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Circle of Life

Levelled Little Books for Grades K–6 build knowledge and understanding of Indigenous culture and traditions while developing literacy skills.


Key Features

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Engaging, Authentic Content

Authentic stories and illustrations in every book from the Indigenous Education Coalition.

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Worldviews and Principles

Stories connect thematically to teachings and principles from Indigenous Worldviews.

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Robust Teacher Support

Access professional development videos and documents for teaching support.


Circle of Life Series

The Indigenous Education Coalition (IEC) is a nonprofit education organization in Southern Ontario comprised of 12 communities that include Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Lenape Nations as well as two Friendship Centres. To share First Nations stories in classrooms across Canada, the IEC has partnered with Nelson to bring students the Circle of Life series.


What is an Indigenous Worldview?

Susie Jones, Elder from Walpole Island First Nation, speaks about the Indigenous Worldview and explains how it is reflected in theCircle of Life books. Download these helpful documents for incorporating the Indigenous Worldview into the classroom:


About the Books

Learn about Circle of Life Sets 1–3 and Sets 4–6 levelled books for guided and independent reading. This collection of narrative and nonfiction books offers unique content that engages students, and deepens appreciation and understanding of Indigenous cultures and traditions.


Download Sample

Sets 1–3: Learning from an Elder

  • Guided Reading Levels A–M
  • 33 levelled books (11 books per set)
  • Narrative titles
  • Embedded teaching notes for before, during, and after reading
  • Key features include:
    • Authentic Illustrations that support text
    • Level-specific text

Sets 4–6

  • Guided Reading levels N–W
  • 24 levelled books (8 books per set)
  • Narrative and nonfiction titles
  • Separate teacher’s Lesson Card for each book
  • Key features include:
    • Before and after student activities
    • Chapter Book format and nonfiction text features
    • Glossary with phonetic pronunciation

Teaching with Circle of Life

Robust Teacher Support

Each Circle of Life set of Little Books is supported by an Online Teaching Centre that includes:

  • Interactive eBooks with read-along text-highlighting and embedded audio
  • Illustrations Bank
  • Blackline Masters
  • Teacher’s Notes (for Sets 4–6 only)
  • Professional Development videos

In the Classroom

Circle of Life Cross-curricular Connections

  • See how these books connect with science and social studies topics

Circle of Life is now available in Anishinaabemowin!

Nelson, in partnership with the Red Rock Indian Band, is pleased to announce the translation of the Circle of Life series into the Anishinaabemowin language, available as an ebook collection.

The Circle of Life series provides stories and illustrations from Indigenous contributors that support the revitalization and teaching of the Anishinaabemowin language. The ebooks were translated by Elders Mona Cormier, the late Norma Fawcett, Gilbert Deschamps and Mary Blakely and include beautiful authentic music created by Shy-Anne Bartlett and Jordan Elcheson. Audio recordings of the translated text read by Ojibwe speakers are included on every page.

In response to the TRC’s Call to Action #10, Nelson is offering access to the translations through a School Community Access Model. This allows all members of a school community to enjoy and learn from the Circle of Life stories for one licensing fee.

Please speak to your Nelson Account Manager to order the digital translations for your school.

“Niwiindamaagoog ji-gikendamaan zaaga’idiwin, gikendaasowin gaye manaadendamowan.”

“They shared lessons of love, learning and respect.”
~ from Circle of Life : Sharing