Red Wolf is a heartrending, relentlessly compelling novel ... As a mature reader who has read two recent adult nonfiction works on the residential schools, I was surprised to find myself intensely emotionally involved with Dance's characters. My reaction is a compliment to Dance's skill as a novelist.
— Canadian Materials
Dance’s voice, on behalf of the horse, is authentic. The details she includes on horse behaviour are accurate – keenly observed over many years as a horsewoman herself. She creates tension, so that the reader becomes engaged and invested in the story and characters. By the tale’s conclusion, we have a new appreciation for the people and the animals that lived and died during this brutal time in history — Horse Canada Magazine
An important book, that should be read by everybody.... a book that manages to portray our history with a horse as the main character. The concept is amazing, and the execution of that concept is masterful. As a story about a horse, this is a great book, but there is so much more, and the book goes so much deeper, that it becomes a history lesson and a commentary on what we did (do) to the land and the people on it. Pure genius. — Katarina Ortmann - Amazon.ca 5 stars.
Paint is another INCREDIBLE young-adult historical-fiction work by Jennifer Dance! Just like her first novel, "Red Wolf", (which has since rightfully won awards!) I feel strongly that this is a book that needs to be read in schools. With fantastic character development, you won't be able to put it down! And all the while, you're learning. Brilliant — Kate Bowen - Amazon.ca 5 stars
Another fantastic novel by Jennifer Dance. My ten year old son's review? "It was AMAZING!" — Cathy Passafiume-Amazon.ca 5 stars
My daughter loved this book. She couldn't put it down. She recommended it so highly I plan on reading it myself — Julie Gordon - Amazon.ca 5 stars
Jennifer Dance, is a very gifted story teller and her written descriptions of the land, the harshness of the pioneer life, and how in their ignorance the early pioneers destroyed the balance of nature resulting in huge natural disasters are so good that the events just come alive on the pages. People and animals die in the story – that is a harsh fact of life – and add long droughts, and endless blizzards and you get an inkling of what the pioneers went through to stay and survive. It is so easy to tell that Jennifer did whole lot of meticulous research into the story. The world changing events that happened both to nature and the indigenous peoples in the lifetime of one horse makes the mind boggle. — Sally, Goodreads
From the start I loved Paint; a gentle, social and smart horse. Ms Dance descriptions of Paint and Noisy Horse, her first owner was lyrical and the horrors of their brutal separation vividly described. The descriptions of the land, the harshness of the settler life were engrossing and real. An excellent, descriptive and gratifying read. I read this book in one sitting and thought about Paint for days after — Karen, Goodreads
The book follows the horse's life story as she moves from owner to owner and experiences the changes that the northwest was experiencing at that time. I loved this book. Although the back cover states that the target age group is 9-12, I strongly feel that teens and adults will have a strong appreciation for the book. Ms. Dance is a very gifted storyteller. Her words flow perfectly from page to page and I didn't want to put this book down. The period in history is depicted with a great level of detail, and I felt transported back in time. The varied characters are all believable and I cared about all of them. But, mostly I grew to love Paint, the remarkable horse who is the center of this book. Ms. Dance writes with great respect for this horse, and the end result is a very touching novel — Catherine, Goodreads 5 stars
Dance has found a way to tackle complex issues as well as provide a history lesson that is not only understandable to children but also interesting. What's Dance's secret? Animals. — Stouffville Sun Tribune
A painted mustang gives us a glimpse of how life used to be on the prairie ... a great read. — Rob Her Many Horses, Lower Brule, South Dakota .
This book is well written [and] very entertaining. The story is emotionally engaging as the reader comes to care about the horse Paint, and her handlers. — Resource Links
RED WOLF REVIEWS
This book goes far beyond the history that I learned in school and connects my heart in a deeper way to the hope for healing and reconciliation. May this story inspire a new generation of Canadians to understand how we got here, and inspire hearts and minds to continue striving towards restoration and reconciliation.
— Joanna Robertson, Rated 5 stars, Chapters Indigo review
Jennifer Dance has taken a bold step in the right direction by subverting the idyllic doctrine kids are typically taught about Canadian diversity.
— Vincent Smith, Bookshelf
With Red Wolf, Jennifer Dance has come howling out of the wilderness . . . and I am deeply impressed — Joseph Boyden, Giller Prize winner and Order of Canada
Dance's first novel addresses a horrific historical period and details Red Wolf's harsh awakening in painful, hard-hitting scenes . . . readers will finish with a strong sense of the abuses suffered by natives at the hands of settlers. — Publishers Weekly
Children and young adults alike will want to read Jennifer Dance's novel on the intertwined story of a wolf and a First Nation boy. It is exactly the kind of book I loved when I was a boy.—James Bartleman,Ontario's 27th Lieutenant-Governor General, author and member of the Chippewas Mnjikaning First Nation
I believe this book would be a wonderful tool in the classroom setting. I could see it being very successful with 5th grade/6th grade. The book provides opportunity to learn and discuss the heritage and culture of the Anishnaabe Nation and other similar nations/tribes around the Great Lakes of Canada and the U.S. I would love to see Red Wolf become part of an annual lesson plan or unit on Native American heritage. — Sarah, Goodreads. Rated 5 stars
Even adults will find this a refreshing read. Although it 's targeted at young adults, there are plenty of nuances that a more mature reader will pick up on, and it's a good book with which to introduce issues of historical significance and social justice. At the same time, younger readers may read it as a child's journey, not unlike those written by Noel Streatfeild. —Hilary, Netgalley, Goodreads. Rated 5 stars
Photo: Joanna Bowen.
