Ages 9 - 12

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A Stranger at Home: A True Story
Editors:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit; Inuvialuit;

The powerful memoir of an Inuvialuit girl searching for her true self when she returns from residential school. 

Traveling to be reunited with her family in the Arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It's been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers. 

Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, "Not my girl." Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider. 

And Margaret is an outsider: she has forgotten the language and stories of her people, and she can't even stomach the food her mother prepares. 

However, Margaret gradually relearns her language and her family's way of living. Along the way, she discovers how important it is to remain true to the ways of her people -- and to herself. 

Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl's struggle to find her place will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.

Sequel to Fatty Legs.

Reviews
"This memoir, detailing a woeful piece of Canadian history and demonstrating Margaret's strength of character, compassion, courage and her willingness to sacrifice herself for her family's sake, gives the reader a lot to ponder. Highly recommended." — Shelbey Krahn, Canadian Materials, February 2012

"A Stranger at Home will speak to anyone who has experienced displacement or assimilation into a new culture. This fabulous story enhances the Grades 6 to 8 social studies curriculum." — Professionally Speaking (Ontario College of Teache, April 2012

"While it may not have the same drama and tension of the first memoir, this tale provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world." — Jody Kopple, School Library Journal, December 2011

"Without being graphic or overwhelming, the Fentons recreate a tragic moment in Canadian history through the innocent reflections of a child...a must for any classroom library." — Canadian Teacher Magazine, May 2012

"This tale provides a compelling and moving story of a girl searching for the strength to find her place in the world. The writing is unpretentious and accessible and readers who enjoyed the first book will find this an interesting follow-up. Vivid paintings are a beautiful accompaniment to the storytelling. Photographs from Pokiak Fenton's own collection add important points of reference for readers looking to visualize the characters and the unique setting of the Arctic Circle. A welcome addition to biography collections." — Jody Kopple, School Library Journal, December 2011

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 9-13.

Guided Reading Level: Fountas and Pinnell U

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; arctic; residential schools; identity; community; Canadian content; family; society; history; memoir.

Additional Information
128 pages | 6.25" x 9.00"

 

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$12.95

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As Long As the Rivers Flow (PB)
Artists:
Heather D. Holmlund
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

In the 1800s, the education of First Nations children was taken on by various churches, in government-sponsored residential schools. Children were forcibly taken from their families in order to erase their traditional languages and cultures. 

As Long as the Rivers Flow is the story of Larry Loyie's last summer before entering residential school. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl and watches his grandmother make winter moccasins. He helps the family prepare for a hunting and gathering trip.

Awards

  • In 2006, As Long As the Rivers Flow was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.
  • Winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction 

Additional Information
48 pages | 7.25" x 10.25"

 

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$12.95

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Dear Canada: These Are My Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;

Acclaimed author Ruby Slipperjack delivers a haunting novel about a 12-year-old girl's experience at a residential school in 1966.

Violet Pesheens is struggling to adjust to her new life at residential school. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her "white" school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been taken from her, including her name-she is now just a number. But worst of all, she has a fear. A fear of forgetting the things she treasures most: her Anishnabe language; the names of those she knew before; and her traditional customs. A fear of forgetting who she was.

Her notebook is the one place she can record all of her worries, and heartbreaks, and memories. And maybe, just maybe there will be hope at the end of the tunnel.

Drawing from her own experiences at residential school, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violet, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation's history.

Additional Information
192 pages | 5.54" x 7.66"

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$16.99

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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit; Inuvialuit;

The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact. 

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools. 

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls -- all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school. 

In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity. 

Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artwork from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Awards

  • First Nation Communities Read recipient, 2011-2012

Reviews
"I highly recommend this book for the discussion it would stir with students...Makes the harrowing residential school stories accessible to youth." — Resource Links, December 2010

"Presents a unique and enlightening glimpse into the residential school experience and, most importantly, one little girl's triumph over her oppressors." — Quill & Quire, November 2010

Educator Information
Fountas and Pinnell T

Themes: biography; Inuit; Indigenous peoples; Indigenous; arctic; school; self-esteem; abuse; community; prejudice; Canadian content; courage/bravery; right vs. wrong; role reversal; secrets; society; history; bullying; memoir; character education.

Additional Information
112 pages | 6.25" x 9.00" | full-color illustrations, archival photographs, map

Authenticity Note
This illustrator of this book is not Indigenous; therefore, her artwork is not considered to be Authentic Indigenous Artwork according to Strong Nations Authenticity Guidelines. The archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's personal collection, however, are considered to be authentic, which is why the book is labelled as containing Authentic Indigenous Artwork. It is up to readers to determine whether or not the images in this work are authentic for their purposes.

