The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-BensonThe Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-Benson

The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel

byPatti Laboucane-BensonIllustratorKelly Mellings

Paperback | May 2, 2015

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Winner, CODE's 2016 Burt Award for First Nation, Inuit and Métis Literature

In this important graphic novel, two Aboriginal brothers surrounded by poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence, try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in very different ways to bring about positive change in their lives.

Pete, a young Aboriginal man wrapped up in gang violence, lives with his younger brother, Joey, and his mother who is a heroin addict. One night, Pete and his mother's boyfriend, Dennis, get into a big fight, which sends Dennis to the morgue and Pete to jail. Initially, Pete keeps up ties to his crew, until a jail brawl forces him to realize the negative influence he has become on Joey, which encourages him to begin a process of rehabilitation that includes traditional Aboriginal healing circles and ceremonies.

Powerful, courageous, and deeply moving, The Outside Circle is drawn from the author's twenty years of work and research on healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Aboriginal men.

Patti Laboucane-Benson is a Métis woman and the Director of Research, Training, and Communication at Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA). She has a Ph.D. in Human Ecology, focusing on Aboriginal Family Resilience. Her doctoral research explored how providing historic trauma healing programs for Aboriginal offenders builds res...
Title:The Outside Circle: A Graphic NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 10 × 6.69 × 0.68 inPublished:May 2, 2015Publisher:House Of Anansi Press IncLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1770899375

