On a visit to her granny, Maggie is excited to begin her first-ever beading project: a pair of strawberry earrings. However, beading is much harder than she expected! As they work side by side, Granny shares how beading helped her persevere and stay connected to her Anishinaabe culture when she lost her Indian status, forcing her out of her home community—all because she married someone without status, something the men of her community could do freely.
As she learns about patience and perseverance from her granny’s teachings, Maggie discovers that beading is a journey, and like every journey, it’s easier with a loved one at her side.
In this beautifully illustrated book, children learn about the tradition of Anishinaabe beadwork, strawberry teachings, and gender discrimination in the Indian Act.
About the authors
Jenny Kay Dupuis (she/her/hers) is a sought-after public speaker, best-selling author, educator, and accomplished Woodland pop artist whose focus is raising awareness about Indigenous realities. She is well-known for her exceptional knowledge of Indigenous care theories, leadership models, and engagement frameworks, and has shared this expertise to support corporations, non-governmental organizations, school districts, and post-secondary institutions around the world in shifting their organizational practices.
As co-author of the award-winning children’s book I Am Not a Number, Jenny Kay shared her granny’s experiences at a residential school in Canada. Her latest book for children, Heart Berry Bling, brings together some of her own experiences and those of many others to highlight how the rights of thousands of First Nations women were taken by the Indian Act.
A certified teacher and learning strategist, Jenny Kay holds her Bachelor of Arts in History and Visual Arts, Master of Education in Special Education, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Jenny Kay is a member of Nipissing First Nation and lives in Toronto, Ontario. Follow her on social media @jennykaydupuis.
EVA CAMPBELL is an artist and illustrator who teaches visual art. She has exhibited her work in Canada, the US, the UK, Barbados and Ghana. Eva won the Children’s Africana Book Award for her illustrations in The Matatu by Eric Walters. She also illustrated Africville by Shauntay Grant, winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, and a Governor General’s Literary Award finalist. Eva lives in Victoria.
This title stimulates the senses as the reader experiences impressions of colour, sound, touch, scent and taste through the keenly observed descriptive text and the accompanying illustrations. Text and illustrations meld together perfectly. It is a deceptively simple story of love that also draws attention to injustices of which most non-indigenous people are unaware. A great addition to all collections. Highly Recommended
Touches on the emotional aspects of beading as well as a few technical skills! All this weaved into a visit between a girl and her grandmother, with a sprinkling of Canadian history, women's rights, and the importance of perseverance. Great for a read aloud for older students to introduce some of the unfair treatments [of] Indigenous Peoples in North America.
With its vibrant illustrations and rich personal and cultural context, Heart Berry Bling is a meaningful, memorable journey through the experiences of Maggie, her family, and the Anishinaabe people.
SeSay Art Magazine
Among recommendations for new picture books to share and discuss with young readers.
Candian Children's Book News
Eva Campbell’s richly detailed illustrations and warm colour palette perfectly capture the loving relationship between Maggie and her granny. Heart Berry Bling is both a gentle introduction for readers who are not already familiar with the [Indian] Act, and a validation for those impacted by it. The book is an excellent educational resource for teachers, librarians, and parents looking to enrich collections of books about Indigenous histories in Canada.
Quill & Quire
This is a really simple story with [a] really powerful meaning underneath it. This story is so important. This book...does a great job of highlighting the importance of passing down tradition and cultural practices and will start a really great conversation in your classroom.
49th Kids, Top Grade CanLit for the Classroom
Social justice messages lie at the heart of many children’s and YA books with Indigenous authorship. The picture book Heart Berry Bling (HighWater, May), written by Jenny Kay Dupuis, a member of the Nipissing First Nation, and illustrated by Ghana-born artist Eva Campbell, shares the tradition of Anishinaabe beadwork and highlights the experiences of women, including the author’s grandmother, who lost their First Nations status due to Canada’s Indian Act.
Heart Berry Bling offers a valuable learning experience that can inspire young readers to embrace their own heritage, consider ways to overcome challenges, and look for ways to find joy in their lives.
Nerdy Book Club
Heart Berry Bling teaches Indigenous realities and culture while warming the human heart.
We need books from writers like Jenny Kay Dupuis--people whose families hold ... brutal realities in their memory as something they lived through--and people across North America have so much learning to do about Native life and history, and about authenticity of storyteller and storytelling. Quite magnificent….Highly recommended.
American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL)