About this book
Looks Like Daylight
Voices of Indigenous Kids
Deborah Ellis • Loriene Roy
They come from all over the continent — from Iqaluit to Texas, Haida Gwaii to North Carolina. Their stories are sometimes heartbreaking; more often full of pride and hope.
You’ll meet Tingo, who has spent most of his young life living in foster homes and motels, and is now thriving after becoming involved with a Native Friendship Center; Myleka and Tulane, young Navajo artists; Eagleson, who started drinking at age twelve but now continues his family tradition working as a carver in Seattle; Nena, whose Seminole ancestors remained behind in Florida during the Indian Removals, and who is heading to New Mexico as winner of her local science fair; Isabella, who defines herself more as Native than American; Destiny, with a family history of alcoholism and suicide, who is now a writer and pow-wow dancer.
Deborah briefly introduces each child and then steps back, letting the kids speak directly to the reader. The result is a collection of frank and often surprising interviews with kids aged nine to eighteen, as they talk about their daily lives, about the things that interest them, and about how being Indigenous has affected who they are and how they see the world.
I live just over the hill from where the Wounded Knee massacre took place, over by Wounded Knee Creek. … For white kids it’s just something in a history book. For me it’s my family. It’s my ground that they bled on. It’s personal.
— Destiny, 15
Even white people who know I’m Native can sometimes act like jerks. They’ll say, “Heading home to your teepee?” or go “Woo woo woo woo!” and pound their hands to their lips, doing some lame Hollywood version of a war dance.
Others ask me questions, and some of the questions are fine. You can tell when people really want to know something in order to get to know you better. But some questions go too far. Like, because I’m Ojibwe they think I was born on some sort of different spiritual plane or something.
— Brittany, l7
My chanii [grandfather] and my nana and others ran away from the residential school they were put into. Some of the older generation like my great-grandparents looked at the residential school as a good thing, but the schools weren’t as bad for them. For my nana and chanii, it was a whole lot of abuse. They were treated really badly.
My mother says there is no way to make up for the crimes of the past. There’s only forward.
— Cohen, 14
About the Author
Deborah Ellis is a member of the Order of Canada. She has won the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She is best known for her Breadwinner series, which has been published in twenty-five languages, with $2 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. deborahellis.com
Awards and Praise
Winner of the Aesop Prize
Winner of the Social Justice Literature Award
Selected for the Notable Books for a Global Society
Selected for the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices
Short-listed for the Red Maple Award for Non-Fiction
Short-listed for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction
“It’s heartening that so many of these young people are positive about their lives, no matter how troubled, and about their futures. … Ellis’ book is an excellent opportunity for classroom discussion and individual, empathy-inducing reading.” Booklist, starred review
“[T]hese young people embrace their distinctive cultural practices and almost without exception, express a buoyant attitude. As gay Chippewa 16-year-old Zack puts it, ‘They tried really hard to kill us all off, and we’re still here!’— a welcome and necessary reminder to all.” Kirkus Reviews
“Important and provocative, this is a good choice for libraries wanting to add a contemporary, youthful perspective on issues affecting indigenous people in North America.” School Library Journal
“[O]ften simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful...Unflinching and informative, this volume will appeal to a broad range of readers.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
- Commended Notable Books for a Global Society, 2014
- Short-listed Red Maple Award for Non-Fiction, 2015
- Winner Aesop Prize, 2013
- Winner Social Justice Literature Award, 2014
- Short-listed Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction, 2014
- Commended Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 2014