The Gathering Tree is a beautifully illustrated children's book about HIV/AIDS. Written by award-winning First Nations author Larry Loyie and co-author Constance Brissenden, it is a gentle, positive story of a First Nations family facing HIV. After eleven-year-old Tyler and his younger sister Shay-Lyn learn their favorite cousin Robert has HIV, they discover that knowledge brings understanding and self-awareness. Aspects of physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health are addressed.
Author Larry Loyie was born in Slave Lake, Alberta. He spent his early years living a traditional Cree life and treasures the lessons he learned from the elders. He went to residential school from the age of 10 to 14, then began his working life. Larry returned to school later in life to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a writer. He received the 2001 Canada Post Literacy Award for Individual Achievement (British Columbia). In 2003, Larry was the first First Nations writer to win the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction for his first children’s book As Long as the Rivers Flows.
Constance Brissenden, BA (UofGuelph), MA (UofAlberta, Theatre) has written with Cree author Larry Loyie since 1993. A non-fiction writer and editor of more than 14 books of history and travel, she was a writing instructor in Simon Fraser University's Writing & Publishing program for 18 years. Constance Brissenden met Larry Loyie in a creative writing class at the Carnegie Community Centre in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. She directed Larry Loyie's first play, Ora Pro Nobis, Pray for Us, performed in Vancouver as well as five federal prisons in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. In 1993, Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden launched Living Traditions Writers Group to encourage writing in Aboriginal and other communities. A lifelong freelancer, Constance Brissenden continues to write, edit and teach writing and theatre. Together with Larry Loyie, she gives presentations on his books and co-teaches writing workshops
Heather D. Holmlund
Illustrator Heather D. Holmlund has roots in the northern town of Fort Frances, Ontario, where she grew up. Her source of artistic vision has always been the spiritual essence of the Canadian landscape and its people. Heather attended York University in the visual arts program, before making her home in Pickering, Ontario. She is the award-winning illustrator of As Long as the Rivers Flow.
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