Welcome to Sunshine in a Jar

Jessica Outram (she/her)

I’m Jessica Outram, a Métis author and teacher. Co-Host of The Hummingbird Podcast.

By day I work as a centrally assigned System Principal of Indigenous Education for a school board in Ontario, supporting K-12 curriculum and individual Indigenous students in nearly 100 schools. In the evenings, I am a course instructor at Trent University in the Bachelor of Indigenous Education Program. I’ve worked as an educator for almost 25 years.

Sunshine in a Jar started in 2007 and is my digital scrapbook of ideas, stories, and projects. Click here to subscribe to my email newsletter.

New Book Release:

Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold by Jessica Outram

Second Story Press

It’s the summer of 1914. Eight-year-old Bernice lives with her family in a lighthouse on Georgian Bay. One day Bernice wakes up to find a stranger named Tom Thomson sleeping in their living room. When she overhears him talk about gold on a nearby island, Bernice is determined to find it. Inspired by her beloved Mémère’s stories of their Métis family’s adventures and hardships, Bernice takes the treasure map the stranger left behind and sets out in a rowboat with nothing more than her two dogs for company and the dream of changing her family’s fortunes forever.

“A treasure map sparks a coastal Canadian Métis eight-year-old’s search for gold in an exuberant, richly detailed novel from a Métis author sharing her family’s fictionalized history…. A sweet historical fiction pick for fans of well-intentioned young protagonists with enlightening Indigenous representation.” Booklist

This is a novel for young teens, featuring historical fiction depicting life on this part of Georgian Bay in the early 1900s, and a history of the Indigenous people, the voyageurs and the settlers who came later to these islands. It is also a compelling novel about an adventurous girl who finds that the real gold on Georgian Bay is right where she lives.” Charlotte Stein, ParrySound.com

Author Jessica Outram has given us a story with a difference: a book that incorporates many phrases in the Métis language, Michif.” Helen Norrie, Winnipeg Free Press

“An excellent complementary read for indigenous or Canadian history studies. It is a worthwhile and thoughtful read and an admirable way of paying tribute to past generations. Highly Recommended.” Canadian Review of Materials

“As a story, it will interest readers of all ages, moving deftly between the warm family scenes, industries across the water, and the dangerous storms of Georgian Bay.” Historical Novel Society

Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold is an amusing and informative story that serves both to entertain and educate the reader. It would be a positive addition to any home or school library.Anishinabek News

Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold is now available in hardcover as a Junior Library Guild selection.

The Thing With Feathers by Jessica Outram

Piquant Press

Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –

Emily Dickinson

Words on a Wire, September 2022. Northumberland Festival of the Arts. Photo by Dai.

The Thing With Feathers takes you on an intimate journey of truth, transformation, and healing of spirit. From cherry blossom tree trunks to the shores of Georgian Bay, these poems evoke reverence, recalling past lives and ancestral Metis blood memory passed down from grandmothers.
~ Sarah Lewis, Poet Laureate, Peterborough ON

Poetry that’s both affective and effective in recognizing the power of expression as a means of revealing the human spirit. There is clarity of language in these poems, and in that clarity the reader finds what it means to feel alive.
~ Antony Di Nardo, Poet

Click here to read Anthony Di Nardo’s full-length review of The Thing with Feathers.

Here are poems that show a way to build belonging. With clarity and sharp imagery, Outram’s poetry aches with the will to transform. They “swirl beyond the whirlpool of rules” because it’s all possible. Slowly, a new self emerges by breaking down threads / pulled by uncertainty. Through the deliberate act of seeing, facing, and confronting, a knowing, more integrated self comes to light. A fresh, vivid and heartfelt debut.
~ ”Catherine Graham, Poet, Aether: An Out-of-Body Lyric and The Celery Forest

Click here to read Kate Rogers’ review of The Thing with Feathers.

Sunsets in Britt: A Georgian Bay Tradition

Book of photography by Jessica Outram.

Released October 2021, Sunshine in a Jar Press.

Nurture Your Creative Spirit

Read More by Jessica Outram

A Play in Two Acts.

Land Acknowledgement

I respectfully acknowledge that the posts on this site were written on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg and the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg. I am grateful for the First Nations of these territories, for their care and teachings about the land. As people of the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 and the Williams Treaty of 1923, we continue our journey to strengthen our understanding of our Treaty relationship and of how to move forward together in a good way. I acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of all Indigenous people across Turtle Island, current and throughout history.

The land and the waters will always be Indigenous lands and waters. They continue to teach important lessons every day.