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$12.95

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Good For Nothing
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;

The year is 1959, and fifteen-year-old Nipishish returns to his Metis reserve in northern Quebec after being kicked out of residential school, where the principal tells him he's a good-for-nothing who, like all Indians, can look forward to a life of drunkenness, prison and despair. 

The reserve, however, offers nothing to Nipishish. He feels even more isolated here. He remembers little of his late mother and father. In fact, he seems to know less about himself than the people at the band office. He must try to rediscover the old ways, face the officials who find him a threat, and learn the truth about his father's death.

Adolescents will find inspiration in his courage to reclaim his identity and claim his rightful place on the reserve. The book also provides great insight into the roots of many ongoing Indigenous issues.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 12-15.

Additional Information
256 pages | 4.25" x 7.00" | Written by Michel Noel. Translated by Shelley Tanaka.

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$14.95

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Goodbye Buffalo Bay
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);

Drama and humour combine in Goodbye Buffalo Bay by award-winning Cree author Larry Loyie. The sequel to the award-winning book As Long as the Rivers Flow. Goodbye Buffalo Bay is set during the author's teenaged years. In his last year in residential school, Lawrence learns the power of friendship and finds the courage to stand up for his beliefs. He returns home to find the traditional First Nations life he loved is over. He feels like a stranger to his family until his grandfather's gentle guidance helps him find his way. New adventures arise; Lawrence fights a terrifying forest fire, makes his first non-Native friends, stands up for himself in the harsh conditions of a sawmill, meets his first sweetheart and fulfills his dream of living in the mountains. Wearing new ice skates bought with his hard-won wages, Lawrence discovers a sense of freedom and self-esteem. Goodbye Buffalo Bay explores the themes of self-discovery, the importance of friendship, the difference between anger and assertiveness and the realization of youthful dreams.

Additional Information
160 pages | 4.90" x 7.36"

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$16.95

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Home to Medicine Mountain
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Hamawi; Maidu; Native American;

Two young brothers are separated from their family and sent to live in a government-run Indian residential school in the 1930s—an experience shared by generations of Native American children throughout North America. At these schools, children were forbidden to speak their Indian languages and made to unlearn their Indian ways. Sadly, they were often not able to go home to their families for summer vacation.

Native American artist Judith Lowry based this story on the experiences of her father and her Uncle Stanley. Judith and author Chiori Santiago tenderly relate how Stanley and Benny Len found their way home by train one summer. Inspired by their dreams of home and the memories of their grandmother's stories, the boys embark on an adventurous journey from the harsh residential school to their triumphant welcome home at Susanville, California, in the shadow of Yo-Tim Yamne (Medicine Mountain).

Awards

  • American Book Award - Before Columbus Foundation
  • Skipping Stones Honor Award - Skipping Stones Magazine

Reviews
"The real-life experiences of Lowry's father and uncle fuel this account of two Native American brothers in California, sent to a government-run boarding school in the 1930s to unlearn their traditional ways. While the book discloses a sad chapter in the long history of the disenfranchisement of Native Americans, it will also resonate with any kid who has been homesick." - Publisher's Weekly

Educator Information
Guided Reading: N
Lexile: 520L
Interest Level: Grades 3 - 5
Reading Level: Grades 3 - 4

Additional Information
32 pages | 10.00" x 8.50"

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$19.95

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I Am Not a Number
Artists:
Gillian Newland
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg;

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

"[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"

 

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$18.95

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Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Inuit; Métis;

Indigenous perspectives much older than the nation itself shared through maps, artwork, history and culture.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, in partnership with Canada's national Indigenous organizations, has created a groundbreaking four-volume atlas that shares the experiences, perspectives, and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It's an ambitious and unprecedented project inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. Exploring themes of language, demographics, economy, environment and culture, with in-depth coverage of treaties and residential schools, these are stories of Canada's Indigenous Peoples, told in detailed maps and rich narratives.

This extraordinary project offers Canada a step on the path toward understanding.

The volumes contain more than 48 pages of reference maps, content from more than 50 Indigenous writers; hundreds of historical and contemporary photographs and a glossary of Indigenous terms, timelines, map of Indigenous languages, and frequently asked questions. All packaged together in a beautifully designed protective slipcase.

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 13+.

The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four volume print atlas, an online atlas, an app, and more!

Additional Information
322 pages | 10.50" x 12.87"

Authentic Canadian Content
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$83.00

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Island Kids
Authors:
Tara Saracuse
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;

This is a history of British Columbia's island children, told in their voices, from their perspectives. Composed of twenty-two stories, Island Kids is a snapshot of a period and place in time. The topics range from quintessentially coastal experiences, like a day at the beach, to stories that deal with serious issues, such as BC's history of residential schools, but they all remain true to the experience of the children telling the story. At the end of each chapter is a section called "What do we know for sure?" that gives the reader greater depth and context. The stories are written in a dynamic and authentic voice and are aimed at readers aged eight to twelve.

