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Small Press Spotlight: AMŌ’S SAPOTAWAN will release in September from HighWater Press

This volume by William Dumas is part of The Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak series

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The Small Press Spotlight is revisiting the Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak series from HighWater Press. Earlier this year we showed you a glimpse of the first installment, and now the publisher is set to release part two in September, AMŌ’S Sapotawan from award-winning writer William Dumas and artist Rhian Brynjolson.

Dumas won the Public Communications Awards for the first book in this series, which was also shortlisted for Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. 

Read more below:

AMŌ’S Sapotawan tells the story of a girl who must choose the skill that will define her miskanaw, the path of her life. Sapotawan translates to mean each stage of life for a person as they attain a certain skill. 

Rocky Cree people understand that all children are born with four gifts or talents. When a child is old enough, they decide which gift, or mīthikowisiwin, they will seek to master. With her sapotawan ceremony fast approaching, Amō must choose her mīthikowisiwin. Her sister, Pīsim, became a midwife; others gather medicines or harvest fish. But none of those feel quite right. Amō has always loved making things. Her uncle can show her how to make nipisiwata, willow baskets. Her grandmother can teach her how to make kwakwāywata, birchbark containers and plates. Her auntie has offered to begin Amō’s apprenticeship in making askihkwak, pottery. What will Amō’s mīthikowisiwin be? Which skill should she choose? And how will she know what is right for her?

This book is both a fascinating insight into Rocky Cree culture, and highlights lifelong learning as an essential skill, empowering everyone to contribute to their communities by attaining new competencies.

HighWater Press is known for bringing about some of the most acclaimed Indigenous children’s books for over two decades, including titles by internationally-acclaimed writers like Robert Davidson, Richard Van Camp, David A. Robertson, and Katherena Vermette

James Sinclair, a celebrated Indigenous author, said that the first volume “brings alive the history and language of Asiniskow Ithiniwak in Manitowapow while illustrating the cultural breadth of a dynamic community. This book is a joy to read, teach, and share with my daughter.”

AMŌ’S Sapotawan also features sidebars on language, maps, songs, and a glossary with pronunciation notes, and the hardcover edition is slated to release on September 6.

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