This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

November-December 2016

REVIEW: New picture book revives old First Nations poetry

Sandra Butt revisits E. Pauline Johnson's The Two Sisters

Jessica Rose@NotMyTypewriter


The Two Sisters
Written by E. Pauline Johnson, illustrated by Sandra Butt
Waterlea Books, $19.95

Poet and performer E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) died more than a century ago. But B.C.-based illustrator Sandra Butt revived one of Johnson’s iconic poems—“The Two Sisters”—in her picture book of the same name. This retelling of a First Nations’ legend takes readers back thousands of years to the story of two sisters who bravely seek peace at a time when “war songs broke the silences of the nights.” Supplemented by a reference section educating readers on the rich history of the Pacific Northwest peoples, The Two Sisters is a beautiful addition to both children and adults’ bookshelves.

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