Shin-chi’s Canoe

Written by Nicola I. Campbell and Illustrated by Kim LaFave

Published August 1, 2018 by Groundwood (Links to an external site.)


Shi-shi-etko is returning to residential school for her second year and this year her younger brother, Shin-chi will be going also.  The children are taken to school in a cattle truck.  As they travel, Shi-shi-etko reminds Shin-chi that they will not return until the the salmon are running again, that his English name is David, and that he won’t be able to talk to his sister at school. She gives Shin-chi a small wooden canoe carved by their father and tells him to keep it hidden.


Shin-chi misses his home and feels hungry all the time.  He sneaks away to the river to find peace and release his tiny canoe. One day, he and Shi-shi-etko find each other at the river.  Finally, the salmon are running and the children will return home. When they arrive, they find their father carving a dugout canoe for them.


Shin-chi’s story reflects the loneliness and pain experienced by residential school students while celebrating resilience and family love.


Introducing the Author and Illustrator:


Visit the authors’ bio page (Links to an external site.) and blog (Links to an external site.).


Visit the illustrator’s bio page (Links to an external site.) and website (Links to an external site.).


Learning More About the Book:


Read reviews of Shin-chi’s Canoe here (Links to an external site.)here (Links to an external site.), and here (Links to an external site.).


Developing Background Knowledge:


Educators who would like to know more about residential schools in Canada can start with these sources.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Links to an external site.)


Residential Schools in Canada Education Guide (Links to an external site.)


National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (University of Manitoba) (Links to an external site.) 

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