The Song Within My Heart

Category: Book
By (author): Bouchard, David
Illustrated By: Sapp, Allen
Subject:  JUVENILE FICTION / Biographical / Canada
  JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Multigenerational
  JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Canada / Native Canadian
Audience: children/juvenile
Publisher: Red Deer Press
Published: February 2019
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 32
Size: 7.25in x 10.00in x 0.00in
Our Price:
$ 16.95
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*
Listen to the beating drum
It tells a hundred stories
Of our people, of our homeland
Some of birds and beasts and sweet grass.
Close your eyes and listen
You might come to hear a story
That no one hears but you alone
A story of your very own.

Renowned Cree painter Allen Sapp's inspired and stunning artwork beautifully complements this sweet story of a young First Nations boy preparing for his first pow-wow. The young boy's Nokum-his beloved grandmother-guides him through the exciting day and watches over him as events unfold. David Bouchard's rhythmic and informative text is based on remembrances from Allen Sapp's childhood.

Winner of the Governor General's Literacy Award, The Song Within My Heart is a beautifully crafted picture book that refects the wonders of life on a reserve, the importance of the pow-wow, and ultimately, the love between grandmother and grandson.

Included also is a CD with spoken word in English and Cree, with the wonderful music of Northern Cree.

Review Quote*
"Sapp's illustrations, rendered in thickly textured oil paint, emphasize the bond and love that the boy feels for his grandmother. The sense of emotional connection to a powwow is portrayed through the spare, poetic text. . . A strong offering about powwows, familial love, and finding understanding from within."
- School Library Journal

"A heartfelt intergenerational story about knowing and preserving heritage and love between elders and young ones. . . Bouchard's rhythmic text successfully conveys an emotive and sensory approach to the relationship between the two, enriching the story and echoing the hand-lettered onomatopoeic syllables that represent chanting and drumbeats. Sapp's profound paintings bring sincere and reassuring images that support and enhance the tale. A stunning picture book that celebrates life, family relations, and determination to preserve traditions and heritage."
- Kirkus Starred Review

"The paintings are both simple and profound, serene and dynamic."
- The Globe and Mail

"This is a good choice for units on Native Americans; it will be especially valuable for children trying to understand the feelings connected with this ceremony."
- Booklist

"Based on Cree painter Allen Sapp's childhood memories of life on a reserve in Saskatchewan, The Song Within My Heart tells of a young boy who is getting ready to go to a pow wow. Woven throughout the story is the boy's close relationship with his Nokum (grandmother). Bouchard's lyrical text, with its thoughtfully chosen words, evokes a quiet, introspective mood. Richly textured and infused with an almost radiant light quality, the illustrations reinforce strongly the simplicity of life on a reserve, the significance of the pow wow and, of course, the love between grandmother and grandson. Beautifully crafted.
Highly Recommended."
- CM Magazine

Biographical Note
David Bouchard
David's books have won several prestigious awards, among them: the Canadian Aboriginal Book of the Year in 2007 for Nokum Is My Teacher as well as being short listed for the 2007 Alberta Children's Book of the Year. Check out David's website at

Allen Sapp
is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Canadian Academy of Arts. A Cree elder, he was raised by his grandmother on the Red Pheasant reserve in Saskatchewan and now calls North Battleford home. The memory of this tender relationship has spawned in Sapp some of his finest and most sensitive works, bringing to his canvas a sense of affection and love.