Visions of the Crow

Highwater Pr. (Dreams: Bk. 1). Apr. 2023. 80p. pap. $21.95. ISBN 9781774920459.
Gr 7 Up–Damon Quinn may seem like a hard protagonist to like at the beginning of this story. Readers will wonder why he seems so defensive and rough around the edges. But as it’s revealed that Damon is dealing with racist bullying at school, tension at home with his mother, and financial insecurity, readers will understand that he has an uphill battle ahead of him. The good news is that he does have some allies, but the problem is that he keeps pushing them away. There’s a new girl at school named Journey who keeps stepping in even though he doesn’t want her to, and a mysterious crow has started following Damon around as well. As the story progresses, Damon starts to learn more about his identity. He learns that his mother is Cree, with family in Alberta, and his father, with whom Damon doesn’t have a relationship, is Métis. At the same time, Damon begins to have sleeping and waking dreams in which he visits his ancestors and learns even more about his Indigenous heritage. Through these visions, Damon gains a deeper understanding of how history shapes his life today, with an emphasis on tough topics like alcoholism, residential schools, and generational trauma, creating a path toward healing for Damon and his mother. The artwork features lots of earth tones, and the palette shifts as Damon moves back and forth between his dreams and the waking world.
VERDICT A graphic novel recommended for teens interested in stories about social justice and the importance of family roots.

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