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Arctic Stories
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Inuit;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3; 4; 10; 11;

Acclaimed Inuit storyteller Michael Kusugak weaves a tapestry of tales about ten-year-old Agatha and her accidental heroism in the high Arctic of 1958. The first of Agatha''s stories is based on one of Kusugak''s real life experiences, when an eerie, black airship flew over Chesterfield Inlet in 1958. A sleepy Agatha "saves" the community from the monstrous flying object.

In the second story, Agatha notices the playful antics of the winter ravens and takes an interest in the many migrating birds. As the seasons change, she begins to favor more beautiful and peaceful birds of spring, until the ravens return.

The third of Agatha''s stories takes place in the fall when Agatha is sent to school in Chesterfield Inlet, an English-speaking community south of her home. During an afternoon of skating, Agatha rescues a show-off priest, who has inadvertently demonstrated the danger of thin ice.

The three Agatha stories resonate with the nostalgia and affection of Kusugak''s childhood memories.

Reviews
"This collection of three tales, set in Repulse Bay, features an endearing 10-year-old heroine, named Agatha, through whose eyes the reader experiences life in the high Arctic.... The author weaves a tapestry of simply told stories, each of which, by skilful use of detail, manages to bring to life the experience of growing up in a small Inuit community.... Vladyana Krykorka's paintings give the reader a beautifully detailed rendition of the Arctic landscape in every season. Her depictions of Kusugak's human and animal characters are wonderfully satisfying, full of life and humour.... [They] complement the text brilliantly.... The beauty of Kusugak's work lies in his ability to evoke for his southern readers a vivid picture of a way of life that is fast disappearing. Arctic Tales will be a welcome addition to the resources that teachers and librarians look for as they plan their units on the Arctic and the Inuit. The book's Grade-three reading level should guarantee its popularity among young students doing projects on Inuit life. Recommended."— Valerie Nielsen, Canadian Materials, October 1999

 
"Vivid and engaging... This collection of stories captures a feeling for a transitional time in the Inuit culture and history and resonates with the storyteller's art" — Canadian Teacher, June 2013
 
Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 5-9.
 
This illustrated children's story is a grades 10/11 English First Peoples Resource for the unit First Steps - Exploring Residential Schools and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.
 
Additional Information
40 pages | 8.25" x 10.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$7.95

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Gaawin Gindaaswin Ndaawsii / I Am Not A Number
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

Dual language edition of powerful children's book about residential school experience reflects Indigenous language revitalization.

The dual language edition, in Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe) Nbisiing dialect and English, of the award-winning I Am Not a Number. When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law? Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, I Am Not a Number is a hugely necessary book that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.

Reviews
"Residential and boarding school stories are hard to read, but they're vitally important... books like I Am Not a Number should be taught in schools in Canada, and the U.S., too."— Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"It’s important to teach children about true Canadian history, but it’s not easy to talk about it in a way that children will understand. I Am Not a Number is perfect to get the conversation about residential schools started with your children. It opens the door for them to ask questions about the subject and the story is relatable in a way they can follow."— Residential School Magazine

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 7-11
Guided Reading: V

Dual-language: Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe) Nbisiing dialect and English.

Subjects: Character Education (Empathy, Prejudice & Tolerance); History & Social Studies (Canadian History, First Nations & Indigenous Peoples); Government & Citizenship; Reflecting Diversity

Additional Information
44 pages | 8.50" x 11.00" | Translated by Muriel Sawyer and Geraldine McLeod with contributions by Tory Fisher

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$14.95

Coming Soon
I Am Not a Number
Artists:
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her. When she goes home for summer holidays, Irene's parents decide never to send her and her brothers away again. But where will they hide? And what will happen when her parents disobey the law? Based on the life of co-author Jenny Kay Dupuis’ grandmother, I Am Not a Number is a hugely necessary book that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.

Awards

  • 2018 Red Cedar Award for Information Book Winner
  • 2018 Hackmatack Award Winner

Reviews
"Residential and boarding school stories are hard to read, but they're vitally important... books like I Am Not a Number should be taught in schools in Canada, and the U.S., too."— Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"It’s important to teach children about true Canadian history, but it’s not easy to talk about it in a way that children will understand. I Am Not a Number is perfect to get the conversation about residential schools started with your children. It opens the door for them to ask questions about the subject and the story is relatable in a way they can follow."— Residential School Magazine

"[A] powerful teaching tool that brings a terrible part of Canada’s history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to. It is written in simple language and told in a way that will stimulate conversations about residential schools and the traumatic effects they have had on generations of First Nation families and communities. ... beautifully illustrated by Gillian Newland. She captures the somber mood of the school, the anguish of the children, the severity of the nuns and the desperation of the family. Students can easily empathize with Irene and her brothers as well as their parents as they try to imagine how they would feel or act in a similar situation." — Alberta Native News, December 2016

"Endless cross-curricular connections can be made using this story. But the most powerful aspect of this book is that it will open a dialogue, one that Justice Murray Sinclair spoke of as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a dialogue that needs to take place for reconciliation to happen." — ETFO Voice

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 7-11
Guided Reading: V

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.50" x 11.00"

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

Quantity:
kimotinâniwiw itwêwina / Stolen Words
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 1; 2; 3; 4;

The dual-language edition, in Plains Cree and English, of Stolen Words, the award-winning story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in Cree, he tells her that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again.

