Adapting existing stories, especially those stories that are part of a larger cultural context can be a tricky business. When Scholastic came to Chris to ask him to adapt First Nation folklore into graphic novels they trusted him to find the right balance between respecting traditions while creating books that would be compelling to a young audience.
Chris decided the best way to proceed was to work with respected Elders from a variety of First Nation communities. Altogether nine Elders worked with Chris to make sure the stories remained true to their larger cultural heritage while maximizing elements that would engage and entertain young readers. This included not only looking at the narrative, but making sure artistic elements were accurate as well. Chris served as writer, liaison, designer and editor on the books.
The result was sixty graphic novels exploring all of the Tricksters of the First Nations from the West and East Coast of Canada to the central Prairies and the Far North.
The completed series of graphic readers has already won the Gold Moonbeam Children's Book award for excellence in writing and design. In addition, the First Nations Education Steering Committee has adopted the series as a central element to their own program for schools across Canada.