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Children's Fiction Native Canadian

Biindigen! Amik Says Welcome

by (author) Nancy Cooper

illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Native Canadian, Mammals, Environment, Native American, General
Recommended Age
3 to 7
Recommended Grade
3 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Busy beavers have a family reunion in this story that celebrates Indigenous perspectives

It’s a special day for Amik the beaver and her little sister, Nishiime. Their cousins are coming to visit! Amik is excited, but Nishiime feels nervous about meeting new people, and when the cousins finally arrive, Nishiime disappears.

Lively, immersive illustrations show Amik and her cousins as they search the woods for Nishiime. Each creature they encounter, introduced to readers using their Anishinaabe names, reveals how beavers help the forest community. A fish thanks them for digging canals in the mud that they swim through. A deer thanks the beavers for cutting down trees so they can reach the tastiest leaves. None of the creatures have seen Nishiime, but keen-eyed kids will have spotted her hiding in the background throughout the story.

Eventually, Nishiime returns to the group, having overcome her shyness by learning an important lesson: despite being from different places, the beavers are all united by the ways they support the forest ecosystem. With the perfect blend of fact and fun, this salute to the industrious beaver is also an energetic celebration of Indigenous perspectives, languages, and diversity.

About the authors

NANCY COOPER is from the Chippewas of Rama First Nation in southern Ontario. She grew up all over northern Ontario, and her favorite place to be is out in the forest seeing and learning new things. Nancy lives in Toronto now and loves to spend time with her twin sons, her wife, and their poodle Joy.

Nancy Cooper's profile page

JOSHUA MANGESHIG PAWIS-STECKLEY est un artiste ojibwé des bois et un membre de la Première Nation de Wasauksing. Son art vise à récupérer et à promouvoir les histoires et les enseignements traditionnels ojibwés dans un style forestier contemporain. Il a organisé plusieurs expositions individuelles sur l’Île de la Tortue. Joshua a entre autres illustré l’album primé Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / La Terre me parle : Un livre sur les saisons de Brittany Luby. Il vit à la fois à Vancouver et dans la Première Nation de Wasauksing.


JOSHUA MANGESHIG PAWIS-STECKLEY is an Ojibwe woodland artist and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. His art aims to reclaim and promote traditional Ojibwe stories and teachings in a contemporary woodland style. He has held several solo art exhibitions across Turtle Island. Joshua has illustrated the award-winning picture book Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / La Terre me parle : Un livre sur les saisons by Brittany Luby, among others. He spends his time living both in Vancouver and Wasauksing First Nation.

Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley's profile page


  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Commended, FOLD Kids Book-of-the-Month

Editorial Reviews

"A sweet educational story about family and nature embedded in several Nations’ traditions."

Canadian Review of Materials

"The illustrations provide joyful scenes of the beavers’ gathering, giving each one a personality and style. Crayon bright and full of small lessons of hospitality, vocabulary, and adventure, this sweet story belongs on family shelves as well as among Indigenous collections."

School Library Journal

"In a story about diversity and acceptance of differences, Nancy Cooper also reminds us of the interrelationship of living things ... Biindigen! Amik Says Welcome is a fresh picture book in language and art, and its messages about acceptance and gratitude will make it a welcome addition to any bookshelf."

CanLit for Little Canadians

"A vibrant work laden with messages, from accepting differences to fostering respect for the natural world."

Kirkus Reviews

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