Book cover of Surviving the City, Vol. 1

Surviving the City: Volume 1



Publisher & Publication Year

Portage & Main Press, 2018

Publisher's Book Page


Tasha Spillett-Sumner (Cree/Trinidadian)

Author's Website 


Natasha Donovan (Métis) and Donovan Taciuk



Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape—they’re so close, they even completed their Berry Fast together. However, when Dez’s grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can’t stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can’t bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez’s community find her before it’s too late, and will Miikwan be able to cope if they don’t?

Notable Achievements

Winner, Indigenous Voices Award, 2019; Winner, Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Award; Winner, Manitoba Indigenous Writer of the Year Award; Winner, In the Margins Top Fiction Novel, 2020


Publishers Weekly: “In this haunting graphic novel, debut author Spillett and Donovan present a story of girls growing up with the historical legacy of Canada’s treatment of indigenous people, particularly women and girls.”

Kirkus Reviews: “This engrossing Indigenous tale remains a tribute to the missing and murdered and a clarion call to everyone else.”

School Library Journal: “An important title with first-rate storytelling and beautiful use of color and design.”

Educator Guide

This guide includes lessons and activities designed to explore the graphic novel’s themes and support teachers in introducing sensitive topics in the classroom.

Link to Guide

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