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Dog Tracks

by (author) Ruby Slipperjack

Fifth House Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Creative Writing, English Language Arts, Geography
Grade Levels
7 to 10
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2008
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2014
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

Ruby Slipperjack, a member of the Eabametoong First Nation, draws the reader into a celebratory coming-of-age story of the character Abby. After the illness and death of her beloved grandfather, Abby relocates from the city to live with her mother, stepfather, and stepbrother on the Bear Creek Reserve. With the help of her Elders and Chief, Abby discovers how valuable the traditional teachings of her people are. We are swept through the busy, ever-changing seasons and demands of life in the North and pulled into the rhythm of both traditional and contemporary hunting and gathering. The family faces hardships like accidents, natural death, and forest fires, with practicality, patience, and humour. Detailed celebrations, definitions, superstitions, and Anishinaabe histories are highlighted through thoughtful story telling. Anishinaabemowin is used throughout the 200 pages of this text. Slipperjack’s first-person writing style is very accessible for young readers.

230 pp., 6 × 9", b&w illustrations

Ruby Slipperjack (Eabametoong First Nation)

Source: Association of Book Publishers of BC - Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools (2021-2022)

About the author

Ruby Slipperjack,
or Ruby Slipperjack-Farrell is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Ruby spent her formative years on her father's trap line on Whitewater Lake. She learned traditional stories and crafts from her family and has retained much of the traditional religion and heritage of her people. Her family later moved to a community along the railway mainline. She went to residential school for several years and finished high school in Thunder Bay.

After graduating from high school Ruby successfully completed a B.A. (History) in 1988; a B.Ed in 1989; and a Master of Education in 1993. In 2005 she completed a Doctoral program at the University of Western Ontario.

Ruby is a member of the Eabametoong First Nation and speaks fluent Ojibway. She uses her maiden name "Slipperjack" when she writes, in honour of her parents and ancestors for the cultural knowledge and teachings that inform her writing. Ruby has retained much of the traditional religion and heritage of her people, all of which inform her writing. Her work discusses traditional religious and social customs of the Ojibwe in northern Ontario, as well as the incursion of modernity on their culture. Ruby is also an accomplished visual artist and a certified First Nations hunter.

Ruby is the mother of three daughters and currently lives in Thunder Bay with her husband and their two shelties.

Ruby Slipperjack's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A wonderful book to share with readers interested in Native culture. A heartfelt coming of age story about finding oneself that will be enjoyed by many readers. . . Filled with detail and heart, this is an intimate look inside the rich culture of the Anishinawbe people of northern Canada."
Youth Services Book Review

"Slipperjack carefully paints a portrait of traditional and non-traditional life incorporating history and culture into a coming of age story. . . The novel, aimed at readers of Abby's age group, serves as a primer on Aboriginal life for readers of all ages and would be a useful addition to public and school libraries especially in support of the Social Studies' curriculum focus on First Nations.
CM Magazine

"A lovely story..."
The Chronicle Journal

"This is not one of those clumsily written 'young-adult-learning-to-walk-in-two-weeks' novels. Rather, this story is about knowing who you are; it's about knowing you have the love of your relatives, no matter where they are; and it's about coming home to your community. . .This novel will stay with readers long after they have finished reading it."
Multicultural Review

"Abby is a very interesting and appealing character who experiences the realities of everyday teenage life. . . Although the novel is not action packed, it would be a wonderful choice for young readers who are interested in learning about the lifestyle and traditions of the Anishinabe culture and the relationship between city life and reservation life."
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