Unlike history that has either been fictionalized or told from an adult's perspective, the Courageous Kids series brings history to kids in their own words. Truly original, Kidmonton, Rocky Mountain Kids, and Island Kids strive to communicate the events and emotions of kids.

Reviews
"Saracuse’s 22 stories, all based (to some degree) on factual accounts, give a sweeping, historical look at young people’s experiences on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands – from First Nations life in pre-contact days to the adventures of contemporary children circumnavigating the island in tall ship. Saracuse is careful to represent diversity: the “courageous kids” include an early black settler on Saltspring Island, a Japanese girl whose family is forciby evicted from their farm during the Second World War, and some contemporary Filipino immigrant boys experiencing their first snow. The subjects of the stories also vary, from risky adventures – like a three-day journey in small canoes across the Georgia Strait in 1858, or young Joe Garner being chased by a cougar – to less dramatic modern-day memories of summer childhood pleasures at the beach in Parksville." - Quill & Quire 

Additional Information
240 pages | 5.50" x 7.50"

Please Note: This book is listed as containing Indigenous content; however, not all the stories in this work are Indigenous.

Authentic Canadian Content
$12.95

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My Name is Seepeetza
Authors:
Shirley Sterling
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Interior Salish;
Told in diary form, this autobiographical novel about a sixth-grade Native girl tells of her heartbreak at the terrible conditions at her school where she is persecuted because of her race.
$10.95

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No Time to Say Goodbye
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Tsartlip;
Children’s Stories of Kuper Island Residential School
with Rita Morris and Ann Sam

No Time to Say Goodbye is a fictional account of five children sent to aboriginal boarding school, based on the recollections of a number of Tsartlip First Nations people. These unforgettable children are taken by government agents from Tsartlip Day School to live at Kuper Island Residential School. The five are isolated on the small island and life becomes regimented by the strict school routine. They experience the pain of homesickness and confusion while trying to adjust to a world completely different from their own. Their lives are no longer organized by fishing, hunting and family, but by bells, line-ups and chores. In spite of the harsh realities of the residential school, the children find adventure in escape, challenge in competition, and camaraderie with their fellow students.
$9.95

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Secret Path
Authors:
Jeff Lemire
Gord Downie
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Secret Path is a ten song album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids—more than anyone will be able to imagine—he tried.

Chanie’s story is Canada’s story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable. Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.

The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him—as we find out about ourselves, about all of us—but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, “Canada.”

Proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba.

Educator Information
Recommended resource for English First Peoples grades 10-11 for units on Childhood through the Eyes of Indigenous Writers and First Steps - Exploring Residential School and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.

Note: This resource is not considered an authentic First Peoples resource.

Additional Information
96 pages | 12.00" x 12.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$26.99

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Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Canada's relationship with its Indigenous people has suffered as a result of both the residential school system and the lack of understanding of the historical and current impact of those schools. Healing and repairing that relationship requires education, awareness and increased understanding of the legacy and the impacts still being felt by Survivors and their families. Guided by acclaimed Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith, readers will learn about the lives of Survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.

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$29.95

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The Journey Forward, A Novella On Reconciliation
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

Two award-winning voices.
Two stories on Reconciliation.
Two amazing covers.
One unforgettable book.

The Journey Forward, A Novella On Reconciliation:

When We Play Our Drums, They Sing!

by Richard Van Camp

This the story of 12-year-old Dene Cho, who is angry that his people are losing their language, traditions, and ways of being. Elder Snowbird is there to answer some of Dene Cho’s questions, and to share their history including the impact Residential schools continue to have on their people. It is through this conversation with Snowbird that Dene Cho begins to find himself, and begins to realize that understanding the past can ultimately change the future.

Tessa Macintosh’s wonderful photographs are featured on the cover and interior of this memorable story.



The Journey Forward, A Novella On Reconciliation:

Lucy & Lola

by Monique Gray Smith

Lucy and Lola are 11-year-old twins who are heading to Gabriola Island, BC, to spend the summer with their Kookum (grandmother) while their mother studies for the bar exam. During their time with Kookum, the girls begin to learn about her experiences in being sent — and having to send their mother — to Residential school. Ultimately, they discover what it means to be inter-generational survivors.

Award-winning illustrator Julie Flett created the amazing cover illustration and interior spot art that perfectly suit this engaging novella.

Educator Information
Recommended for Grades 5-8 for the following subject areas: English Language Arts, Social Studies.

Authentic Canadian Content
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Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$13.99

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