The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga, Book One

The Barren groundsSeventh grader Eli and eighth grader Morgan are Indigenous foster children in this middle-grade First Nations fantasy. The children feel disconnected from their culture and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home. They find a secret portal in an unfinished attic that leads to another reality, Aski, with frozen, barren grounds. They meet Ochek, a hunter supporting his starving community. He teaches the children traditional ways, and together they embark on a mission to save Misewa. Engaging characters, life lessons, adventure, cliffhangers, evocative descriptions, and twists make this a compelling read about the importance of taking care of the land. “The land provides everything that anybody would need. If you take only what your need, the land renews itself so that it can provide more…In exchange, because we don’t really have anything the land wants, we honor it for what it gives us.” The book is reminiscent of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. A map of the North Country and a Swampy Cree Glossary and Pronunciation Guide are included. mjw
Title: The Barren Grounds
Author: David A. Robertson
: Puffin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers
: 2022
Original Language
: English
: 978-0735-2661-24
Paperback pages
: 256
Age range
: 10-17
: Fiction, Novel, Fantasy First Nations
Book setting
: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Author’s ethnicity
: Norway House Cree Nation
Author’s residence
: Winnipeg, Manitoba 
: Honor Book in the USBBY-CBC Outstanding International Trade Books, Robertson is a two-time winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award
: Cree culture, Fantasy, Folk tales, Foster homes, Indigenous stories, Myths, Chronicles of Narnia, Orphans, Traditions

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