Quite simply, Go Show the World, written by Wab Kinew and illustrated by Joe Morse, belongs in every elementary school library or collection of mentor texts. Inspired by Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters, by Barack Obama, and K’naan’s song, “Take a Minute,” the author has written a powerful picture book providing brief descriptions of the accomplishments of a wide range of Indigenous North Americans. Half the subjects are women.
The text is written as a rap song with alternating verse and chorus. Each verse describes the achievements of a Canadian or American Indigenous person. Some are historical: Sacagawea, who was a guide for Lewis and Clarke on their journey to the Pacific Ocean; Francis Pegahmagabow, a highly-decorated Canadian sniper from World War I; and Te-Wau-Zee, a survivor of the Trail of Tears. Others are modern day heroes and leaders: John Herrington, an American astronaut; Carey Price, an NHL goalie; and Beatrice Culleton Mosionier, a Métis author. There is a brief biography of each subject at the end of the book.
The book could be used for many purposes at different levels, but would be a particularly rich text for junior and intermediate students. Students of every background would benefit from learning about the rich contributions made by Indigenous doctors, soldiers, athletes and activists. And all students would benefit from the message of perseverance and overcoming hardship. In terms of curriculum, the book provides many opportunities for writing and further reading.
One thing this book would benefit from is a page dedicated to the author. Wab Kinew is a musician, journalist, leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party, author and vice president of Indigenous Affairs at the University of Manitoba. He is clearly living the message, “Go Show the World.”
Teri Thayer is a member of the Limestone Teacher Local.