Book cover of Weird Rules to Follow

Weird Rules to Follow



Publisher & Publication Year

Orca Books, 2022

Publisher's Book Page


Kim Spencer (Ts’msyen Nation)

Author's Website 




In the 1980s, the coastal fishing town of Prince Rupert is booming: there is plenty of sockeye salmon in the nearby ocean, which means the fishermen are happy and there is lots of work at the cannery. Eleven-year-old Mia and her best friend, Lara, have known each other since kindergarten, and like most tweens, they like to hang out and compare notes on their crushes and dream about their futures. But even though they both live in the same cul-de-sac, Mia’s life is very different from her non-Indigenous, middle-class neighbor. Lara lives with her mom, her dad and her little brother in a big house, with two cars in the drive and a view of the ocean. Mia lives in a shabby wartime house that is full of relatives—her churchgoing grandmother, binge-drinking mother and a rotating number of aunts, uncles and cousins. Even though their differences never seemed to matter to the two friends, Mia begins to notice how adults treat her differently, just because she is Indigenous. Teachers, shopkeepers, even Lara’s parents—they all seem to have decided who Mia is without getting to know her first.

Notable Achievements

Commended, USBBY Outstanding International Books List, 2023; Short-listed, BC & Yukon Book Prize (Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize), 2023; Winner, IODE Violet Downey Book Award, 2023; Commended Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year, 2023; Short-listed, Indigenous Voices Award, 2023; Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award, 2024; Nominated, Red Cedar Book Award, 2024; Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2023; Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Awards, 2023; Nominated, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Jean Little First-Novel Award, 2023; Nominated, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, 2023; Nominated, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, 2023


Kirkus Reviews: "Readers will be left with a rich image of Mia’s world and the family and people that surround her as well as a strong sense of how culture and class impact people’s experiences. A touching exploration of identity and culture."

Educator Guide

Link to Guide

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