troubled family situation; the other is steeped in exciting historic events of the past and individuals from that time period. While it’s not clear whether Echo has a powerful imagination or is actually a time traveler, this juxtaposition of past and present offers an interesting story for readers.
—Michael Sheyahshe for the journal, Transmotion
Among the Recommended Fiction Book List (2019) In the Margins Book Award
Shortlisted for the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher
Shortlisted for the High Plains Book Award, Woman Writer
Chosen for CCBC Choices 2018 annual best-of-the-year list by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Chosen for Best Canadian Book Covers of 2017 by CBC Books
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