Paul W. Kaeser student wins children’s storybook contest

What Would You Do With A Buffalo In Your Garden? will be translated to several Indigenous languages.

Canan Olvera, 13, a student at Paul W. Kaeser won a children's storybook contest. (Photo courtesy of Sheryl Olvera)

What would you do with a buffalo in your garden? Well, 13-year-old Canan Olvera of Fort Smith might have the answer.

Olvera, a student at Paul W. Kaeser, is the winner of the South Slave Divisional Education Council’s 4th Annual Children’s Storybook Contest.

Olvera won with his story What Would You Do With A Buffalo In Your Garden?

“I was very happy and excited that it was going to be published,” Olvera says of his reaction to finding out he won.

Olvera says his favourite part of writing is being able to use his imagination, but adds the book was inspired by a true story.

“A lady who lived in Fort Smith actually had a buffalo in her garden,” he explains.

The story is about a character named Kokum Nan who considers several methods to remove a buffalo from her garden before it ruins her herbs and vegetables.

The story is humorous, just like Olvera.

“I like to make people laugh, and have a good laugh,” he says.

The book received high praise from Olvera’s friends, family and school peers alike.

“This humorous take on a uniquely Northern predicament makes for fun reading that our younger students will enjoy for years to come,” says Dorie Hanson, division principal of the South Slave Divisional Education Council, in a press release.

The book will also serve as a language resource, as it will be translated to Dënesųłı̨né (Chipewyan), Dene Yatıé (South Slavey), and Nēhiyawēwin (Cree).

“What Would You Do With A Buffalo In Your Garden? will make an excellent addition to our growing collection of self-published Indigenous language books,” Dorie says.

So what would you do if you found a buffalo in your garden? If your Olvera, you write about it.

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at