Excerpt

“Okay, my girl. First rules of boxing. Respect the ring, the rules, the officials. And most of all, respect your trainers and opponents,” Mushom instructs me while he examines my hands. “Respect your body. Know your body. If it hurts, that’s your body speaking to you. … You will need to listen to your body. It will tell you when to go on, when to push through and when to stop.”

He grabs a handful of my crazy hair and tries to tie it back the best he can, struggling to gather all of it with an elastic band. 

I’m so excited my hands are sweating. I still can’t believe this is happening. 

“That was your mom’s problem. She could never listen.” He laughs. “If you want to box, you need to know how to listen and follow directions.” He lifts my chin and looks into my eyes. “Understood?” 

I nod. 

He smiles at me and places an old wooden-handled mop and a rusty metal pail sloshing with water in my hands. It smells like a swimming pool. 

“Good. Now mop and dry the ring.” Then he walks away.

Description

Maggie Lou’s grandpa doesn’t call her Firefox for nothing. She’s always finding ways to make life more interesting — even if this means getting into big trouble. 

When her grandfather Moshôm finally agrees to teach her how to box, she decides that the rank odors, endless drills and teasing won’t stop her from wearing a tutu to the gym. Joining her father’s construction crew uncovers a surprising talent — besides learning how to use a broom — and a great source of scrap wood to build a canine hotel for her dogs. And when she turns thirteen, she figures out an ingenious way to make some smokin’ good camouflage to wear on her first deer hunt, where she joins a long family tradition. 

Through it all she is surrounded by her big extended gumbo soup of a family, pestered by annoying younger siblings, and gently guided by her strong female relatives – her mother, her kohkom and her ultra-cool cousin Jayda. “Keep taking up space,” Maggie’s mother says. “You’re only making room for the girls behind you.” 

A heroine for today, Maggie Lou discovers that with hard work and perseverance she can gain valuable new skills, without losing one iota of her irrepressible spirit.

 

Key Text Features

author’s note

biographical note

chapters

dialogue

epigraph

illustrations

Awards

  • Commended, NPR Books We Love 2023
  • Commended, Kirkus Best Middle Grade Books of the Year 2023

Reviews

An amusing story showcasing Métis humor at its finest. STARRED REVEIW

- Kirkus

Maggie is irrepressible, brimming with ideas, energy and ambition … Many young readers will chuckle with her exploits and see Maggie as a role model.

- Winnipeg Free Press

Maggie Lou is ... absolutely unstoppable.

- Globe and Mail

A funny, lovingly crafted book, with a rich cast of characters that is enhanced by artist Karlene Harvey’s comic-like illustrations … The humour in Maggie Lou, Firefox will pull young readers in, and the warm heart of the stories will keep them reading. STARRED REVIEW

- Quill & Quire

Maggie Lou's connection to her immediate and extended family, her awareness of her Native roots and the Northern Michif language … and her interests, which are not constrained by gender norms, give these tales a distinctive and refreshing flavor.

- Horn Book

Funny, upbeat … Maggie Lou approaches life with a can-do attitude, confidence, and a helping of sass.

- Shelf Awareness

What a gem of a book! What I love most is the way Indigenous life is portrayed as just a normal way of being. Nothing tragic or stoic, it is just a large family with lots of love and mayhem.

- Canadian Children's Book News