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Young Adult Fiction Coming Of Age

Visions of the Crow

by (author) Wanda John-Kehewin

illustrated by nicole marie burton & Kielamel Sibal

Portage & Main Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Coming of Age, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Mental Illness, Aboriginal & Indigenous
Recommended Age
12 to 18
Recommended Grade
8 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

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“Your ancestors have called us to help you.”

“I think y'all have the wrong number.”

Damon Quinn just wants to get through his senior year unscathed. His mom struggles with alcohol and is barely coping with the day-to-day. Marcus and his cronies at school are forever causing Damon trouble. The new girl, Journey, won't mind her own business. To make matters worse, now a mysterious crow is following him everywhere. After he is seized by a waking dream in the middle of a busy street, Damon is forced to confront his mom with some hard questions: Why haven't I met my dad? Where did we come from? Who am I?

Damon must look within himself, mend the bond with his mother, and rely on new friends to find the answers he so desperately needs. Travelling through time and space, Damon will have to go back before he can move forward.

About the authors

Wanda John-Kehewin (she, her, hers) is a Cree writer who uses her work to understand and respond to the near destruction of First Nations cultures, languages, and traditions. When she first arrived in Vancouver on a Greyhound bus, she was a nineteen-year-old carrying her first child, a bag of chips, a bottle of pop, thirty dollars, and a bit of hope. After many years of travelling (well, mostly stumbling) along her healing journey, she shares her personal life experiences with others to shed light on the effects of trauma and how to break free from the "monkeys in the brain."

Now a published poet, fiction author, and film scriptwriter, she writes to stand in her truth and to share that truth openly. She is the author of the Dreams series of graphic novels. Hopeless in Hope is her first novel for young adults.

Wanda is the mother of five children, two dogs, two cats, three tiger barbs (fish), and grandmother to one super-cute granddog. She calls Coquitlam home until the summertime, when she treks to the Alberta prairies to visit family and learn more about herself and Cree culture, as well as to continuously think and write about what it means to be Indigenous in today's times. How do we heal from a place of forgiveness?

Wanda John-Kehewin's profile page

nicole marie burton (she, they) is a comics artist and children’s book illustrator living on unceded Algonquin land. Born in the US and now based in Ontario, she is a founding member of the Ad Astra Comix publishing collective. nicole’s work focuses on comics with social justice themes, including topics from Canadian history to the science of climate change. Her published works include The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet, The Boy Who Walked Backwards, and a chapter in the anthology Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working Class Struggle.

nicole marie burton's profile page

Kielamel “Kiela” Sibal (she, her) is a Filipino Canadian letterer, graphic designer, cartoonist, writer, and illustrator. She is passionately curious about the craft of different storytelling methods, from comics and video games to film and illustration. Born in Pampanga, Philippines, Kiela currently conducts her sparkling antics of wizardry in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Kielamel Sibal's profile page


  • Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards

Editorial Reviews

A vibrant and awe-inspiring journey of self-discovery....Definitely a series to watch [that] will be a great help for teens to understand the...history and culture of the Canadian [First Peoples] and their struggles today.

Grace Rosa, NY Public Library

A graphic novel recommended for teens interested in stories about social justice and the importance of family roots.

School Library Journal

This story, based on the experiences of the author, examines how Indigenous cultural connection can be a pathway towards healing from the lasting impacts of residential schools and intergenerational trauma.

49th Kids, Top Grade CanLit for the Classroom

Tight prose links Wanda John-Kehewin’s poetry background to [this] graphic novel for young people. It is a powerful story that proves knowing ourselves means understanding where we came from. burton’s illustrations transport the reader into Damon’s world. The contrast between the dull, dreary colours of Damon’s everyday life and the vivid, colourful realm of his dreams in particular, highlight the healing power of learning from history.

Prairie Books Now

[An] intriguing coming-of-age story. Recommended.

CM Association

John-Kehewin hopes that Indigenous youth and adult readers will draw from Damon’s spiritual journey. As a former employee with the Ministry of Children and Families, John-Kehewin is aware that although Indigenous youth and children may have their physical needs met, they don’t often have their emotional and spiritual needs met. She hopes Dreams: Visions of the Crow will help with that.

For non-Indigenous readers, she wants them to go beyond the stereotypes and understand that Damon’s mother’s alcoholism is “the residual effects of the residential schools and history itself."

An important story.

Kirkus Review

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