Giju's Gift

  • Illustrated By: Veronika Barinova,
  • Pages:88
  • Publisher:Portage & Main Press
  • Series: Adventures of the Pugulatmu’j
  • Themes:indigenous book, Own Voices, girl adventure, Quebec, Mi'kmaw
  • Available:02/22/2022
  • Lexile:500L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:O

Long ago, all living creatures on this land shared a special balance with one another. The pugulatmu’j—the Little People—were the original guardians of the land, and they looked after all living things. As time passed, we forgot these playful yet powerful guardians, but they did not forget us. Occasionally, they make their presence known with the little tricks they play.

When her hair clip disappears, Mali is devastated. It was special, made by her giju'. Her mom thinks she lost it, but Mali knows it was stolen by the pugulatmu’j.

Soon after, Mali is surprised to meet Puug—and he’s wearing her hair clip. If she helps him find what he needs, she has a chance of getting it back. As they hunt for the objects on Puug’s list, Mali uncovers a lot of unanswered questions along the way.

Why is there a giant chasing them? Will she really get her hair clip back? And why is Puug collecting these things anyway?

Join Mali and Puug as they race to keep one step ahead of an ancient giant in the first volume of this graphic novel series for young readers.

What a read! What an adventure! Giju's Gift is a treasure filled with knowledge, insight, and a little bit of terror. I loved it!! Brandon Mitchell and Veronika Barinova have knocked it out of the park and given us something special that everyone can learn from.


Among School Library Journal's suggested graphic novels and resources centering the Native American experience.

– School Library Journal

Among CBC Book's 33 Canadian Picture Books to Watch for in Spring 2022

– CBC Books

Among The Globe and Mail's Kid's Gift Guide (2022)

– The Globe and Mail

An action-adventure graphic novel...about the power and love that memories contain. Highly recommended.

– CM Association
Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Awards, Graphic Novel   | 2023  |  Short-listed
PMC Indigenous Literature Award   | 2023  |  Long-listed
Surrey Schools Book of the Year   | 2023  |  Nominated