Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox is a captivating book with an important message. Métis author and illustrator Danielle Daniel introduces readers to the significance of totem animals, part of the dynamic and diverse Anishinaabe culture. Each page shows a different animal and the words that describe the characteristics and feelings associated with it. The words have a poetic feeling and the illustrations are soft and gentle. This combination helps deliver the message of the book in an age-appropriate way for students.
This book is versatile and will be appreciated by primary and junior students. Students will be able to identify the animals and think about the characteristics and feelings they represent. For example, the bear is “strong and confident” and the deer is “sensitive and kind.” Through this exploration, students will be able to engage in self-reflection and learn emotional literacy. Each page starts with “Sometimes I feel like a …” and opens space for classroom conversations that deal with naming and normalizing all feelings. Students will learn to identify and respect their own feelings and those of others.
This book is cross-curricular and can be used creatively in all subject areas. In Language Arts, it can be used as a read-aloud and mentor text to initiate writing about feelings and research into different poetry styles. In Visual Arts, students can experiment with different art styles and techniques. In Drama and Dance, students can act to represent the animals and their characteristics. In Social Studies, students can begin to learn about their own identities. In Science, students can learn about the different animals and their habitats and think critically about the environment.
This is a great book with an important message that centres mental health and wellness. The author’s note and list of totem animals at the back is helpful because it gives a context and more information. Furthermore, as we work towards Truth and Reconciliation, this book can be a springboard to learn about important Anishinaabe traditions.
Rabia Khokhar is a member of the Toronto Occasional Teacher Local.