ABC's of Our Spiritual Connection


60 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919441-44-0
DDC j299'.72





Illustrations by Kim Soo Goodtrack
Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is the co-editor of the Children’s Literature edition
of the Canadian Book Review Annual.


Alphabet books are popular with adults and some children’s writers and
illustrators, but by the age of 5 most children have moved on to other
genres. For this reason, animals and objects are big in successful ABC
books, and religious and spiritual themes are not. Kim Soo Goodtrack’s
well-intentioned and nicely illustrated ABC’s of Our Spiritual
Connection simply won’t connect with children at the
alphabet-book-enjoying age.

Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a spiritual object (like a
medicine wheel) or a “connection” (like love or nature). These
objects and concepts are defined and illustrated according to their
spiritual significance for First Nations people. Unfortunately, some of
the letters did not have an obvious “spiritual connection,” so we
must make do with Kayak for K and Ogopogo for O. At the bottom of each
page, Goodtrack throws in a number of words that both begin with the
focused-on letter and have some cultural significance for First Nations
people, but does not necessarily make any attempt to draw these words
into the book’s theme. Hence under G, which stands for Great Spirit,
we also find games, grease bowl, guitarist, and grass dancer. These
objects and people are also thrown willy-nilly as illustrations onto the
opposite page.

The book is plagued with abrupt changes of focus, grammatical errors,
and poor diction. With more editorial care and a modified approach
(perhaps it could have been a First Nations Spiritual Connection
Dictionary, defining more of those tossed-in words and aimed at older
children), this book might have worked. As it is, this is just a failed
concept book, regardless of how lofty the concept. Not a first-choice


Goodtrack, Kim Soo., “ABC's of Our Spiritual Connection,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,