This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.

Educator Information
This dual-language edition is in Plains Cree and English. The translation was carried out by two Plains Cree language speakers, Dolores Sand from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Gayle Weenie from Sweetgrass First Nation. Language consultation and assistance was provided by the Cree Literacy Network.

Recommended for ages 6-9; Grades 1-3.

Guided Reading: Q
Lexile: 530L

Subjects: Character Education (Empathy, Family & Friendship); History & Social Studies (Canadian History, First Nations & Indigenous Peoples); Reflecting Diversity.

Additional Information
28 pages | 8.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$14.95

Coming Soon
Phyllis's Orange Shirt
Artists:
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: Preschool; Kindergarten; 1;

When Phyllis was a little girl she was excited to go to residential school for the first time. Her Granny bought her a bright orange shirt that she loved and she wore it to school for her first day. When she arrived at school her bright orange shirt was taken away. This is both Phyllis Webstad's true story and the story behind Orange Shirt Day which is a day for us all to reflect upon the treatment of First Nations people and the message that 'Every Child Matters'.

Educator Information
Phyllis's Orange Shirt is an adaptation of The Orange Shirt Story which was the best selling children's book in Canada for several weeks in September 2018. This true story also inspired the movement of Orange Shirt Day which could become a federal statutory holiday.  A page of information about this day is included at the end of the book.

Adapted for ages 4-6.

Additional Information
30 pages | 9.00" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$11.95

Coming Soon
Shi-shi-etko
Artists:
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10;

In just four days young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave her family and all that she knows to attend residential school.

She spends her last days at home treasuring the beauty of her world -- the dancing sunlight, the tall grass, each shiny rock, the tadpoles in the creek, her grandfather's paddle song. Her mother, father and grandmother, each in turn, share valuable teachings that they want her to remember. And so Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers her memories for safekeeping.

Richly hued illustrations complement this gently moving and poetic account of a child who finds solace all around her, even though she is on the verge of great loss -- a loss that native people have endured for generations because of the residential schools system.

This gentle story of a child on the verge of great loss was selected as the Aboriginal Children’s Book of the Year.

Awards

  • Winner of the Anskohk Aboriginal Children's Book of the Year Award. 

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 2-10.

Curriculum Connections: Indigenous Studies, Visual Arts, Science, Health.

Recommended Authentic First Peoples resource K-9.

This illustrated children's story is recommended for English First Peoples Grades 10 for units pertaining to childhood through Indigenous writers' eyes and the exploration of residential schools and reconciliation through children's literature.

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.50" x 8.13" 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

Quantity:
Shin-chi's Canoe
Artists:
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10;

This moving sequel to the award-winning Shi-shi-etko tells the story of two children's experience at residential school. Shi-shi-etko is about to return for her second year, but this time her six-year-old brother, Shin-chi, is going, too. As they begin their journey in the back of a cattle truck, Shi-shi-etko takes it upon herself to tell her little brother all the things he must remember: the trees, the mountains, the rivers and the tug of the salmon when he and his dad pull in the fishing nets. Shin-chi knows he won't see his family again until the sockeye salmon return in the summertime.

When they arrive at school, Shi-shi-etko gives him a tiny cedar canoe, a gift from their father. The children's time is filled with going to mass, school for half the day, and work the other half. The girls cook, clean and sew, while the boys work in the fields, in the woodshop and at the forge. Shin-chi is forever hungry and lonely, but, finally, the salmon swim up the river and the children return home for a joyful family reunion.

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 2-10.

Recommended Authentic First Peoples K-9 resource.

This illustrated children's story is recommended for English First Peoples Grades 10 for units pertaining to childhood through Indigenous writers' eyes and the exploration of residential schools and reconciliation through children's literature.

Additional Information
40 pages | 8.50" x 8.13"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$18.95

Quantity:
Spirit Bear: Fishing for Knowledge, Catching Dreams: Based on a True Story
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

Spirit Bear is off on another adventure! Follow him as he learns about traditional knowledge and Residential Schools from his Uncle Huckleberry and his friend, Lak'insxw, before heading to Algonquin territory, where children teach him about Shannen's Dream.

Spirit Bear and his new friends won't stop until Shannen's Dream of "safe and comfy schools" comes true for every First Nations student.

Dear Uncle Huckleberry,

Look up at the stars tonight. If you look closely, you'll see Shannen Koostachin lighting the way.

Shannen knew that school should be a time for dreams and that every child deserves to have a safe and comfy school, a proper education, and to feel proud of who they are. Every child is sacred.

Did you know that many First Nations schools get less money from the government than other schools? Shannen knew this was wrong. And so do I.

