Monday, November 14, 2005

The Gathering Tree

At the Fourth International Indigenous Librarians Forum in Regina this past September I viewed the galley proofs of Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden’s latest picture book, “The Gathering Tree.” I just received my copy, direct from Larry and Constance in Vancouver, BC. Larry, a Cree elder, received the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Nonfiction for his first children’s title, “As Long as the Rivers Flow,” describing his life prior to the time he entered residential school at age 10. Constance is a freelance author/editor. She and Larry formed the Living Traditions Writers Group. Those of you who attended ALA/Toronto in 2003 may have met Larry and Constance at a program on material for children on indigenous peoples.

“The Gathering Tree” presents the topic of HIV from the perspective of a First Nations family. Tyler and his sister Shay-Lyn welcome their 21-year-old cousin, Robert, back home to participate in an annual marathon. Community elders invite Robert, who is HIV positive, to help his community become more aware about HIV/AIDS, how to prevent it, and how to support those affected by it. The book includes a Q&A section prepared by an educator from the Squamish Nation.

See for more information about Larry and Constance’s work.

“My vision is libraries full of books written by First Nations People.” Larry Loyie.