Winner of the 2019–20 First Nation Communities READ Indigenous Literature Award
An unexpected journey can be powerful medicine.
When Tilly receives an invitation to help drive eight elders on their ultimate bucket list road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, she impulsively says yes. Before she knows it, Tilly has said goodbye to her family and is behind the wheel—ready to embark on an adventure that will transform her in ways she could not predict, just as it will for each and every one of the seniors on the trip, who soon dub themselves “the Crazy Eights.”
Tilly and the Crazy Eights each choose a stop to make along the way—somewhere they’ve always wanted to go or something they’ve wanted to experience. This takes them on a route to Las Vegas and Sedona, with a final goal of reaching the Redwood Forest. Each stop becomes the inspiration for secrets and stories to be revealed. The trip proves to be powerful medicine as they laugh, heal, argue, and reveal hopes and dreams along the way. With friendships forged, love found, hearts broken and mended, Tilly and the Crazy Eights feel ready for anything by the time their bus rolls to a stop in New Mexico. But are they?
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Monique Gray Smith is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish, and a proud mom of teenage twins. She is an accomplished international speaker and the owner of an Indigenous consulting firm, Little Drum Consulting. Her life's work is to raise awareness of the resilience of Indigenous peoples. An award-winning writer for children and adults, her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Her books for children include You Hold Me Up, My Heart Fills With Happiness, and Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation>. Monique and her family are blessed to live on the traditional territory of the WSÁNEĆ people near Victoria, British Columbia.
Published: March 2020
Originally published by: Second Story Press
“Though this book, like most of Smith’s work, celebrates Indigenous lives and resilience, non-Indigenous folks will learn from the sharing of these stories. I am grateful for the rollicking journey and encourage everyone to board this bus.” – Herizons Magazine
“Most powerfully, Smith infuses her novel with joy, love, and laughter and suggests that these could be what determine the future after all.” – Quill & Quire
“Go on a road trip of a lifetime with Monique Gray Smith’s new novel Tilly and the Crazy Eights … Road trips, by design, tend to ratchet up all sorts of feelings. The charming characters in Tilly and the Crazy Eights squabble and make up, they laugh and forgive.… But the book also carries an undercurrent of pain and loss, in particular, the story of Sarah and her sister, Annie, both of whom still hold secrets from their time at residential school.” – The Toronto Star
“Cree actress Michelle Thrush's warm cadence puts listeners at ease . . . Bringing an evocative authenticity to her reading of the book's Cree phrases, she also gamely modulates her voice for a variety of character accents . . . Listeners eager for Indigenous perspectives will want to check out this emotionally affecting pairing of prose and narrator.” – Booklist