And like my mom, Mary the Bear, always says, when we see something wrong, we need to help make things right!

Did you know that Lak'insxw means "grizzly bear" in Gitxsan language?

Additional Information
52 pages | 216 x 216 mm

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$15.00

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When I Was Eight
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 10; 11;

Nothing will stop a strong-minded young Inuit girl from learning how to read.

Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. She must travel to the outsiders' school to learn, ignoring her father's warning of what will happen there.

The nuns at the school take her Inuit name and call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do chores. She has only one thing left -- a book about a girl named Alice, who falls down a rabbit hole.

Margaret's tenacious character draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But she is more determined than ever to read.

By the end, Margaret knows that, like Alice, she has traveled to a faraway land and stood against a tyrant, proving herself to be brave and clever.

Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by stunning illustrations, When I Was Eight makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to young children. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.

Reviews
"A searing account of assimilation policies and a celebration of the human spirit In this picture-book memoir, an Inuit recollects how she begged her father to attend the church-run Indian residential school so she could fulfill her cherished dream to learn to read... What she discovers is the school is draconian... Olemaun describes how a nun cuts her braid, changes her name, and assigns an endless list of chores... Even as she labors, Olemaun finds strength in memories of her father's love and uses every opportunity to study the alphabet and sound out words. Effective shadow-ridden illustrations capture the pervasive atmosphere of abuse, but the final picture speaks volumes about Olemaun's determination and triumph: her face appears as large and shining as the sun emerging from darkness, because she has taught herself to read... A searing account of assimilation policies and a celebration of the human spirit." — Jeanne McDermott, Booklist, April 2013

"Pokiak-Fenton's true story of her experiences at residential school, was originally told in Fatty Legs.... When I Was Eight is an even more powerful read due to its emphasis on concise, affective text coupled with Gabrielle Grimard's quietly unpretentious artwork." — Canlit for Little Canadians

"When I Was Eight is a powerful story based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton... It is a story of a young Inuit girl who goes to a residential school and suffers terrible abuse from the nuns at the school... Through all these trials, she perseveres in trying to learn to read. One day in class she is finally able to stand up to the teacher and show her own strength by reading aloud. It is a moment of victory! Although this story may be intended for younger students who are studying the Inuit, it could also be used in upper grades when discussing social justice issues. The story ties in with anti-bullying themes as well... Highly recommended." — Lori Austin, Resource Links, Vol. 18, No. 5, May 2013

"This excellent picture book, written as a companion to the longer version of it called Fatty Legs, is a powerful way to introduce the residential school experience to younger readers." — Sally Bender, Sal's Fiction Addiction, February 2014

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 6-9.

Authentic First Peoples Resource K-9.

Grades 10-11 English First Peoples resource for the unit First Steps - Exploring Residential School and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.

Additional Information
32 pages | 9.00" x 9.00" | Colour illustrations throughout.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$9.95

Quantity:
When We Were Alone
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3; 10; 11;

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.

Reviews
"When We Were Alone is rare. It is exquisite and stunning, for the power conveyed by the words Robertson wrote, and for the illustrations that Flett created. I highly recommend it." — Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature.

"…Robertson handles a delicate task here admirably well: explaining residential schools, that shameful legacy, and making them understandable to small children. It’s a dark history, and the author doesn’t disguise that, but he wisely focuses the grandmother’s tale on how, season by season, the students use creativity, imagination, and patience to retain their sense of identity. A beautifully quiet, bold strength arises from the continued refrain “When we were alone” and in how the children insisted on being themselves. Flett’s gorgeous, skillful illustrations have a flattened, faux naïve feel to them, like construction paper collage, a style that works perfectly with the story. She nicely contrasts the school’s dull browns and grays with the riotous colors surrounding Nókom and gets much expression from her simple silhouettes. Spare, poetic, and moving, this Cree heritage story makes a powerful impression." — Kirkus Reviews

"When We Were Alone addresses the topic of residential schools and, just as importantly, aspects of Cree culture and language. There is such gentleness about When We Were Alone that makes it an appropriate book for the even youngest of readers. Simply put, this is a much-needed book. Highly Recommended." — Dr. Kristen Ferguson, CM Magazine

"Robertson's text moves between the present and the past, the girl's questions and Nókom's memories, which deepen and intensify the quiet, powerful way she lives out her own culture, day by day, in the present. A beautifully rendered story of resisitance and love, this is made all the more luminous by Flett's art - not just by flashes of fuschsia or scarlet among ochre grasses, but by her precisely observed images of the compact bodies of the uniformed children, bowed beneath the weight of the scissors, or lovingly tending each other's hair. Highly recommended." — Deirdre Baker, Toronto Star

Educator Information
Recommended Grades: 3 and under.

Grades 10-11 BC English First Peoples resource for the unit First Steps - Exploring Residential School and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.

Additional Information
24 pages | 8.50" x 7.50" | colour illustrations 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$19.95

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