Cover image for The Grizzly Mother
The Grizzly Mother

On Order

R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)1On Order
Hardwood Creek Library (Forest Lake)1On Order



To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need in order to survive on their own.

The Mothers of Xsan series uses striking illustration and lyrical language to bring the poetry of the Xsan ecosystem to life.

Author Notes

Hetxw'ms Gyetxw, also known as Brett D. Huson (he/him/his), is from the Gitxsan Nation of the Northwest Interior of British Columbia, Canada. Growing up in this strong matrilineal society, Brett developed a passion for the culture, land, and politics of his people, and a desire to share their knowledge and stories. Brett has worked in the film and television industry, and has volunteered for such organizations as Ka Ni Kanichihk and Indigenous Music Manitoba. The Sockeye Mother (winner of The Science Writers and Communicators Book Award) is Brett's first book for children.

Natasha Donovan (she/her/hers) is a freelance artist and illustrator from Vancouver, British Columbia. Her sequential work has been published in The Other Side and This Place: 150 Years Retold anthologies. She is the illustrator of the award-winning graphic novel Surviving the City, as well as the award-winning children's book, The Sockeye Mother ( shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction), the first book in the Mothers of Xsan series. Natasha is a member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia.

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3--7--A mother grizzly bear awakens and spends three years caring for her cubs near the Gitxsan Territories in northwest British Columbia in this informational picture book. Donovan's beautifully colored digital illustrations evoke traditional form line art and woodcuts to help tell the story of the bears and their relation to the Gitxsan people. While some vocabulary words are defined in numbered yellow footnotes on the pages on which they appear, there are many words of similar difficulty that are not defined. There is no pronunciation guide for the Gitxsan words used, and while some are defined in the text, not all are. Gyetxw's text is lyrical and thoughtful and will be engaging to readers who wish to learn more about the grizzly or the Gitxsan people's relationship with nature. The illustrations are captivating and meticulous two-page spreads--they are carefully laid out with keen attention to detail and inspire a close look. VERDICT This is a gorgeous book best suited for avid bear fans or collections needing more books about the Gitxsan Nation. Recommended for larger collections.--Kelsey Socha, Ventress Memorial Library, Marshfield, MA

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Nox Lik'i'nxw, the Grizzly Mother, awakens from torpor. Her firstborn cubs gnaw and scratch at her, impatient to explore outside of their den." Anchored in the culture of the Gitxsan Nation, this spellbinding account of a grizzly bear's first few years with her cubs is the second title in the Mothers of Xsan series. The text centers observations and explanations of the bears' behaviors, adroitly using Gitxsan words in a way that makes their meaning apparent: "Nox Lik'i'nxw and her cubs feel an air of change as Lasa gwineekxw, the Getting-Used-to-Cold-Moon arrives." Sophisticated scientific concepts are seamlessly incorporated, then explained in crisp footnotes: "Torpor is a state of lowered bodily activity in response to cold." Saturated with ocher hues and expressively detailed with black line, Donovan's illustrations amplify the text's lyricism with nuanced perspectives and subtle formline art motifs. A closing page provides information on the Gitxsan Nation. Ages 9--12. (Sept.)