We have another young reader’s graphic novel from Highwater Press this week in the Small Press Spotlight. Released on April 4, Visions of the Crow (Dreams, Volume 1) is written by Wanda John-Kehewin and illustrated by nicole marie burton and Kielamel Sibal. 

Check out details on the book (ages 12+):

Damon Quinn just wants to get through his senior year unscathed. His mom struggles with alcohol and is barely coping with the day-to-day. Marcus and his cronies at school are forever causing Damon trouble. The new girl, Journey, won’t mind her own business. To make matters worse, now a mysterious crow is following him everywhere. After he is seized by a waking dream in the middle of a busy street, Damon is forced to confront his mom with some hard questions: Why haven’t I met my dad? Where did we come from? Who am I?

Damon must look within himself, mend the bond with his mother, and rely on new friends to find the answers he so desperately needs. Traveling through time and space, Damon will have to go back before he can move forward.

Artist burton shared in a statement:

As a settler with roots in Canada and the United States, learning about the histories of colonial genocide in these countries was and is deeply unsettling. Even at a young age, starting at maybe 12 or 13, I felt emotionally unsettled by that history and strongly moved by historic photographs and narratives of Indigeneity. So, when I read Wanda’s script, I related to the main character struggling with this history—and like him, I was once an 18-year-old punk kid in Vancouver, too! I just felt like we could do so much with the visuals, particularly when he travels back in time and visits with his ancestors. These are such powerful things to have the opportunity to draw in collaboration with an author.

From John-Kehewin:

“I’m up for trying new things all the time…. and learned the process about pictures painting more than the words show.”

“I love writing in all genres to shed light on sensitive and tough topics, like the effects of hegemonic systems of oppression. I love creating spaces to heal with my writing.”

From the publisher:

“When I’m asked to describe HighWater Press, the word flourishing comes to mind. Our intent as a press was to bring Indigenous stories to readers to make the unfamiliar, “the other,” familiar,” says Publisher Catherine Gerbasi. “While the stories’ central themes are often familiar to readers (love, identity, family, struggle), when told through an Indigenous perspective, other worlds open up and new belief systems are experienced. We didn’t expect to be a part of a renaissance movement in Indigenous writing, but clearly the educators, and librarians who believe in a multitude of perspectives find these stories as rich, robust and as complex as we do, and here we are.”

Below are a few pages from Visions of the Crow to check out before you grab your copy.