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Two bilingual children's books published in one year

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Abby Cote, Windspeaker Contributor, Toronto







Page 8

Marie Gaudet is president of Gaa-dibaatjimat Ngaashi: Stories From My Mother Inc., an Aboriginal-owned company specializing in Native language and cultural development.

Her commitment to traditional language had led her to create three in a series of four children's books based on her mother's life experiences. The first book is titled, "MOO IISIKAAG! (nii-psikaag)-The Cow is Going to Bump Into Me." Gaudet illustrated, designed and published the book while her mother, Rose Logan (Pitawanakwat) wrote the story and translated the book into Ojibwe.

The second in the series is now available, with the third available in January. The second book is titled, "Ode'min Keng (Picking Strawberries)" and tells of the experiences of a little girl spending time with her grandmother.

The third book is titled, "When Grandmother Comes To Visit," a story based on the moon time (menstruation) teachings and berry fasting.

This third book is based on teachings from Lilly (Osawamick) Bourgeois-Biidowe'aanmido Kwe who walked on to the spirit world on March 1, 2001. Lilly was well known in the Anishinabe community for her teaching of the Ojibwe language and culture, jingle dress dancing, drum making, and for working tirelessly to help others with their journey of wellness.

"My third book," said Gaudet "is a great way to explain these teachings to our children in an simple, uncomplicated way."

Gaudet is a traditional woman, jingle dress dancer, singer and hand drummer. She is Turtle Clan and a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation of Manitoulin Island.

She has extensive training and employment experience in the field of education and cultural development and programming. She has worked in day care and elementary schools and is currently involved with the Stay In School Program in Toronto where she is assisting Aboriginal youth in writing, designing and publishing a collection of short stories.

She said that being the mother of six active children, who range in age from teens to toddler, has been her first and foremost education in child development. She is concerned that her children and all Anishinabe children receive the opportunity to learn their language and culture.

"My vision is to promote the revitalization of Anishinabe language and culture. The resources that I am developing will enable our children to learn our language and appreciate the beauty of it by seeing it and hearing it. It is my hope that children, through their learning and enthusiasm, will inspire their families to learn about our language and culture."

Gaudet has created all aspects of these books except for the story lines and the Ojibwe translation. She designed them, did the graphics and the layout and is publishing them by herself using her home computer. She is self-taught on the computer and has found much of the project to be a valuable learning experience.

"Although it took me six months to complete the first book, I enjoyed every moment as it has allowed me to become creative again. Being a mother of six is a full-time job and sometimes sacrifices have to be made, like putting my other career on hold for a while. Creating and publishing these books is the fulfillment of a life-long dream that has been a really positive experience."

Rose Logan is Marten Clan and originally from Wikwemikong and is a member of the Muncee Delaware First Nation. She is a traditional woman, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and jingle dress dancer. Logan is an Ojibwe language teacher who has completed the Ojibwe Language Teachers Program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and is currently working at the First Nations School in Toronto.

The books have beautiful, colorful graphics with text in both English and Ojibwe. There is also a cassette tape that accompanies the book so children can listen as they real along. One side of the tape has the story in English; the other side is in Ojibwe.

The language text is simple and the tapes are easy to follow. At th sound of a hand drum you turn the page, making it easy for children to follow along in either language.

Gaudet has approached libraries and school boards with her book and is receiving positive responses from both, as well as from a number of bookstores.

"I didn't foresee all the work that it takes in the publishing world and how hard it is to market and sell your own work. I just look at it this way, the second book and third book and so on are going to be that much easier to publish, market and sell."

Anyone wishing to order these books should contact Marie Gaudet at Tel: (416) 469-8044 Fax: (416) 466-5854 or by e-mail marie.goudet@sympatico.ca or check out her website: wwwstoriesfrommymother.com.