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House of Anansi & Groundwood Books Indigenous Peoples Resources

The Outside Circle
A Graphic Novel
By (author): Patti LaBoucane-Benson Illustrated by: Kelly Mellings
Patti LaBoucane-Benson ,

Illustrated by :

Kelly Mellings


House of Anansi Press - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
May 02, 2015
$21.99 CAD


10in x 6.69 x 0.39 in | 0.71 lb

Page Count:

128 pages


Full-colour throughout
House of Anansi Press Inc
House of Anansi Press
In the Margins Top Fiction Award 2016, Short-listed CODE’s 2016 Burt Award for First Nation, Inuit and Métis Literature 2016, Winner
  • Short Description
A graphic novel about two brothers surrounded by poverty and gang violence trying to overcome centuries of historic trauma.

Winner, CODE’s 2016 Burt Award for First Nation, Inuit and Métis Literature

In this important graphic novel, two brothers surrounded by poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence, try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in very different ways to bring about positive change in their lives.

Pete, a young Indigenous man wrapped up in gang violence, lives with his younger brother, Joey, and his mother who is a heroin addict. One night, Pete and his mother’s boyfriend, Dennis, get into a big fight, which sends Dennis to the morgue and Pete to jail. Initially, Pete keeps up ties to his crew, until a jail brawl forces him to realize the negative influence he has become on Joey, which encourages him to begin a process of rehabilitation that includes traditional Indigenous healing circles and ceremonies.

Powerful, courageous, and deeply moving, The Outside Circle is drawn from the author’s twenty years of work and research on healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Indigenous men.

PATTI LABOUCANE-BENSON is a Métis woman and the Director of Research, Training, and Communication at Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA). She has a Ph.D. in Human Ecology, focusing on Aboriginal Family Resilience. Her doctoral research explored how providing historic trauma healing programs for Aboriginal offenders builds resilience in Aboriginal families and communities. She has also been the recipient of the Aboriginal Role Model of Alberta Award for Education. She lives in Spruce Grove, Alberta.

KELLY MELLINGS is an award-winning art director, illustrator, and designer. His work has appeared in comic books, magazines, apps, museum exhibits, and online games, and his clients include Microsoft. He is the co-owner of the acclaimed illustration, animation, and design firm Pulp Studios. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

I’m in awe of what you are holding in your hands. This is more than a graphic novel. It’s a teaching; it’s a reminder; and it’s a textbook of hard-won wisdom. It’s also a wish. - Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed

[W]ith the Outside Circle, Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Kelly Mellings have brought Canada’s colonial history and its effects on Aboriginal people today to life in a powerful story. - David J. Fuller, Prairie Books Now

As brutal as Pete’s family’s story is, LaBoucane-Benson and Mellings’ sensitive, careful, honest presentation reveals a narrative that must be told, acknowledged, remembered, confronted, fixed. - Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centre

LaBoucane-Benson’s long career working with young people in Pete’s circumstances gives the story a strong emotional resonance and a solid historical and educational framework. - Library Journal

. . . the story becomes one of hope, not only for Pete, but for all aboriginal people healing from the intergenerational wounds of Canadian colonialism. - Publishers Weekly

A beautifully and powerfully told story. - School Library Journal

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