The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga, Book 1 (Hardcover)
This fantastic series opener about Indigenous foster kids set in Canada - - will creep into your soul, thump thump thump, like a beating drum or eagle wings taking flight or your pounding heartbeat – in this Narnia-inspired fantasy . 13 year old Morgan has seen it all as she has bounced around after a succession of failed foster homes since very early childhood. She reluctantly has agreed to her foster parents to help watch 12-year old new foster child – Eli – as he navigates middle school, where she comes to discover his amazing drawing talent. As kids tend to do when bored, they enter the attic at home that has an unexplained painted-over doorway, and whoosh…….in comes the cold, frost and snow from beyond. Joseph’s drawing of a winter forest has come alive including talking and walking squirrels, fishers and bears, among other animal elders.
— From Staff Picks by Maureen
Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in an epic middle grade fantasy series from award-winning author David Robertson.
Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home -- until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything -- including them.
About the Author
DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award and was nominated for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. Strangers, the first book in his Reckoner trilogy, a young adult supernatural mystery, won the 2018 Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction (Manitoba Book Awards). A sought-after speaker and educator, Dave is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg. For more information, visit his website: www.darobertson.ca and follow him on Twitter: @DaveAlexRoberts
"David A. Robertson has written such a fine, beautiful novel. He manages to combine hard truths about our history with a Narnia-like fantasy, sweeping us into the world of the story while opening our hearts as well." --Susin Nielsen, author of We Are All Made of Molecules and No Fixed Address
“This is a book that is rich in its characterization, evocative in its descriptions, and skillful in its weaving together of traditions of the past and life in the present.” --CM Magazine
"This middle-grade fantasy deftly and compellingly centers Indigenous culture." --STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
This debut sparkle's with well written characters, family dynamics gone awry and a deeply embedded Kansas location that is normally not written about. The only -too-real mother/daughter relationship is fraught with misunderstandings and hard won truths. How Mandelbaum handles a bone weary, obsessed and depressed woman on the verge of losing everything -- her home, her daughter, her animals and the entire sanctuary - is writing at its best. Surely, a writer to watch! - reveiw by Maureen