Naaahsa is an Artist!

  • Pages:24
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Themes:Indigenous women artists, Blackfoot people, Blackfoot language, Kainai Nation, residential schools
  • Available:10/03/2023
  • Lexile:580L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:M

Naaahsa says art is a language everyone understands. Sometimes we make art together. We draw, we bead, we sing. Sometimes Naaahsa tells stories in Blackfoot. I even get to go with her to see her art show at the National Gallery. Naaahsa is famous for her art, but I love her hugs best!

Naaahsa is an Artist! is a celebration of art, artists, and Indigenous women artists in particular. Each page comes to life with bold patterns, shapes, and Naaahsa's encouraging words that may inspire young readers to want to make art themselves.

“What a marvelous and sparkling read. How blessed are we to have Naaahsa’s wisdom for how inspiration is everywhere and, if you welcome and embrace it, the magic of the world is yours to celebrate your way in any way you wish. Thank you, Hali Heavy Shield, for sharing Naaahsa’s warmth and love. Every page feels like a hug from home.”
– Richard Van Camp

Winner of the Second Story Press Indigenous Writing Contest


Second Story Press Indigenous Writing Contest Jury Statement

“This book is sure to be a hit. As seen through the eyes of a grandchild, Naaahsa is an Artist! conveys the healing power of art and the importance of taking up space in institutions that have not welcomed Indigenous Peoples in the past.”

– Nancy Cooper

Second Story Press Indigenous Writing Contest Jury Statement

“I love the grandmother/granddaughter relationship here and I love how proud the little girl is of her grandma. It’s a book I can relate to as I had a close relationship with my grandmother.”

– Jodie Callaghan

“This is a beautifully written and illustrated book that covers a lot of ground in 24 pages. At its heart is the relationship between the young girl and Naaahsa and how she learns to appreciate art, both in small ways like painting at home, and in big ways like attending an art gallery featuring Naaahsa’s work.”

– Librarian at Syracuse City School District

"Readers will feel the safe and comforting presence of the narrator’s grandmother and her strong connection with her granddaughter.... Nevertheless, this is also a story with depth, about maintaining connection to the past through a spoken language – Blackfoot. At residential school, a defiant whisper in Blackfoot says so much: Kitsiikákomimm. I love you.'"

– Quill and Quire

"This children’s book is gently inspirational...yet another quietly powerful act." 

– Galleries West
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Globe & Mail's Top Ten Children's Book of 2023   | 2021  |  
Globe 100: Best Book of 2023   | 2021  |