Review: Keeshig & the Ojibwe Pterodactyls


Keeshig and his family go to the beach, and he tells his mother stories about Nanaboozhoo (commonly referred to by settlers as Sleeping Giant) who he sees in the distance. To his mother’s delight, Keeshig muses about what he calls ‘Ojibwe pterodactyls’ and considers where they live and what they eat. He then shares that the Ojibwe pterodactyls are thunderbirds and their thunderous wingbeats are really the heartbeat of Nanaboozhoo. His mother tells Keeshig how grateful she is for his story. 


Keeshig & the Ojibwe Pterodactyls is a beautiful example of what can happen when a family creates together. It is a family project with Celeste Pedri-Spade writing the story as told to her by seven year-old Keeshig Spade, and Robert Spade and six year-old Kiniw Spade creating the accompanying illustrations. Readers will find this story told through the eyes of a child a fun and accessible lens into Anishinaabe storytelling, and there are plenty of opportunities for educational tie-ins about Indigenous language, cultures, and geography, as well as storytelling and creative writing. The illustrations by Robert Spade are vivid and stunning, and those by Kiniw Spade help bring the reader back to Keeshig’s childlike perspective. This heartwarming story is an absolute treasure for any picture book collection. 

About the Authors

Keeshig Spade (Keeshigbahnahnkut) is a seven year-old Anishinabe from Lac des Milles Lacs First Nation and currently lives with his family in Sudbury, ON. 

Dr. Celeste Pedri Spade (Anang Onimiwin) is an Anishinabekwe from Lac des Milles Lac First Nation.

About the Illustrators

Robert Spade (Keeshigooninii) is an Anishinabe from Northern Ontario (Fort Hope First Nation).

Kiniw Spade (Nitaw Gamik) is a six year-old Anishinabe from Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation and currently lives with his family in Sudbury, ON.

Helpful Links

Anishinabek News: Sudbury-based family creates Indigenous children’s book, telling a simple, true story

Book Details

Title: Keeshig & the Ojibwe Pterodactyls

Authors: Keeshig Spade as told to Celeste Pedri-Spade

Illustrators: Robert Spade & Kiniw Spade

Publisher: Kegedonce Press

Year Published: 2019

ISBN: 9781928120209

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