Selling Points: First Nations, men’s fancy dance, bi-racial, Aboriginal, soccer, friendship, identity, racism
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Jan/31/2017
Fry Reading Level: 4.3
Fiction Ages 11-14
Juggling soccer, school, friends and family leaves John with little time for anything else. But one day at the local community center, following the sound of drums, he stumbles into an Indigenous dance class. Before he knows what's happening, John finds himself stumbling through beginner classes with a bunch of little girls, skipping soccer practice and letting his other responsibilities slide. When he attends a pow wow and witnesses a powerful performance, he realizes that he wants to be a dancer more than anything. But the nearest class for boys is at the Native Cultural Center in the city, and he still hasn't told his family or friends about his new passion. If he wants to dance, he will have to stop hiding. Between the mocking of his teammates and the hostility of the boys in his dance class, John must find a way to balance and embrace both the Irish and Cree sides of his heritage.
Quill & Quire - January 20, 2017
"The author...reinforces that she is capable of writing engaging stories about Indigenous subjects in any genre...John is an appealing character...Scenes between him and his parents and energetic younger sister, Jen, are especially well drawn...He Who Dreams offers readers a fast-paced story with realistic Indigenous content connecting the book to contemporary discussions about Indigenous issues in Canada."
Resource Links - December 20, 2016
"Melanie Florence manages...to portray a realistic portrait of a young man trying to figure out what motivates him and where he wants to go while giving his story room to tell itself rather than trying to direct from the keyboard. Well done."
Kirkus Reviews - December 1, 2016
"Florence effortlessly creates a very real and loving biracial family for her thoroughly modern protagonist. John's fast-paced tale twines universal teen concerns with specific cultural issues. This novel allows young readers to embrace their own heritages and realize they stand on the shoulders of all their ancestors."