Mingan: my village


  • Sandy Campbell




Mingan:  my village. Illus. Rogé. Trans. Solange Messier.  Markham, ON:  Fifth House Publishers, 2014.  Print.

This is one of the most unusual Canadian Indigenous children’s books to have been published recently.  It is an art book composed of fifteen of illustrator Rogé's portraits of Innu children from the village of Mingan (“Ekuantshit” in the Innu-aimun language) on the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The images are accompanied by fifteen poems written by the children.  Each of the portraits covers an 8.5 X 14’ page and is an almost life-sized likeness painted from a photograph.  The images are mainly sepia tones with some orange, blue and red highlights.  These portraits will allow children elsewhere in the world to see what an Innu child looks like.

 The poems are the result of a poetry writing workshop led by Laurel Morali and Rita Mestokosho at Mingan.  They are also published in the back of the book in Innu-aimun.  The works are simple, unsophisticated and present a child’s view of the world.  Nature and grandparents figure prominently in the works.   For example:

                        In the wind's light, the pain of the heart
                        The blue river
                        When I listen
                        I have a memory of my grandfather
                        He tells me he is well
                        This comforts me
                        I know he protects me
                        That he watches me
                        I cry when he is not beside me

Overall this is a striking work that could fit both in to art collections and children’s libraries as well as those collecting Canadian Indigenous materials. 

Highly recommended: 4 stars out of 4
Reviewer:  Sandy Campbell

Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has written hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.  Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. 



How to Cite

Campbell, S. (2015). Mingan: my village. The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 4(3). https://doi.org/10.20361/G2930G



Book Reviews