The Song That Called Them Home (Hardcover)

The Song That Called Them Home By David A. Robertson, Maya McKibbin (Illustrator) Cover Image

The Song That Called Them Home (Hardcover)


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From the award-winning author of On the Trapline comes a cinematic fantasy-adventure story inspired by Indigenous legends.

One summer day, Lauren and her little brother, James, go on a trip to the land with their Moshom (grandfather). After they've arrived, the children decide to fish for dinner while Moshom naps. They are in their canoe in the middle of the lake when the water around them begins to swirl and crash. They are thrown overboard and when Lauren surfaces she sees her brother being pulled away by the Memekwesewak — creatures who live in and around water and like to interfere with humans. Lauren must follow the Memekwesewak through a portal and along a watery path to find and bring back James. But when she finally comes upon her brother, she too feels the lure of the Memekwesewak’s song. Something even stronger must pull them back home.  
DAVID A. ROBERTSON is the author of numerous books for young readers including the two Governor General Literary Award—winning picture books On the Trapline and When We Were Alone, both illustrated by Julie Flett. The first two books in David's bestselling middle grade fantasy series, The Misewa Saga, have received great acclaim and award attention. A sought-after speaker and educator, David is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. For more information, visit his website,, and follow him on Twitter @DaveAlexRoberts.

MAYA McKIBBIN is a Two-Spirited Ojibwe, Yoeme and Irish filmmaker, illustrator and storyteller. Using their education in computer graphics and interactive media, Maya's work is rooted in the natural world and our relations to it. Maya's previous picture book, Swift Fox All Along written by Rebecca Thomas, was nominated for numerous awards including a Governor General's Literary Award. 
Product Details ISBN: 9780735266704
ISBN-10: 0735266700
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
Pages: 52
Language: English
One of Evanston Public Library's 101 Great Books for Kids for 2023
One of the Chicago Public Library's Best Fiction for Young Readers for 2023
One of CBC's Best Canadian Books for Kids and Teen for 2023

PRAISE FOR The Song That Called Them Home:

"A gorgeous story inspired by Indigenous legends that will lead intrepid readers on a watery adventure." —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

"This gorgeous story, beautifully told, captures the magic of legend and family while introducing readers to a piece of folklore they may not have been exposed to previously." —CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Tinged with mystery and peril, Robertson’s adventure underlines a family bond and anchoring traditions, while digitally crafted, kinetic art from McKibbon . . . visualizes the memekwesewak as ghostly underwater creatures surrounded by saturated natural landscapes." —Publishers Weekly

"[A] satisfying story about the strength of family bonds, persistence, and determination." —The Horn Book Magazine

"The text cogently conveys the Memekwesewak's initial threat without necessarily villainizing them, and there's a familiar comfort in the story's trajectory as two lost kids are called home by family love and tradition. The straightforward prose is unadorned, leaving the digital art to flesh out the otherworldly realm of the little people, and it does so with great success." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Dazzling. . . . [A] compelling and dynamic adventure featuring young humans and the mischievous Memekwesewak. . . . The potent partnership of author and artist skillfully honors and celebrates both family and folklore." —Shelf Awareness

"This book is a wonderful introduction to Indigenous storytelling, and I imagine kids will want to learn more after reading this story." —Young Adulting

"Every element in the book is quiet but resonant. There are no direct references to the power of family, but there is a reassuring tone. Even when the children are under threat, the beating drum of their grandfather’s song leads them to safety." —Imaginary Elevators

"Robertson’s text and McKibbin’s illustrations are in perfect harmony here. . . . The Song That Called Them Home brings Indigenous mythology into the contemporary world and speaks to the importance and power of family. The exciting story and the beautiful visuals will make this a wonderful addition to anyone’s collection." —CM: Canadian Review of Materials