Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Nathan

Ouriou, Susan (Author)
Red Deer Press 2016. 152 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9780889955479 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“All my relations,” says Elder Estella, as she smudges the home of Grampa, in his journey from independent to assisted living. Her phrasing also reflects the theme of this thoughtful tale about a difficult childhood. Nathan observes his older generations, classmate-tormentor Adam’s troubles, and the wildlife and nature around his Calgary home. “Mom says it was only a coyote … but I know better … If you see a raven, that other animal’s no coyote, it’s a wolf.”

Simple and direct language draws readers into Nathan’s world, as he discovers his Indigenous heritage with Grampa, builds an alien landing site with his new friend Max and fends off attacks by Adam (who is himself abused at home). Indigenous values are discussed and exemplified through the plot. Max’s Jewish heritage is shown to share similarities with the oppression suffered by Nathan’s ancestors. Grampa and Nathan share similarities too, as one grows up and the other re-enters childhood.

Nathan’s own personal crisis, manifested by paralysis in his legs, is resolved through a combination of healing elements: time with family and a friend, a fishing trip and the need to step up and help others who are ailing too—“All my relations.”

  •  

    What is a bully? Discuss how someone becomes a bully. Can you feel sorry for a bully?

  •  Nathan is a victim of Adam’s bullying. The power shifts when Nathan sees that Adam is being beaten by his father. Discuss how you can look at someone differently when you put yourself in their shoes.
  •  

    Nathan’s grandpa has declining physical and mental state, yet says with joy, “This is as good as it gets.” Write about what it means to have perspective and a positive outlook on life. Write about a time that you, or a story character you know, felt this way.

  •  

    As Nathan faces his fears and enters the school yard after being gone for so long, he says, “I straighten to my full height - tall and getting taller.” Write about how this is a symbol of the challenges and changes that Nathan, Grandpa, Max and the First Nations people face.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship