My Heart Fills with Happiness: 550,000 Books in Plains Cree distributed across Canada

My heart fills with happiness whenever I see the artwork of Governor General’s award-winning illustrator Julie Flett. It swells just a little more to count Julie among the friends of Literacy, Cree language revitalization, and the use of consistent standard spelling (SRO) to promote them both. Julie’s artwork is showcased in this book by Monique Gray Smith which now includes translation into Plains Cree (y-dialect), written in SRO. 

This fall, over 550,000 copies of this book, commissioned by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and the TD Grade One Book Giveaway are being placed in the hands of Grade One children all across Canada. In addition to the English-and-Plains Cree, edition, a separate bilingual edition was created in French-and-Plains Cree. A third, small edition was prepared in Braille, with images described (in both English and Plains Cree) for the visually impaired. 

These 550,000 copies also make a historic first: My Heart Fills with Happiness / sâkaskinêw nitêh miywêyihtamowin ohci is the most widely printed of any Cree language book. Ever. And it’s being shared at no charge, all across Canada. 

Congratulations to each of the many hands that contributed to this beautiful final product. 

Those who are no longer in Grade One can order copies of their own through Orca Books online (or visit their local booksellers). Be prepared for your heart to fill! 

Update: 12 November 2019. Follow this link to find free downloads for parents and educators, including beautiful printable post cards and book marks!

Canadian Children’s Book Centre – English announcement image

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