By Alison Gear
Felt Illustrations by Kiki van dee Heiden with the Children of Haida Gwaii
mckellar & martin Publishing Group Ltd. 2014
This book made me want to go back to the Haida Gwaii. It is a beautiful book and a celebration of the children of the Haida Gwaii who helped to make it. The felt work is unique and a fitting representation of the BC Northwest coast. Alison Gear has lived on the Haida Gwaii since 1996 and tells one version of the Haida moon cycle. Each page has text in English with titles in both Skidegate Haida and Old Masset Haida. It is very cool that there is a full written translation and audio recording in the Skidegate Haida dialect upon request. Initially the book looks like a book appropriate for early primary but the poetry of text makes it just as appropriate for use with older students. I shared this book with Grade 3/4 students. They loved the artwork in the illustrations and how you could “almost feel” the texture. They also liked how the animals that they know quite a bit about, followed the cycle of the moon. The students currently researching British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii were also thrilled that they were able to garner information to include in the books they are currently writing using BookCreator on the iPads. Taan’s Moons is an amazing way to consider Aboriginal ways of knowing and understanding that are evolving into written text after being passed down through oral traditions for centuries.