“Ruby Slipperjack is a trail-breaker in the field of Indigenous literature and of children’s literature in general, welcoming readers into the lives of young Anishinabe protagonists whose vigorous, resilient voices carry us into family and community, into tiny northern towns and reserves, and over a vast expanse of forest, rock, river, and lake. In subject matter and setting, she ranges where no other children’s writer in Canada has gone.
Slipperjack is exceptional in portraying the quandaries, joys, and struggles of her young protagonists with compassion and humour, and at the same time, gently teaching traditional ways in the context of contemporary Indigenous life. She shows the elasticity and strength of relationships between generations, across families and among those who offer friendship to the wanderer. She offers detail that makes us see vividly the close-up of wild blueberries hanging on their bushes, or the worn linoleum in front of a stove; but she also makes us feel the enormity of the forest, the endless hundreds of lakes, and the wonderfully ordinary, assured habits and traditions of canoeing, camping, fishing, hunting, and harvesting.
Ruby Slipperjack, you remind us all of the power of culture, family, traditions, inheritance.
We give thanks to you and to your family and to your ancestors, your editors, your publishers and your characters for welcoming us into your community in such a beautiful way.
Chi Migwiich for all that you have done for so many for so long.”
— 2017 Vicky Metcalf Award Jury (Deirdre Baker, Marthe Jocelyn, and Richard Van Camp)