Writing is nothing new to author and Tribal member Kaitlin Curtice, but in October, she expects to release her first children’s book.
Winter’s Gifts, available starting Oct. 31, tells the story of a Potawatomi girl named Dani (dah-nee) and the way she and her family celebrate the Winter Solstice.
“Like many of our ancestors before us, Dani wants to experience the gifts of winter and honor her relationship with Segmekwe, Mother Earth,” Curtice said. “This book is about that celebration of winter.”
The book, with illustrations by Gloria Félix, includes some Potawatomi words as well.
“I hope that kids of many cultures and beliefs find joy and curiosity while reading this book, and I hope that for Indigenous kids, they feel seen and celebrated for who they are. I hope it brings adults and kids alike into a better relationship with Mother Earth and Creator,” she said.
Curtice has wanted to write a children’s book for a few years and said she was very excited to explore her “childlikeness and curiosity” through the writing process.
“Writing a children’s book lets you engage with your child self, which can be really emotional and very rewarding,” she said. “I have two children, so it was also a way to live through them and remember the things they’ve been through, as well as healing this relationship to my child self through the words and images.”
Before Winter’s Gifts, Curtice published three other books: Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places in 2017, Native: Identity Belonging and Rediscovering God in 2020 and Living Resistance: An Indigenous Vision for Seeking Wholeness Every Day earlier this year.
“My second book is about my journey as a young Potawatomi woman, my experiences growing up Southern Baptist, and what I’ve learned about faith, God and identity along the way,” she said. “My newest book, Living Resistance, is a book on learning how to care about ourselves, one another and Mother Earth through practicing resistance, kinship and solidarity.”
Curtice, a descendent of the Ogee and Weld families, was born in Ada, Oklahoma, and now lives with her family near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
She said much of her work and writing is connected to her Potawatomi heritage.
“I’m so grateful for the stories our ancestors told and left for us, and the stories our elders continue to tell today. Learning to heal from colonization and celebrating who I am as an Anishinaabekwé is going to be a huge part of my life always, and because I love words and stories, it will always find its way into my writing,” she said. “I’m so grateful for that and I hope it inspires other Potawatomi people and Indigenous people around the globe to tell their stories.”