Northern Manitoba nurse Natashia Moodie has recently published a children’s book called Wapusk The Polar Bear with Eaglespeaker Publishing. It’s the second book, illustrated by Kiya Spence, for the Cree mother of three, recording artist and award-winning human rights activist, who said she was inspired to write while taking the ferry from York Landing to Split Lake.
“The ferry ride is an hour-and-a-half long,” she said. “I was just sitting in my vehicle, and the ferry is very slow, so I was looking at the trees. So I just started writing for an hour-and-a-half straight. It came naturally and flowed very well. Then I put it away for a bit then read it again. I ended up showing the work to some family members, and they were like, ‘Wow, this is actually really good.’”
Moodie’s first book Little Tree, available on Amazon, is about “a young curious spruce tree from the boreal forest of Northern Manitoba, [who] longs to experience the world outside of his own. Through the help of a young First Nations warrior named Strong Eagle Man, Little Tree learns the affects of climate change. Now, he is on a mission with Strong Eagle Man to encourage immediate action to save the planet - before it’s too late.”
Wapusk The Polar Bear continues Moodie’s theme of climate change activism, environmentalism and justice.
“I started thinking about the polar bears one day and the sea ice and how it’s shrinking every year,” explained Moodie, a singer who has performed O Canada in Cree for the Toronto Blue Jays, and performed alongside Buffy Sainte Marie, Tom Jackson and Susan Aglukark. “They are losing their natural habitat with all the climate change and global warming, so I wanted to write a story about that as well … something kid-friendly.”
In the book, Wapusk is on a quest to find sea ice and food when he stumbles across a seal that becomes his unlikely friend.
“I wanted to emphasize the importance of helping each other to save each other,” said Moodie. “And you look at the Australian wildfires, there was a video of a fox feeding baby koalas. Having seen that, I thought I’d write a book about a seal guiding a polar bear. The seal is actually giving Wapusk insight into what’s happening in our world with global warming and climate change, giving advice about how humankind needs to take these steps to help with this crisis.”
Moodie explained that she is proud of the book for it’s educational value.
“It’s another tool for our children to take in and absorb,” she said. “I think it’s important for children to learn things early and start taking action at an early age … motivating their parents and reminding them about conserving and the environment.”
In addition to this book, Moodie has just released a song on YouTube called Mother Earth with her sister under the band name Moody x 2. They have recorded six albums together.
Wapusk The Polar Bear is available on Amazon Canada.