ISBN - 13:9781770899377

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this! I bought this a month ago, and I'm so glad I did!
Date published: 2018-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read A must read for all Canadians. It's emotional and a real eye opener.
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreakingly real, a must-read for all Canadians I wish I could give this graphic novel more than 5 stars, it was as emotional as it was educational. My sister bought it for me for my birthday because I had taken a course in university about Aboriginal people and the law. It basically reaffirmed everything I had learned. It does an amazing job of teaching the reader about the history and intergenerational effects of colonialism, residential schools, and the Sixties’ Scoop on the marginalization of Aboriginal people in Canada today. This is something that every Canadian should read and know about, and I think it would be a great way to introduce high school students to this important subject.
Date published: 2017-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SO Different!! LOVE IT This is so different from anything I've ever read. LOVED THIS SO MUCH
Date published: 2017-09-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Devastating and powerful. One of the best explanations I've seen of how trauma can be passed through generations and affect your life.
Date published: 2017-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read for all Canadians !! This was a book that was set for my university, indigenous writing class. Has a very a strong message about the historical trauma that the Indigenous People of Canada suffered in the hands of the European leadership. Expertly written and illustrated.
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read for all Canadians This was a book that was set for my university, indigenous writing class. Has a very a strong message about the historical trauma that the Indigenous People of Canada suffered in the hands of the European leadership. Expertly written and illustrated.
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Breaking the cycle Such a powerful story! The heredity of shame, guilt and powerlessness is so acutely shown in this story, through words and graphics. This story shows the importance of breaking the cycle and finding a way to healing. Truly a beautiful story.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book for all Canadians I am writing this review with my awesome English class from the University of New Brunswick's Bridging Year Program. We have just read The Outside Circle and have decided to review this novel online to encourage other students across Canada to read this book. Here is the rundown on what we all think: (1) Nicole thinks it is a strong story - it's colourful - it would be appealing to a wide audience and not just a native audience. This is such an informative story. It is visually 'pretty'. Its visuals connect the reader at so many different levels to a powerful and emotional story that so many First Nations peoples can relate to. (2) Kobe says the message that the story sends is more powerful than you first think. No matter who you are, no matter if you're native or not, it gives you insight on what most aboriginal people have to deal with. (3) Alicia really liked it. It actually taught her so many things about what it means to be a First Nations individual in Canada. She would recommend this book be a part of school and classroom libraries. Yes, it is graphic, but it is extremely accurate! (4) Todd read the book in a single weekend and it kept him interested and engaged. It's been a couple of years since he read an entire book in a single reading. He read this text in 40 minutes. It was 'good'. (5) Tiffany said it was a very emotional reading experience. She found that the reader could relate to it in so many ways, especially how aboriginal people are treated and how our systems fail them so much. The reality of how government, and especially the judicial system, failed these people only underscores the importance of First Nations people learning about and embracing their distinct cultures. It shows how aboriginal people are lost because they don't know who they are. (6) River thought the text was really good. She read it in a single setting. It made her feel so emotional. What the central character went through was what my own brother went through. It brought back a lot of feelings that she had experienced before. (7) Isiah read the novel and felt that one of the best features of this book is that it 'felt real'. The fact that this graphic novel is based on stuff that actually happened, and sadly continues to happen, in our nation makes this book a 'must read' for not only First Nations students but also all Canadians. (8) Corey liked it a lot. In fact, at the beginning of our class, when I asked for some immediate feedback on the novel Corey called it a 'damn good book'. (9) Jessie, our intern, found the book very emotional. the book actually inspired her to explore her own ancestors and family. This was based upon the Family Tree graphic in the text. (10) Mr. Sexsmith - found out about this novel because of his former student teacher Carol who told him about it last summer. I'm so glad that she did. This was one of the best graphic novels I have read in a long time. The students I currently have in my classroom are some of the finest, most dedicated, and hardworking students I have had in a long time. They read this novel over this past weekend, and now, we are going to begin talking about the themes and issues that arise from its characters and storyline.
Date published: 2016-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Breaking the vicious cycle Many of the graphic novels I've read have turned out to be fun, light reads that have transported me to a different world and time. Sure, they may include some hard-hitting social issues and personal struggles beneath the narrative layers and illustrated frames, but never have they made me as uncomfortable in the reading process as "The Outside Circle" had. And when I say uncomfortable, I say it in the most respectful way. This graphic novel brings us, as Canadians, face front with something very important but usually ignored in Canadian society: the rights of the First Nations, the well-being and social position of the Aboriginal people, and the reconciliation of them with their heritage. Patti LaBoucane-Benson doesn't shy away from the issues; they are in your face and clearly called out – racism, poverty, sexual and domestic abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, gang violence. Also, her many years research and being involved with the In Search of Your Warrior program, of which I've never heard of but am now in appreciation that it exists with well intentions and outcomes, gives her a clear voice as to what she wants to achieve with this story. It's a challenge to not ignore that discomfort while coming in contact with these matters ailing the First Nations community and our Canadian society, but to come from a place of open understanding, freely discuss and tackle these problems, and ultimately go beyond the invisible lines to lend a hand in finding a healing balance for the First Nations. I've learnt a lot from "The Outside Circle", from the intergenerational pain of the Aboriginal people arising from a history of discrimination, to the physical and spiritual healing process through the In Search of Your Warrior program, sweat lodges and smudging. Going along with the theme of Canada Reads 2015, it being a graphic novel doesn't diminish any significance it has in breaking boundaries; it comes full circle on its own merits with the graphic presentation and what it has to say.
Date published: 2015-04-06

Editorial Reviews

"I'm in awe of what you are holding in your hands. This is more than a graphic novel. It's a teaching; it's a reminder; and it's a textbook of hard-won wisdom. It's also a wish." - Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed"[W]ith the Outside Circle, Patti LaBoucane-Benson and Kelly Mellings have brought Canada's colonial history and its effects on Aboriginal people today to life in a powerful story." - David J. Fuller, Prairie Books Now"As brutal as Pete's family's story is, LaBoucane-Benson and Mellings' sensitive, careful, honest presentation reveals a narrative that must be told, acknowledged, remembered, confronted, fixed." - Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centre"LaBoucane-Benson's long career working with young people in Pete's circumstances gives the story a strong emotional resonance and a solid historical and educational framework." - Library Journal". . . the story becomes one of hope, not only for Pete, but for all aboriginal people healing from the intergenerational wounds of Canadian colonialism." - Publishers Weekly"A beautifully and powerfully told story." - School Library Journal