Explore the life cycle of a grizzly bear in this engaging look at how an ecosystem’s animals, people, and seasons are intertwined.


To the Gitxsan people of northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need in order to survive on their own. The Mothers of Xsan series uses striking illustration and lyrical language to bring the poetry of the Xsan ecosystem to life.


  • Winner, Animal Behavior Society's Outstanding Children's Book Award 2020
  • Winner, Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Awards, Children's Illustration 2020
  • Short-listed, McNally Robinson Book for Young People 2020


Selected for the Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2019 reading list, Informational Books for Older Readers

- Chicago Public Library

This is a gorgeous book. Recommended.

- School Library Journal

Selected for the 2020 Outstanding International Books List

- The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY)

Teachers! Get The Grizzly Mother for your classroom--and ask your librarian to get it on the library shelves, too! I highly recommend The Sockeye Mother and The Grizzly Mother published by HighWater Press. They are pitched at children in grades 5-7 but I think they can be used with younger children. And of course, picture books should be used with people of any age. Highly recommended!

- Debbie Reese

A lyrically poetic text, it delivers a wealth of information on the lives of grizzlies and the ecosystem they are part of, making this an invaluable introduction to the way we are all connected.

- Jeffrey Canton

Selected as Middle Honor Book for the American Indian Youth Literature Award

- American Indian Library Association

? Anchored in the culture of the Gitxsan Nation, this spellbinding account of a grizzly bear’s first few years with her cubs is the second title in the Mothers of Xsan series. Saturated with ocher hues and expressively detailed with black line, Donovan’s illustrations amplify the text’s lyricism with nuanced perspectives.

- Publishers Weekly, starred review