cover image Surviving the City

Surviving the City

Tasha Spillett, illus. by Natasha Donovan. Highwater, $18.95 paper (54p) ISBN 978-1-55379-756-2

In this haunting graphic novel, debut author Spillett and Donovan (The Sockeye Mother) present a story of girls growing up with the historical legacy of Canada’s treatment of indigenous people, particularly women and girls. Indigenous Canadian teens Dez (who is Inninew) and Miikwan (who is Anishinaabe) have always been closer than sisters; they tell each other everything and partner up to tell the story of their berry fast for a school heritage project. But after Dez learns that she can no longer live with her ailing grandmother, who is suffering from complications of diabetes, she spends the night in a park, fearing a possible move to a group home. Indigenous women routinely disappear in their city, and Miikwaan, whose own mother is dead, becomes frantic, fearing the worst. In scenes of a city spilling over with tension, Donovan renders ghosts of lost kindred walking the bright city streets alongside menacing, mostly male specters. Spillet’s appendix “Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People” adds further context and suggestions for additional reading. Ages 13–up. [em](Mar.) [/em]