Borders by Thomas King. Illustrated by Natasha Donovan

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Based on a previously published short story by the same name in author Thomas King’s short story collection, One Good Story, That One, this compelling graphic novel relates the tale of a 12-year-old First Nations boy and his mother who set out to travel from their home in Alberta, Canada, to visit the boy’s sister in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are hindered in their efforts to cross the Canada-U.S. border when the boy’s mother declares their citizenship as Blackfoot. Turned back by American border guards, they expect to re-enter Canada unhindered. But when asked by a Canadian border guard to declare their citizenship, the boy’s mother again declares their citizenship as Blackfoot, and they are refused entry into Canada.  

Caught in a no-man’s-land, the boy and his mother camp out in their car. Soon, the manager of the duty free shop, Mel, notices their plight, and his outrage at the injustice they are experiencing leads to the arrival of the media and a path forward for the pair. A refreshing, surprising friendship ensues—though only briefly—between Mel, the boy, and his mother. Mel voices his admiration for them, telling them that justice is hard to get and they shouldn’t give up, and they stop on their way home across the border to bring him a gift.  

Metis artist Natasha Donovan’s sensitive, touching illustrations draw readers into the complex emotions of a boy and his mother whose identity and citizenship are questioned and challenged by the shape of the world in the 21st century. Recommended for ages 12 and older, Borders could compel Christian readers to consider ways in which First Nations people have been treated unjustly and what can be done to bring about the shalom of the kingdom of God for all people. (HarperCollins)

About the Author

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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