Tasha Spillett’s graphic-novel debut tells a story of kinship, resilience, cultural resurgence, and the anguish of a missing loved one. Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up Indigenous in an urban landscape – they’re so close, they even completed their Berry Fast together. However, when Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can’t stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can’t bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez’s community find her before it’s too late? Will Miikwan be able to cope if they don’t?
Surviving the City is one book in The Debwe Series.
Among ALA’s The 2020 Rise: A Feminist Book Project’s Top Ten list
Among Winnipeg Public Library’s Most Popular Books for 2019
—Winnipeg Free Press
Listed among Best Canadian Comics of 2018 by CBC Books
Tasha Spillett tells the story through the girls’ dialogue and text messages—allowing readers to be continually immersed in their world. Métis artist Natasha Donovan’s full-colour illustrations stand out.
—Quill & Quire
In this haunting graphic novel, debut author Spillett and [illlustrator] Donovan (The Sockeye Mother) present a story of girls growing up with the historical legacy of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people, particularly women and girls.
The “engrossing” story “remains a tribute to the missing and murdered and a clarion call to everyone else”…
The importance of community, especially a community of women, is a running theme throughout the book. [This book] would be [a] welcome addition to a secondary school library or classroom, or to an Indigenous Studies or Indigenous Literature curriculum.
—Bev Bellrose for Professionally Speaking
Recommended by The 49th Shelf for The BFF List. A list for new books for teens and young readers about the challenges and rewards of friendship. And yes, the drama too, which always makes for good reading. —49th Shelf
Centering the strong hearts of Indigenous women and girls and shattering racist assumptions, Surviving the City is a beautiful, uncompromising honour song to those of us that not only survive the urban, but navigate through it with courage from our Ancestors.
—Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of This Accident of Being Lost
A startling, timely, and beautifully illustrated account of the plight of indigenous girls, women, and two-children in Canada. Not to be missed.
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Nominated for The Dragon Award (Comics for a Younger Reader)
Among MYRCA Northern Lights Nominees
An In the Margins Top Fiction Novel for 2020
An AIYL Honor Book
Shortlisted for the Forest of Reading 2020 Red Maple Fiction
Nominated for the Great Graphic Novels List
Finalist for the Cybils Award, Young Adult Graphic Novels
Winner Indigenous Voices Award, alternate format
Co-winner of the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book by a Manitoba Author
Winner of the Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Award, Graphic Novel category
Selected for CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens list