Monique Gray Smith is a mixed-heritage woman of Cree, Lakota and Scottish ancestry and a proud mom of twins. Under the umbrella of her own business, Little Drum Consulting, she works as a consultant, writer and international speaker. Having been sober and involved in her healing journey for more than twenty years, she published her fictionalized memoir, Tilly: a Story of Hope and Resilience (Sono Nis Press 2013) and won First Prize in the Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature in 2014. The memoir recounts how she was able to overcome her parents' divorce, the loss of her grandmother, substance abuse, and fear of personal failure to discover more about her culture and herself. Through her writing she hopes to "help shift paradigms and perspectives of us as Indigenous peoples in Canada. I am always in awe of the strength of the human spirit."

Walking barefoot on grass. A hand to hold. Bannock baking in the oven. These are ways to find happiness as discussed in her board book for small children, My Heart Fills With Happiness (Orca $9.95), illustrated by Julie Flett. It was written to support the wellness of aboriginal families in particular but applies to all children.

Monique Gray Smith lives with her family on WSANEC territory in Victoria.

BOOKS:

Tilly: a Story of Hope and Resilience (Sono Nis Press 2013; 2014) $19.95 978-1-55039-209-8

My Heart Fills With Happiness (Orca, 2016) by Monique Gray Smith. Illustrated by Julie Flett. $9.95 9781459809574

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation (Orca, 2017) $29.95 978-1-459815834

You Hold Me Up (Orca, 2017) $19.95 978-1459814479

My Heart Fills with Happiness (Orca, 2018) $6.95 978-1-4598-2018-0 Illustrations by Julie Flett

You Hold Me Up (Orca, 2018) $19.95 978-1-4598-2175-0 Illustrations by Danielle Daniel. Dual language with Plains Cree translation by Mary Cardinal Collins.

Tilly and the Crazy Eights (Second Storey, 2018) $19.95 9781772600759

You Hold Me Up (Orca, 2020) $19.95 978-1-4598-266-5-6. French translation by Rachel Martinez.

When We are Kind (Orca, 2020) $19.95 978-1-4598-2522-2. French translation by Rachel Martinez.

Tilly and the Crazy Eights (Second Story Press, 2020) $19.95 978-1-77260-075-9

When We are Kind (Orca, 2021) $19.95 978-1-4598-2753-0. Dine (Navajo) translation by Mildred Walters.

[BCBW 2021]

When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith (Orca $19.99)
BCBW 2021

Some of Monique Gray Smith’s favourite topics include resilience and reconciliation. Her background is Cree, Lakota and Scottish and she has written several books covering reconciliation including her latest title When We Are Kind.

According to the book’s back notes, Smith’s aim was “to prompt a dialogue among young people, their care providers and educators about kindness and the importance of the connections children make with their friends, classmates and families.”

When We Are Kind celebrates acts of everyday kindness. Elegantly simple phrases such as “I am kind when I share with my friends” and “I am kind when I bring food to my Elders” speak to the importance of a child’s community. And “I am kind when I only take from the earth what I need,” demonstrates the value of respecting ecology.

Gray also shows how receiving kindness brings positive results: “I feel loved when my Elders are kind to me.”

Dual language copies are available in English and French, and English and Diné. 9781459827530