An Aboriginal Carol. Written by David Bouchard, Illustrated by Moses Beaver, Translated and Sung by Susan Aglukark. Toronto: Red Deer Press, 2008.
To bring true Canadian Christmas spirit to your classroom, why not introduce your students to “The Huron Carol”? In 2008, Métis poet David Bouchard rewrote the “Carol’s” lyrics to reflect the three groups that comprise Canada’s Aboriginal people; First Nations, Inuit and Métis. He then collaborated with First Nations artist Moses Beaver and Inuit musician Susan Aglukark to create An Aboriginal Carol, a visually stunning picturebook written in both English and Inuktitut (have no fear – the book comes with a CD of Aglukark singing in both languages so you won’t be butchering the Inuktitut version as you read!)
An Aboriginal Carol makes for an excellent classroom read aloud with its rhythm and rhyme. After first reading it to your students, they will be eager to repeat after you and chant the verses themselves; “A ragged robe of rabbit skin/Enwrapped his beauty round/Hs mother hovered over him/ Her gentle voice; the only sound”. Beaver’s illustrations are colourful and detailed; students will delight in finding the hidden faces and animals depicted in every page. A fun extension activity for An Aboriginal Carol would be to read the Carol with the class without showing them the illustrations, then have students choose a verse and draw their own interpretations. Once they have completed their artwork, read the Carol again, this time showing them Beaver’s paintings of each verse. Of course, you must listen to Aglukark’s musical version, and it would be perfect to have it playing as students create their artwork. Using An Aboriginal Carol as a classroom resource allows for you and your students to play with holiday themes through true Canadian literature that doesn’t buy into the commerce of Christmas.
Check out the author’s website at: http://www.davidbouchard.com/
The illustrator’s website at: http://www.mosesbeaver.com/
The musician’s website at: http://www.susanaglukark.com/