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Children's Nonfiction Native Canadian

Nibi Emosaawdang / The Water Walker

by (author) Joanne Robertson

translated by Shirley Williams & Isadore Toulouse

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Native Canadian, Native American, Environmental Conservation & Protection
Recommended Age
6 to 9
Recommended Grade
1 to 3
Recommended Reading age
6 to 8
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


The dual language edition, in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) and English, of The Water Walker, the award-winning story of a determined Ojibwe Nokomis (Grandmother) Josephine-ba Mandamin and her great love for Nibi (water). Nokomis walked to raise awareness of our need to protect Nibi for future generations, and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men, and youth, have walked around all the Great Lakes from the four salt waters, or oceans, to Lake Superior. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example Josephine-ba invites us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.

About the authors

Joanne Robertson is AnishinaabeKwe and a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. She received her Fine Arts degree from Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. She founded the Empty Glass for Water campaign to bring attention to the drinking water crisis in Indigenous communities. She works as a research assistant at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and continues to support the water walks. Joanne lives near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Joanne Robertson's profile page

Shirley Williams' profile page

Isadore Toulouse's profile page


  • Winner, Children's Selection for the 2024/25 edition of the Great Lakes, Great Read initiative
  • Winner, First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award - Children’s Category
  • Short-listed, Indigenous Voices Awards
  • Commended, Ontario Library Association's 2018 Best Bets
  • Commended, 2018 (Spring) - Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Commended, AICL's Best Books of 2017 - American Indians in Children's Literature

Editorial Reviews

"...especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library bilingual collections..."

Children's Bookwatch: The Bilingual Shelf

"[Josephine-ba Mandamin] began a walk around Lake Superior in 2003 that instigated many more walks to draw attention to threats and celebrate the importance of water. Mandamin passed away in 2019, but her legacy lives on in water walks and especially in future generations."

The Daily Mining Gazette

"I would recommend this book for any classroom to learn from this inspirational story. It really is an Anishinaabe Call to Action to challenge everyone to contribute to this vital cause."

Anishinabek News

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