This is a story inspired by my own family and my great-Aunt Bernice. She was like a grandmother to me. It was a joy to imagine their lives on the island (a mile from where my parents have a home today). The story is fiction. It’s a way for people of all ages to learn more about a Métis family in Ontario before they hid their identity for protection and to stay together.
“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.
Follow me on social media to learn more about some of the people and places who inspired the book.
Brave Bernice is ready for an adventure!
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.
Product Information: Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold
- Release: May 16, 2023
- Second Story Press
- $12.95 Paperback
- 190 Pages
- 5.25″ x 7.5″
- Children’s Fiction
- Ages 9-12 / Grades 4-7
- ISBN: 9781772603187
The Thing With Feathers by Jessica Outram
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
This is a story of becoming whole by reassembling broken pieces of self, holding onto hope in the darkest moments, and seeing everything in a new light.
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
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
My cousin and I started smudging together in the 1990s. Aunt Pat gave us our first sage and abalone shell bowls. We learned about ceremony. We learned about the value of sacred time together.
Last summer I bought a beautiful smudging feather with a pink quartz handle that stands proudly in an oak base. It was created by First Nations artist LinDaLou. The staff told us that the artist visits the Centre, setting up a table by the fire for a few days to assemble them. We loved that it was created in a space that means so much to us.
Our family history in Britt, Ontario, is rich and goes back to before the town had its name. Britt stretches down one road off Highway 69 along Still River to Lake Magnetewan and out to the mouth of Georgian Bay.
Mom worked on a population study when she was in high school (in the late 60s) and reported five hundred people lived there then. Approximately, three hundred people live in Britt now.
My citizenship card arrived at the end August 2016. I was surprised how much peace it brought me.Â It was almost as though my ancestors breathed out a collective sigh of relief. I am proud to be MÃ©tis.
For a week this summer I stayed in residence at Trent University, my alma mater.
It surprised me to realize that I hadn’t been back to Otonabee since the late nineties. When I signed up for an intensive theatre course (offered through Theatre Ontario at Trent), I knew I would feel nostalgic but I wasn’t prepared for this. Returning to my first home away from home was a transformational experience.
Born in Berlin. Child of the Enlightenment Era.
Ezekiel Solomon was born in Berlin, Germany in 1735. Solomon shares his birth year with John Adams (second American President) and Paul Revere (American Patriot). In 1735, Alexander Pope was writing poetry and George Frederic Handel composed operas. King George II was on the British throne.