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Children's Fiction Native Canadian

Mnoomin maan'gowing / The Gift of Mnoomin

by (author) Brittany Luby

illustrated by Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

translated by Mary Ann Corbiere

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Native Canadian, Native American, Environment
Recommended Age
3 to 6
Recommended Grade
p to 1
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


In this bilingual book, an Anishinaabe child explores the story of a precious mnoomin seed and the circle of life mnoomin sustains.

Written in Anishinaabemowin and English, the story opens at harvest time. A child holds a mnoomin seed and imagines all the life that made a single seed possible—Mayfly, Pike, Muskrat, Eagle and Moose, all had a part to play in bringing the seed into being. What will happen if the seed sprouts? Underwater leaves will shelter young fish, shoots will protect ducklings, stalks will feed larvae, in turn providing food for bats…until finally mnoomin will be ready to harvest again.

We follow the child and family through a harvest day as they make offerings of tobacco, then gently knock ripe seeds into their canoe. On shore, they prepare the seeds, cook up a feast, and gratefully plant some seeds they’d set aside.

This beautifully written and illustrated story reveals the cultural and ecological importance of mnoomin. As the author’s note explains, many Anishinaabeg agree that “wild rice” is an inaccurate term for this plant relation, since part of the harvest is sown every year to help sustain human and non-human beings. Includes a translator’s note.


Key Text Features



informational note


translator’s note


Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:


Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

About the authors


BRITTANY LUBY (Anishinaabe-kwe, atik totem) est l’une des nombreuses arrière-petites-filles du chef Kawitaskung, un chef Anishinaabe qui a signé le Traité de l’angle nord-ouest en 1873. D’un coup de crayon, Kawitaskung a accepté de partager des parties de ce qui représente aujourd’hui le Nord-Ouest de l’Ontario avec des colons et leurs descendants. Grâce à ses grands-pères exceptionnels, Brittany croit au pouvoir de l’encre et des mots, c’est pourquoi elle écrit en faveur de la justice sociale. Elle est aussi professeure d’histoire à l’Université de Guelph, spécialisée dans l’histoire de l’Amérique du Nord.


BRITTANY LUBY (Anishinaabe-kwe, atik totem) is the many-greats granddaughter of Chief Kawitaskung, an Anishinaabe leader who signed the North-West Angle Treaty of 1873. With a pen stroke, Kawitaskung agreed to share parts of what is now Northwestern Ontario with settlers and their descendants. Because of her many-greats grandfather, Brittany believes that ink is a powerful tool. The words we write lay the foundation for our future. Brittany writes for social justice. She is also a history professor at the University of Guelph, specializing in Indigenous history in North America.


Brittany Luby's profile page

MANGESHIG PAWIS-STECKLEY is an Anishinaabe illustrator and a member of Wasauksing First Nation. He illustrated the award-winning picture book Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know and Mnoomin maan'gowing / The Gift of Mnoomin, both by Brittany Luby, and is the author and illustrator of Boozhoo! / Hello! He lives in the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples (Vancouver) with his wife Maria and daughter Mino.

Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley's profile page

MARY ANN CORBIERE grew up in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island speaking Nishnaabemwin. She taught her language at the University of Sudbury for many years, obtained a doctorate and continues to work on instructional resources for adult learners. She now lives in Lively, Ontario.

Mary Ann Corbiere's profile page


  • Commended, Cooperative Children's Book Center, CCBC Choices
  • Commended, Green Earth Book Award
  • Runner-up, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award
  • Winner, Blueberry Award

Editorial Reviews

A gentle, visually beautiful introduction to this aspect of Anishinaabe culture.

Toronto Star

A stunning picture book.

Globe and Mail

Beautifully rendered, this Anishinaabemowin and English bilingual book is a visual and narrative gift to young readers eager to explore Indigenous culture and ecology.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Luby's reverent text … describes the traditional method of harvesting what grows … Pawis-Steckley's vibrant color palette captures the hues of sunlight throughout the story as well as the lush flora and fauna and the warmth of the human interactions. STARRED REVIEW

Horn Book

Rhythmic, poetic, and informative narrative nonfiction at its finest.

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database

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