Quill & Quire Review – Convictions

Quill & Quire Review – Convictions


Reviewed by: Jennifer Foden

Set in the mid-1800s, the latest novel from veteran Saskatchewan author Judith Silverthorne follows 14-year-old Jennie – found guilty of stealing food from a garbage can – on her voyage aboard one of the few female-only convict ships headed from the U.K. to Australia. The conditions aboard the ship are horrifying: the sleeping berths – meant for one person but used for three – are akin to “shared coffins”; many women are seasick or otherwise ill; there is a lack of decent food and water; bed bugs and rats are rampant; and sexual assault and beatings from the guards are common occurrences. Fearing for their survival, the women (and girls) join forces to not only take care of each other, but also to battle the ship, staff, and sea.

Silverthorne’s engaging writing brings a real, mostly unknown part of history to life. Despite a large cast of characters, the author paints dynamic portraits of many personalities. It is also encouraging to see such a strong piece of historical fiction told from the point of view of women and girls.

Although the depictions of racism, prostitution, and religion are accurate to the book’s setting, parents and teachers should be aware that the language reflects these subjects, and references to God are especially frequent. Given the story’s strong example of female empowerment, it is disappointing that Silverthorne undermines her characters’ independence by including scenes when the women rely on the male guards unnecessarily, and even develop love interests. Readers will hopefully be able to see past these conventional crutches and learn from the more empowering themes of resilience and strength.

This article originally appeared in the Quill & Quire.

Hommage Au Bison Launched June 9

Hommage Au Bison, the French translation of Honouring the Buffalo was launched by les Editions de la nouvelle plume on June 9 at Elsie Mironuck School in Regina.

Photos by Martine Noël-Maw and les Editions:


Full house!


Slides of illustrations for all to see



Taking turns reading in English and French






Coverage of the crowd


Setting up

Leader-Post  coverage is appreciated immensely!


Please note: The book was originally written in English, and then translated into Cree and into French. I also did not sit with Ray Lavallee for three weeks while he recounted the ancient legend, but it did take me three weeks to write and three years to get it published.

Leader-Post photo: Martine Noël-Maw (translator), Judith Silverthorne, Frédéric Dupré (president of les Editions de la nouvelle plume)


Fabulous ICI Radio Canada Interviews! (en francais)

Radio:   http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/pour_faire_un_monde/2015-2016/archives.asp?date=2016-06-09

TV news clip, starting at 22 min. 45 sec.: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/widgets/mediaconsole/medianet/7547893

Order from Amazon:

Launch of Hommage Au Bison

Hommage Au Bison, the French and Cree version of Honouring the Buffalo is being launched on June 9 at a Regina French Immersion school thanks to les Éditions de la nouvelle plume.

HAB Full Cover No sticker-326kb

When: June 9, 2016

Where: École Elsie Mironuck Community School

Who: Judith Silverthorne and Martine Noel-Maw will launch the book in dual languages with readings and a PowerPoint accompaniment.

Originally published in English and Cree by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, this ancient legend tells how the buffalo became a sacred animal for the Cree. “I will give them myself,” said Buffalo. “I will let them use every part of my body, as all are equal. They will have shelter, food, clothing and many other things to aid in their survival.”

This bilingual Plains Cree legend is told by storyteller Ray Lavallee, written by Judith Silverthorne and fully illustrated by Indigenous illustrator, Mike Keepness. The “Y” Cree translations are by Randy Morin, Arok Wolvengrey and Jean Okimāsis. And now, thanks to the translating skills of Martine Noel-Maw, and the publisher les Éditions de la nouvelle plume, Hommage au Bison: Une légende des Cris des Plaines is available in French and Cree. There are also teacher study guides available in both languages.

Honouring the Buffalo: A Plains Cree Legend has won two international awards: the Moonbeam and Next Generation Indie Book Award and been nominated for two High Plains Book Awards and three Saskatchewan Book Awards. This picture book has also received numerous national accolades and recommendations, including being featured in Best Books for Kids & Teens through the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC), Canadian aboriginal Books for Schools and Canadian History Books for Schools.

HOMMAGE Au BISON: Une legedende des Cris des Plaines

HAB Full Cover No sticker

Hommage Au Bison: Une legedende des Cris des Plaines

ISBN: 978-2-924237-14-4

Price: $18.95

Available for purchase June 1, 2016: here.

Published by Les Editions de nouveau plume

This is a French/Cree translation of the original English/Cree book.

Les Éditions de la nouvelle plume inaugurent l’année 2016 avec la publication d’une légende bilingue, en français et en cri, intitulée Hommage au Bison. Publiée d’abord en anglais et en cri sous le titre Honouring the Buffalo (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing), cet album, abondamment illustré par l’artiste autochtone Mike Keepness, s’est mérité un Moonbeam Award, un Next Generation Indie

Book Award et trois nominations aux Saskatchewan Book Awards.

Cette légende ancestrale relate la façon dont le bison est devenu un animal sacré pour les Cris.

« Je vais m’offrir à eux, dit le Bison. Je vais leur permettre d’utiliser toutes les parties de mon corps, car elles se valent toutes. »

À travers le Créateur, le bison s’est offert en cadeau au peuple cri des Plaines pour lui procurer protection, nourriture, guérison et bien d’autres choses utiles à sa survie.