Blue Camas, Blue Camas

By (author): Danielle S. Marcotte
ISBN 9781772034653
Hardcover | Publication Date: November 7, 2023
Book Dimensions: 9 in. x 9 in.
48 Pages

About the Book

The captivating story of how the Blue Camas, a flower that has been cultivated on Canada’s west coast since time immemorial, came to symbolize the meeting of two contrasting ways of life and the perseverance of traditional knowledge against all odds.

Blue Camas, Blue Camas tells the story of a flower that is native to the Northwest Coast of North America. For thousands of years, it has been considered a sacred and valuable plant by the Indigenous Peoples of this region, who harvested and traded Blue Camas bulbs all along the west coast. At the height of this period, meadows would come alive with the bright wildflowers, which would attract dozens of species of butterflies and birds, and entire villages would work together to harvest the plant and ensure its continued growth.

When Europeans arrived and began to colonize the land, they did not see the value of the Blue Camas plant, and in fact saw the meadows where the plant had been harvested as ideal terrain to grow their own crops. The story takes place at the point of contact between a Lkwungen community and a group of Irish settlers, who see the land in very different ways.

This beautifully illustrated picture book is an ode to a way of life that was threatened and nearly destroyed through miscommunication and colonization. It also raises awareness for food rights, biodiversity, and the preservation of ecosystems, offering children and teachers the opportunity to discuss these important themes in an open and constructive way.

About the Author(s)

Alyssa Koski is an illustrator and member of the Kainai Nation. She holds a BA in Visual Communications from the Alberta College of Art and Design. Koski is the recipient of the Janet Mitchell Award and the Harley Brown Artistic Endowment and the winner of the 2017 Applied Arts Magazine design award.

Danielle S. Marcotte is a bilingual children’s book author and retired journalist. For more than thirty years, she was CBC radio host and producer, interviewing countless artists, political figures, and citizens from all walks of life. Since 2009, she has published ten children’s books, as well as articles for French and English magazines and newspapers. She is a member of La Société Historique Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique. An avid traveller, she often visits her native Quebec, as well as Atlantic Canada, the Yukon, and Japan.


"Blue Camas, Blue Camas tackles a difficult subject but provides multiple opportunities to develop empathy and to understand that there is more than one way to view the world and interact with the land. . . author Danielle S. Marcotte approaches the subject with sensitivity and finesse."
Hakai Magazine
"Marcotte ties history to contemporary issues including awareness for food rights, biodiversity and the preservation of ecosystems."
The Globe & Mail
"Blue Camas, Blue Camas is a captivating story revealing the overlooked history of colonial contact and its impact on Indigenous communities. Through vivid storytelling and diverse voices, it emphasizes land stewardship, cultural heritage, and fostering empathy, making it a valuable resource for children.”
—Samantha Beynon, author of Oolichan Moon
“A beautiful story and an important narrative about the timeline of colonial contact . . . I am happy to share this book with my children.”
—Sen’ákw, Senaqwila Wyss, Squamish Nation ethnobotanist
“Danielle S. Marcotte offers a rich, historical perspective of the amazing Blue Camas plant through the eyes of a First Nations family and a settler family.”
—Teoni Spathelfer, Heiltsuk author of the Little Wolf Series
“This beautiful story weaves together a rich and important narrative. Family, nature, and the village are all intertwined, with the camas at the centre of it all. So simple and yet so poignant and true!”
—Robert "Lucky" Budd, co-author (with Roy Henry Vickers) of the Northwest Coast Legends Series and A Is for Anemone: A First West Coast Alphabet
"A wonderful job of sharing the truth behind colonialism while sharing the cultural traditions of Indigenous People and their sacred connection and respect of the land."
CM: Canadian Review of Materials