George Street Middle School (GSMS) participates in an entrepreneurship program every year with an organization called The Learning Partnership. And every year George Street Middle School students create small businesses through this program. This year a group of talented and resourceful First Nation students in grade 7 and 8 at GSMS decided to write, illustrate, and sell a Maliseet children’s book.
Amber Solomon, Brooke Sacobie, and Baillie Sacobie graciously spoke to us on behalf of their peers and project group.
When asked why they decided to create a children’s book, they said it seemed like a fun idea and that they hadn’t seen or heard of a Maliseet book before. In fact, they thought that a children’s book was a good opportunity to spread the Maliseet language and culture throughout New Brunswick.
The book was inspired by Maliseet culture and language that they have learned in school from their Aboriginal teacher, Walter Paul. Walter is also the main translator for the book, taking what the children had written in English and then translating it into Maliseet. The translation was not an easy process, as sometimes there was no direct translation and Walter needed to consult with some of the community elders before he got the wording just right.
The book is titled “Weyossisok”- which means animals in the Woolastooqiyik language. It is an early childhood picture book that will be written in both Maliseet and English. The book will focus on a few different animals that are important to the Maliseet culture.
The writing for the book is well underway and the students plan to work on the project for 3 years in total. Next year, they will create more pages for the book. They have also begun thinking about the business side of the project and how they want to market their product.
The children hope to sell the books in class sets to schools all over New Brunswick at a retail price of $14. All proceeds from the sale of their product will go to the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax.
Overall, it was an educational experience for all students involved. They learned the values of teamwork, communication, and entrepreneurship. The students mentioned that the most challenging parts of the project involved deciding who should perform certain tasks and how to keep people working effectively. On the other hand, they also stated that getting to know other group members and drawing were a lot of fun too.
JEDI can’t wait to see the finished product and will keep up to date with this bright group of students and their entrepreneurial efforts!