About First Nations Communities READ

First Nation Communities Read is an annual reading program launched in 2003 by the First Nations public library community in Ontario. First Nation Communities Read selected and other recommended titles:

  • encourage family literacy, intergenerational storytelling, and intergenerational information sharing;
  • are written and/or illustrated by, or otherwise involve the participation of a First Nation, Métis, or Inuit creator;
  • contain First Nation, Métis, or Inuit content produced with the support of First Nation, Métis, or Inuit advisers/consultants or First Nation, Métis, or Inuit endorsement.

First Nation Communities READ Awards:
Call for Nominations is Now Open for 2020-2021

The Periodical Marketers of Canada’s Indigenous Literature Award is inspired by the goals of the First Nation Communities READ program. It will provide each of the authors of the First Nation Communities READ 2018-2019 title selections with a $3,000 prize. This is the sixth year the Periodical Marketers of Canada will present the Indigenous Literature Award.

First Nation Communities Read acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for this project.

First Nation Communities READ 2019-2020 Announces Selected Titles

Toronto September 18, 2019 – First Nation Communities READ 2019-2020 announces the selected titles in the Children’s and YA/Adult Categories.  Chosen by a jury of Indigenous librarians from across Ontario, these titles represent the best of Indigenous literature.  The selected titles will be honoured at Word on the Street in Toronto on Sunday September 22, 2019.  The selected authors will be presented with the Periodical Marketers of Canada Indigenous Literature Award at a ceremony in November.

The PMC Indigenous Literature Award comes with a prize of $3000 for each author.
Download the Press Release.

Children's Selected Title
Spirit Bear: Fishing for Knowledge, Catching Dreams by Cindy Blackstock
Published by First Nations Child & Family Caring Society

Spirit Bear is off on another adventure!  Join him as he travels to meet with his Uncle Huckleberry and learn about traditional knowledge and Residential Schools. Then go with him to visit Algonquin territory where children teach him about Shannen’s Dream.  Spirit Bear and his new friends won’t stop until Shannen’s Dream of ‘safe and comfy schools’ comes true for every First Nations student.

Dr. Cindy Blackstock is a member of the Gitxsan First Nation.  Cindy is honoured to serve as the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and a professor at McGill University’s School of Social Work. Cindy is frequently sighted in the company of the Caring Society’s reconciliation Am-bear-rister, Spirit Bear, engaging children in meaningful actions to implement the TRC Calls to Action.

YA/Adult Selected Title
Tilly and the Crazy Eights by Monique Gray Smith
Published by Second Story Press

An unexpected journey can be powerful medicine.  When Tilly receives an invitation to help drive eight elders on their ultimate bucket list road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, she impulsively says yes.  Before she knows it, Tilly has said goodbye to her family and is behind the wheel – ready to embark on an adventure that will transform her in ways she could not predict, just as it will for each and every one of the seniors on the trip, who soon dub themselves ‘the Crazy Eights.’

Monique Gray Smith is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish, and a proud mom of teenage twins.  She is an accomplished international speaker and the owner of an Indigenous consulting firm, Little Drum Consulting. Her life’s work is to raise awareness of the resilience of Indigenous peoples.

View the shortlisted titles for the 2019-2020 award.
Shortlist of Nominated Titles – YA/Adult Category
  • Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. Published by ECW Press
  • Tilly and the Crazy Eights by Monique Gray Smith. Published by Second Story Press
  • Otter’s Journey Through Indigenous Language and Law by Lindsay Keegitah Borrows. Published by UBC Press
  • Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths by Jules Koostachin. Published by Kegedonce Press
  • Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones. Published by Annick Press

Previous Winners

Click on each year to learn more about the nominees and winners:

Support FNCR

Ways that you and your library can participate in First Nation Communities READ:

  1. Brainstorm with colleagues to identify ways your library can participate in the First Nation Communities Read program.
  2. Make a commitment to participate in, at least, one way.
  3. Display the annual First Nation Communities Read poster if your library is included in a sponsored distribution of it. Or, purchase the poster if your library isn’t included in a sponsored distribution.


First Nation Communities READ acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for this project

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Contact Us

For assistance with any of our services to First Nations libraries, please contact Nancy Cooper, Library Consultant.