This book should be placed in every classroom in Canada. It is informative of our cultural way of life, and respectful of all creation.
— Chief Arnold General, Hereditary Chief from the Onondaga Tribe, Beaver Clan (Six Nations Reserve)
This book is really needed in our classrooms. The children really related to Red Wolf's plight, feeling his devastating loss of family and language. The story prompted interesting discussions in which the children were very eager to give their viewpoints. This book would make a good novel study for independent work.
—Heather Cargill, Montessori school teacher
Although the target reader is middle grade to young adult, this lovely book speaks to a wider audience, and shares in both the beauty and the pain that life presents — Pat Dipede, librarian-teacher in York Region District School Board
This book could make a big impact on the way that non-aboriginals look at First Nations people. Although written to show non-aboriginal children the vast repercussions of the Indian Residential School system, I strongly believe that it has a place in healing the legacy of the residential schools among First Nations communities where lack of self-identity and self-respect still endure. —Judith Ennamorato, author of 'Sing the Brave Song, (R.I.P)
Having spent over 40 years in education, I can say that Red Wolf is a highly significant book. I can see it being used for generations, like The Diary of Anne Frank. It is historic but quite the page-turner. I couldn't put it down. The time is right for this subject to be thoroughly aired. We can't keep pushing it under the rug. The Catholic church was involved and we need to take responsibility and tell our children about the mistakes we made in the past. And hopefully we won't make so many in the future. I would love to see this book used in schools all across Canada, thus building respect and understanding for our First Nations.
— Gail Aziz, retired principal Durham Catholic School Board
Jennifer goes beyond words, placing herself in another's moccasins and sharing the deep pain of injustice suffered by both Native parents and children. Along with famous Mohawk poetess E. Pauline Johnson, Jennifer has a heart to right the wrongs. She also knows the ways of the wolf and is able to have the boy and wolf walk together in understanding and compassion. If you listen, you can hear all of their hearts howling, 'Fix it! Fix it!'
— Dianne Robertson, Mohawk elder and retired school teacher
Jennifer Dance is to be congratulated on this courageous, radical novel. 4 out of 4 stars. Highly recommended. — Canadian Materials Magazine
Jennifer Dance's Paint is a North American Black Beauty . . .the story of a mustang . . . revealing the genocide and environmental destruction that occurred on the North American Great Plains in the late 19th century. With a B.Sc. in Agriculture and Animal Science, a knowledge of horses, and family connections to First Nations people, Dance has unique qualifications for writing Paint. 3.5 out of 4 stars Highly recommended. — Canadian Materials Magazine
While the topic is a difficult one, Red Wolf covers the realities faced by First Nations in the late 1800s in a realistic and broad-minded manner. — Anishnabek News
Hawk is a novel brimming with levels of political and social complexity for the historical past, the physical present and the impact - social and emotional, physical and economic) for the future . . . A powerful presentation of what can happen to a people, a land, its natural inhabitants, and to individuals as a result of the upheaval of the natural balance of the area . . . Offers hope for restoration through education . . . The rich visual imagery that Dance has created - the fight of the natural world for rejuvenation and the world of the youth in a hospital ward fighting for life, is breath-taking . . . This is a novel that needs to be on school curriculum - used across the curriculum as a teaching tool to invite awareness, to promote thought, discussion and action of our youth . . . mandating awareness on environmental devastation and its effect on all creatures in the ecosystem, including mankind. Excellent for literature study groups, whole class discussions, debates and research into the issues brought forward in it. Also excellent for use in social studies classrooms, science and environmental science for environmental studies topics.
Highly recommended — Resource Links
Jennifer Dance is a skillful and intelligent writer with a heart large enough to care for all of the environment, animals and humans who are suffering as we speak. I am awed by the power of her words that make all my senses wake up and take notice of every detail she shares. Somewhere, someone is showing her the way to bring some kind of justice to this situation — Josie Norton, Teacher-Librarian, York Region District School Board
—Allister Thompson, editor, Dundun
With Hawk, Jennifer Dance makes a gratifying shift to contemporary realism, while maintaining her writing’s beautiful affinity for the wild world. Hawk offers a nuanced depiction of First Nations peoples navigating the combination of modern life and traditional values, and the complications of the oil sands industry.
— Faith Roebuck Shergold, Young Adult Services, Whitchurch-Stouffville Public Library
With its soaring writing and readable plot, Jennifer Dance’s Hawk breathes new life into an important subject for middle grade readers. Hawk simultaneously dazzles and educates. Topical and hard to put down, this is a great choice for young Canadian readers. — Melissa Bell, Librarian, Richmond Hill Library
While Hawk is a work of fiction, it is a true portrayal of real-life issues for too many Aboriginal communities in Canada. It is also, importantly, an indictment of our country.
Fort Chipewyan and the Alberta Tar Sands form the setting. I am very familiar with this region, living and practicing family medicine here since 1993. Hawk paints a picture of the harsh realities of life suffered by Aboriginal residents who call this area home. The conflicts and struggles created and perpetuated by the oil-sands industry are laid bare very accurately. The stark daily decision of having to choose between preserving life and way-of-life (home and culture) versus accepting Big Oil, with its impact on health and environment, is our reality and our nightmare.
The tapestry Jennifer has woven is a brilliant representation of the ongoing tragedy in Northern Alberta today. It’s a story that young people need to hear, and it gives me hope!
— Dr. John O’Connor, Fort McKay, Alberta