Swift Fox All Along by Rebecca Thomas, illustrations by Maya McKibbin. Annik Press, 9781773214481, 2020
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? This is an interesting story about discovering who you are and where you came from-even if this is something new and different. This story features a young girl named Swift Fox. Her parents are separated and she lives with her mother and her younger sister. Her dad is taking Swift Fox on a special outing today-instead of their normal visit of playing in the park and getting ice cream, he is taking her to meet her aunts, uncles, and cousins. The family is Mi’kmaq, an indigenous people living in the Quebec area and northeastern Maine. Her father wants Swift Fox to meet them because he wants her to know “what it means to be “Mi’kmaq”. Swift Fox is very nervous because she does not know this side of her family and she is not sure if she can be Mi’kmaq. Her father reassures her that this is something she has in herself already and she will enjoy meeting the family. Things do not go smoothly at first and Swift Fox feels very alienated from her family, despite their efforts to make her feel welcomed. As the day progresses, she realizes that her heritage is something deep inside her-she just needs to discover this for herself.
I really enjoyed the Author’s Note in the back of the book. She explained that her parents were separated when she was young and that she did not see her dad very often. Her father attended a school for indigenous children, but had lost most of his language and culture as he got older and left home. She expresses her gratitude for her father wanting his daughter to connect with her culture and instilling pride in her heritage. I think both the message of living in a home with separation and pride in culture are important for children to see in stories today.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing.
To whom would you recommend this book? This story is perfect for children who are interested in learning about another culture. After reading this story, I did research the Mi’kmaq people and learned they are going through a dispute with commercial fisherman in the Nova Scotia area at this moment. Books like this encourage children to explore something they might have seen in the story.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of four and eight.
Where would you shelve it? Picture Books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, provides a glimpse into the Mi’kmaq culture.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: October 26, 2020