We Dream Medicine Dreams

  • By (artist): Lisa Boivin
  • Pages:48
  • Publisher:Portage & Main Press
  • Themes:death of a grandparent, grief, Indigenous author, Dene, picture book for kids
  • Available:04/27/2021
  • Lexile:HL600L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Q

From Dene artist and bioethicist Lisa Boivin comes this healing story of hope, dreams, and the special bond between grandfather and granddaughter.

When a little girl dreams about a bear, her grandfather explains how we connect with the knowledge of our ancestors through dreams. Bear, Hawk, Caribou, and Wolf all have teachings to share to help us live a good life. But when Grampa gets sick and falls into a coma, the little girl must lean on his teachings as she learns to say goodbye.

Masterful prose and stunning collage weave a gentle story about animal teachings, the power of dreams, and the death of a loved one.

Among USBBY 2022 Outstanding International Books List


A moving and insightful picture book honouring the enduring relationship between a child and her grandfather. Boivin's exquisite, digitally created collages are luxuriantly alive with colour, pattern, and texture.

– Quill & Quire, a starred review

The illustrations are a bright and colourful collage, full of depth. texture and pattern. The illustrations not only help serve to tell the story, but also demonstrate the warmth and beauty in nature, connection, and the medicine all around us. Highly recommended for home and public libraries.

– Canadian Children's Book News

How we deal with loss, and the personal, cultural, and community ways we do that, is an urgent issue. Lisa Boivin's work is as soulful and compelling as it is beautiful!


Among OLA Best Bets Top Ten, Junior Picture Book

– OLA Best Bets

In We Dream Medicine Dreams, Lisa Boivin uses her powerful words and pictures to show us natural laws and teachings. These teachings about the medicine power of dreams, family, loss, and connection resonate with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. In sharing these teachings with us, Lisa has given all those that read her book a great gift that allows the ancestors to speak with our children. This little book full of stories and teachings, which are the core of who we are, will bring us back to our ancestral selves. I encourage everyone, young and old, to spend an evening with this charming masterpiece – you will not regret it.


We Dream Medicine Dreams is a beautiful depiction of Indigenous kinship and healing. It reminds us of how our cultural teachings and relationships with family and the land are acts of everyday ceremony and revitalization. The vivid collages that illustrate the book remind us of the beauty and wellbeing to be found in the natural world and how these elements contrast with the fear and discomfort that can be felt in Western health care systems. This is a story of how our holistic ways of knowing bring us comfort in times of grief and challenge and keep us forever connected to those we love.


Boivin’s thoughtful story is exquisitely complemented by stunning collage illustrations.

– The Globe and Mail

I highly recommend this book. Not only did I love the incredible illustrations, which would definitely appeal to children, I also loved how this gentle story would be a great starting point when talking to children in a classroom about family loss, death and grief. In social studies, students can also use the book as a starting point when exploring animal teachings and the power of dreams in Indigenous cultures. We Dream Medicine Dreams would be a wonderful addition to a classroom library or to use as a read aloud.

– ETFO Voice
Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year   | 2022  |  Short-listed
First Nations Communities READ   | 2022  |  Long-listed
Indigenous Voices Awards, Published Graphic Novels, Comics, and Illustrated Books   | 2022  |  Short-listed
Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Awards, Children’s Illustration   | 2022  |  Short-listed
Rocky Mountain Book Award   | 2022  |  Short-listed
Co-winner of the First Nation Communities READ PMC Indigenous Literature Award, Children’s Category   | 2022  |  Winner