06 Voices of Native Youth

Ontario/United States
Joseph Boyden Ontario/United States

Joseph Boyden’s acclaimed novel Three Day Road received the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, and has been published in 10 languages. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana, where he teaches writing at the University of New Orleans. His new novel is The Orenda. Read more

Deborah Ellis Ontario

Deborah Ellis is the award-winning author of the international bestselling Breadwinner trilogy. Her latest book is Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario. @DebEllisAuthor Read more

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Waterfront Theatre
$17 / $8.50 for school groups

For two years, renowned author Deborah Ellis travelled all over North America interviewing Aboriginal children aged 9 to 18. The result is a compelling collection of interviews from Iqaluit to Texas, Haida Gwaii to North Carolina. Ellis briefly introduces each, then lets the kids speak directly to the reader, talking about their daily lives, the things that interest them and how being Native informs who they are and how they see the world. Ellis is a masterful and generous interviewer and storyteller who has brought the voices of children—Afghan, Iraqi, Israeli, Palestinian—to the world. The voices of Native youth take their place proudly alongside these other children, every one searching for a place and a meaning in this world.

Suitable for grades 8–10

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View the study guide for this event.

Voices of Native Youth


Deborah Ellis, Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids

Curriculum Connections:

  • Language Arts: non-fiction
  • Social Studies: First Nations, global community and cultural identity


  • Have students create a poster divided into four sections to represent (1) setting (2) one of the children Ellis interviewed (3) a quotation from the interviewee which you find powerful (4) something that the book makes you want to know more about. Students can use both words and pictures to express their ideas.
  • Have students write a found poem using words and phrases from the book. Have them first brainstorm ideas for a theme, then skim the book to select the words and arrange them to create a poem. They could include an illustration if they wish.
  • Have students make a video of a series of interviews with people who have read Looks Like Daylight. Encourage them to prepare interview questions that ask about the book’s themes, the author’s style, thoughts on characters, favorite interviewees and so on.