STUdent Shyla Augustine publishes Mi’kmaq Alphabet Book

St. Thomas School of Education student, 2021 teacher candidate, and 2020 Bachelor of Arts grad Shyla Augustine published her children’s book to inspire others to learn the Mi’kmaq language.


The Mi’kmaq Alphabet Book teaches readers the Mi’kmaq words for different animals corresponding to the English A-Z alphabet. The first print of Augustine’s book has almost sold out with copies ordered from across Canada, the United States, and the UK. The book is shortlisted as a finalist for the Alice Kitts Memorial Award for Excellence in Children's Writing through New Brunswick Book Awards


“My dream—my goal—is to work at schools within my community to help bring language and cultural-based lessons back into our education.”


Augustine earned her Bachelor of Arts at STU as a mature student. She completed an internship at the children’s centre where her son attended and saw the curiosity the children had in her culture.


“I needed to learn more, my kids needed to learn more, and there are other kids wanting to learn—so why not make that happen?”




“All the inspiration that I have—all the hard work and dedication—is just me thinking about my kids,” she said. "Then going from thinking about them to thinking about all the other kids and even people my age. They can use the book to start learning if they want to.”


Augustine created the book out of her own learning. She transformed her home into a classroom by drawing on her research and conversations with elders. With a chalkboard, she learned with her children as they discussed the weather, numbers, and animals.


“If I can’t teach them fully, at least I can teach them what I’m learning. We’ll learn together.”


“If you take advantage of all the resources around you, you will succeed.”


Augustine said she built connections with her professors, the Wabanaki Student Centre, the Writing Centre, and the Office of Experience and Community-Based Learning, that put her on this path.


“Coming in as a single parent, my profs were so understanding and knew that I really wanted to learn. I became a stronger student, a stronger mother. I don’t know what I would have done without STU because it really changed my life in more ways than one.”


Returning to STU for her Bachelor of Education, she realized the impact she could have on future generations of learners.


“Teachers learn every day, too. I’m willing to learn. I’m willing to teach and pass down that knowledge.”


Mi’kmaq Alphabet Book

Augustine was able to see this book to fruition thanks to a FutureWabanaki Grant through STU’s Office of Experiential and Community Based Learning, and the help of Illustrator Braelynn Cyr and local publishing company Monster House Publishing.


Starting in 2021, every baby born in New Brunswick will receive a free copy of the Mi’kmaq Alphabet Book as part of NB’s Born to Read Program.


The Mi’kmaq Alphabet Book is available to purchase online through Monster House Publishing and at local bookstores across New Brunswick.