Little, Brown. Sept. 2021. 192p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780316593069; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780316593052.
Gr 6 Up–Laetitia, a young Blackfoot woman living north of the Canadian border, moves to Salt Lake City after growing bored with her life, which is filled with tension between her and her mother. After some time has passed, Laetitia’s mother and her little brother, who narrates the story, decide to take a road trip to visit, and so must pass through two border checkpoints: one for the United States and one for Canada. At each checkpoint, Laetitia’s mother is asked her citizenship, and at each, she claims her Blackfoot nationality. Barred from entering the United States, Laetitia’s mother is sent back to the Canadian border and isn’t allowed to pass; she and her son find themselves stuck in the space in between, recognized as citizens of nowhere. King (Cherokee) and Donovan (Métis) create a simple yet powerful story of Indigenous endurance at the convergence of identity, culture, survival, history, and modern politics. Although Laetitia is named, her mother and brother are not, signifying the difference in recognition paid to those who readily accept colonial practices and those who do not. White characters are also identified by their given names. Donovan’s steadfast style is easily and immediately recognizable. A natural palette of beige, gold, and similar earthy colors is used alongside a variety of blues depicting the daytime sky and the darkness of night. Strong lines and minimal backgrounds keep the focus on the characters’ wide-eyed and expressive faces, working well with the character-driven narrative. Characters identify as white Americans or Canadians, and Blackfoot.
VERDICT An important and accessible modern tale about the ongoing lack of recognition by colonizers for the Indigenous communities who continue to exist on their ancestral lands.

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