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Nibi Emosaawdang / The Water Walker

by (author) Joanne Robertson

translated by Shirley Williams & Isadore Toulouse

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
English Language Arts, Science, Social Justice
Grade Levels
1 to 3
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2021
    List Price

Where to buy it

Descriptive Review

Educators looking to share one of today’s most critical understandings may appreciate this resource. Robertson tells the true story of an Ojibwe water walker’s mission to increase awareness of the essential value of water and the need to protect it. This message is communicated through a simple story of Nokomis’s gratitude for the gift of water, and the responsibility she takes to protect it. The colourful artwork supports story comprehension, as well as invites readers to think about the gifts water provides and to notice and question the ways it is used. This story, told in English and Anishinaabemowin, supports learning about the importance of water and inspires readers to consider what they are going to do to protect it. | Awards include First Nations Communities READ Indigenous Literature, Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Best Books for Kids, Ontario Library Association’s Best Bets 2018 Junior Non-Fiction, and AICL’s Best Books 2017. Anishinaabemowin translation by Shirley Williams with Isadore Toulouse.

40 pp., 8.5 × 7", colour illustrations

Joanne Robertson (AnishinaabeKwe, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek)

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

About the authors

Joanne Robertson is AnishinaabeKwe and a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. She received her Fine Arts degree from Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. She founded the Empty Glass for Water campaign to bring attention to the drinking water crisis in Indigenous communities. She works as a research assistant at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and continues to support the water walks. Joanne lives near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Joanne Robertson's profile page

Shirley Williams' profile page

Isadore Toulouse's profile page


  • Short-listed, Indigenous Voices Awards
  • Winner, First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award - Children’s Category
  • Commended, Ontario Library Association's 2018 Best Bets
  • Commended, 2018 (Spring) - Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Commended, AICL's Best Books of 2017 - American Indians in Children's Literature

Editorial Reviews

"[Josephine-ba Mandamin] began a walk around Lake Superior in 2003 that instigated many more walks to draw attention to threats and celebrate the importance of water. Mandamin passed away in 2019, but her legacy lives on in water walks and especially in future generations."

The Daily Mining Gazette

"...especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library bilingual collections..."

Children's Bookwatch: The Bilingual Shelf

"I would recommend this book for any classroom to learn from this inspirational story. It really is an Anishinaabe Call to Action to challenge everyone to contribute to this vital cause."

Anishinabek News