________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 10 . . . . November 7, 2014


Mingan My Village.

Poems by Innu Schoolchildren. Illustrated by Rogé. Translated by Solange Messier.
Markham, ON: Fifth House, 2014.
42 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-92708-324-6.
Subject headings:
Innu poetry. Mingan Indian Reserve-Quebec-poetry.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11.

Review by Rachel Yaroshuk.

***½ /4


"When the storm blows
On the clouds, brilliant stories
In the blue sky "



Mingan, My Village is a beautiful collection of poetry created by Innu children of the Teueikan school in Mingan, Quebec. The compilation includes 15 poems and 15 portraits that reveal a glimpse into the lives of the poets. Their poetry often focuses on local values, including relationships with nature and connections with the ancestors. The children skilfully integrate elements of imagery, metaphor, and simile, filling each page with emotion and meaning.

     Artist Rogé was inspired to compile a collection of poetry after listening to the poetry of Joséphine Bacon and the songs of Chloé Sainte-Marie. Rogé sought a forum for the Innu children to be heard in this book and coordinated poetry workshops for the children with acclaimed poets Rita Mestokosho and Laure Morali. Mestokosho and Morali helped tune the children into the poetry residing in their souls. Joséphine Bacon collaborated on the project, providing Innu translations of each of the children’s poetry at the end of the book. This collaborative group effort has enabled the Innu children to share their experience and thoughts with a wide range of people.

     Rogé was also interested in providing artistic portraits to accompany each child’s poetry. The book presents the poetry on the left page and, on the right, a full page honours the child’s portrait. The portraits are primarily composed of neutral shades, with occasional pops of reds, yellows, and blues. The portraits offer further insight into the lives of the poets, paying respect to their unique voices.

     In addition to the 15 pages of poetry, Mingan, My Village includes a detailed foreword by Rogé explaining the process of making this poetry compilation. It also includes an insightful preface by poet Joséphine Bacon. Concluding the book are details on both Rita Mestokosho and Laure Morali, explaining their artistic background and interest in this project.

     Mingan, My Village offers a heartfelt glimpse into the lives of the Innu children. The poetry is inspired and supported by a range of artists, and Rogé’s art work masterfully complements the poets.

Highly Recommended.

Rachel Yaroshuk is a Teen Services Librarian at Burnaby Public Library in Burnaby, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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