NEYAASHIINIGMIING, ON — Kegedonce Press is delighted to announce the release of Amik, a brand-new children’s board book written and illustrated by educator and Juno-nominated artist Sharon King. A rare and much-needed contribution to diversity in children’s books, Amik is intended to preserve and teach Anishinaabemowin. Its simple story appears, one line per page, in both Anishinaabemowin and English. As King told Open Book in a recent interview, the main objective of the book is to provide language-learning for children, although it can also provide a good starting point for youth and adults who are beginning to learn their language. King also notes that Amik has an environmental message, showing how all living things coexist in unity in the course of one day. As amik (the beaver) works he is surrounded by nature and the activities of other beings. At the end of the long day, amik returns to his den to be with his family. Along with the delightful bilingual story are King’s beautiful, brilliantly colourful illustrations, which are created from cut-paper collage (sample pages below). The use of tissue paper endows the images with unique textures and transparency. Amik is a fun, educational and engaging book for children ages three through six and their families.
Christi Belcourt, renowned Métis artist and author of Medicines to Help Us, writes of Amik:
“This delightful story with its paper illustrations is perfect for the imagination. Busy beavers get things done! We can all learn a lot from the hard work of the beaver. And now more than ever, at this time when more people are engaging in learning their languages, it’s really important to have books like this that are available in Indigenous languages.”
Sharon King is an educator, performer and producer. She is Potawatomi from the Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound. Most recently Sharon has worked at a community level as an educator in Wasauksing. She is best known for her Juno nomination in 1999 (Aboriginal Women’s Voices, Hearts of the Nation). She has produced community arts programs and her travels have helped with a strong connection to artists, filmmakers, and producers in Canada. Her strong hold on Indigenous culture and singing has maintained her efforts in her keeping tradition present with her family and community.