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Trickster Raven makes a feast and friends in debut book by Haida Gwaii storyteller

Kung Jaadee's debut children's book tells the tale of lonely Raven and the feast he invited the whole world to join him at in Haida Gwaii.

'We are all human beings and we are meant to live together,' says author Kung Jaadee

Trickster Raven is the title character in Haida Gwaii author Kung Jaadee's debut children's book, Raven's Feast. (CBC)

Raven may be a trickster, but loneliness is no joke.

Raven's Feast is the first children's book from traditional Haida storyteller Kung Jaadee. The tale has a message about the power of love — a message, according to Kung Jaadee, that our world needs right now.

The aptly-named book follows the happenings of lonely Raven and the feast he threw to surround himself with friends.

"[Raven] was living in Haida Gwaii village alone and built a bunch of houses and didn't know why. He realized he was lonely, so he had a feast and invited the whole world to it," Kung Jaadee told Daybreak North host Robert Doane.

In the story, Raven indiscriminately invites guests from all four corners of the globe.

"What I am trying to communicate is that we are all human beings and we are meant to live together," explained Kung Jaadee.

Art imitates life

Art could be imitating life for the author, who belongs to one of the Haida Raven clans. She has also been told she is "kind of a cheeky person" just like her protagonist.

Jaadee also likes to invite people to feast with her — even at her book launch.

Traditional Haida storyteller Kung Jaadee, also known as Roberta Kennedy, is the author of a new children's book titled Raven's Feast. (K.C. Adams)

"I baked a whole lot of food — enough for a couple of armies.... Maybe there is a little bit of me in [the book] then!"

Kung Jaadee — whose full Haida name means Moon Woman — is also known as Roberta Kennedy, and is a traditional singer, drummer, and storyteller. She teaches Haida culture and storytelling in Old Massett.

Her publishing debut means the message of Raven's Feast could go out to all four directions of the globe, much like Raven's dinner invite.

"Love is the most powerful force in our universe," she said. "And that's what our world needs."

With files from Daybreak North.


For the complete interview with Kung Jaadee, click on the audio labelled, Haida Gwaii storyteller publishes first children's book.