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Stories of Inspiration

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A Stranger at Home: A True Story
Editors:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8;

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"

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

Quantity:
A Symphony Of Whales
Authors:
Steve Schuch
Artists:
Peter Sylvada
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Siberian;
Grade Levels: Preschool; Kindergarten; 1; 2;

Once, humans and whales made music together . . . but that was long ago. 

Glashka is the only one in her village who can hear the voice of Narna, the whale. That gift leads her to great responsibility one day, when she discovers thousands of whales trapped in an inlet. The narrow route to the sea is rapidly icing over, and every day ice covers more of the open water the whales need to breathe. There seems to be no way out. . . . This story, based on an actual event, tells of a dramatic rescue--a tale of bravery and faith and the power of music.

Reviews
"During the winter of 1984-1985, nearly 3,000 beluga whales were trapped in the Senyavina Strait of Siberia--and saved by the bravery and persistence of villagers and the crew of a passing icebreaker. Schuch, a musician, turns this episode into a picture book by casting a child as heroine. Glashka has always been able to hear music in her head, and the ""old ones"" of the village tell her she hears ""the voice of Narna, the whale. Long has she been a friend to our people."" Glashka uses this talent to find the trapped whales and then to discover the secret of saving them. The plotting and diction are a little trumped-up, but on balance the text is tender and moving, and debut illustrator Sylvada's heavy oil paintings readily transport readers to the bitter winter days of Siberia. Emphasizing the changing light and the textures of characters' clothing instead of individual expressions, the illustrations cast a mood that reinforces the sober issues of the text." - Publisher's Weekly

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 4-7.

Additional Information
32 pages | 11.00" x 8.00"

$11.99

Quantity:
Canadian Heroes
Authors:
Maxine Trottier
Artists:
Tony Meers
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7;

Read fascinating biographies of five heroic Canadians who have confronted danger or adversity in brave, resourceful and admirable ways. Included are Madeleine de Verchères, the young defender of the family fort in New France; Dr. Norman Bethune, the innovative surgeon of war-torn Spain and China; Sergeant Tommy Prince, whose daring exploits made him the most decorated Native Canadian soldier; Terry Fox and his inspirational Marathon of Hope for cancer research; and Roberta Bondar, the first female Canadian explorer of space.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 9-12.

This book is listed as containing Ojibway text content, as one of the five heroes in it is Tommy Prince, one of Canada's most decorated First Nations soldiers.

Additional Information
48 pages | 5.95" x 8.97"

Authentic Canadian Content
$5.99

Quantity:
Every Day is Malala Day
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3;

Malala Yousafzai - as of October 2014 the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize - is an inspiration. A young girl living in Pakistan, she was shot by the Taliban simply because she wanted to go to school. Since that moment, she has captured the attention of the world with her bravery, becoming a voice for the rights of girls everywhere. In the fall of 2014 she became the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

This is a letter to Malala, illustrated with beautiful photographs from Plan International. Girls from around the world express their sympathy, sisterhood, and admiration for her. Many of them know first-hand the barriers that stand in the way of girls going to school – barriers like poverty, discrimination, and violence. In Malala these girls recognize a leader, a champion, and a friend.

Reviews
"A brief but moving manifesto that will spark both sympathy and heightened awareness of an endemic global outrage."— Kirkus Reviews, January 2014

"It is a stunningly beautiful book in its captivating photographs of hopeful girls and their simple words...THIS is the story that every child, every parent, every teacher and every school administrator should be reading. And reading again." — CanLit for Little Canadians, March 2014

Additional Information
32 pages | 11.00" x 8.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
$18.95

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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
Liz Amini-Holmes
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

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.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$12.95

Quantity:
Girl of the Southern Sea
Authors:
Michelle Kadarusman
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7;

For girls all over the world, fighting for the futures they deserve...

A girl from the slums of Jakarta dreams of an education and the chance at a better life. But first she must battle the dangers of local superstition and thwart her father's plan to marry her off to an older man.

From the time she was a little girl, Nia has dreamed up adventures about the Javanese mythical princess, Dewi Kadita. Now fourteen, Nia would love nothing more than to continue her education and become a writer. But high school costs too much. Her father sells banana fritters at the train station, but too much of his earnings go toward his drinking habit. Too often Nia is left alone to take over the food cart as well as care for her brother and their home in the Jakarta slums.

But Nia is determined to find a way to earn her school fees. After she survives a minibus accident unharmed and the locals say she is blessed with 'good luck magic,' Nia exploits the notion for all its worth by charging double for her fried bananas. Selling superstitions can be dangerous, and when the tide turns it becomes clear that Nia’s future is being mapped without her consent.

If Nia is to write a new story for herself, she must overcome more obstacles than she could ever have conceived of for her mythical princess, and summon courage she isn't sure she has.

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 9-13

Includes a glossary of Indonesian terms.

An Author's Note at the end of the novel provides more context about the story in relation to the author's own life experiences, as well more information on global issues that affect girls all over the world like poverty, forced marriages, lack of education and healthcare.

Themes: Homelessness & Poverty; Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance; Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse; People & Places (Asia, Indonesia); Legends, Myths, Fables (Asian).

Additional Information
224 pages | 5.50" x 8.00" | Glossary of Indonesian Terms | Map situating Indonesia

Authentic Canadian Content
$19.95

Quantity:
Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes
Artists:
Joe Morse
Format: Hardcover
Text Content Territories: Indigenous American; Indigenous Canadian;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5;

"We are a people who matter." Inspired by President Barack Obama's Of Thee I Sing, Go Show the World is a tribute to historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes, featuring important figures such as Tecumseh, Sacagawea and former NASA astronaut John Herrington.

Celebrating the stories of Indigenous people throughout time, Wab Kinew has created a powerful rap song, the lyrics of which are the basis for the text in this beautiful picture book, illustrated by the acclaimed Joe Morse. Including figures such as Crazy Horse, Net-no-kwa, former NASA astronaut John Herrington and Canadian NHL goalie Carey Price, Go Show the World showcases a diverse group of Indigenous people in the US and Canada, both the more well known and the not-so-widely recognized. Individually, their stories, though briefly touched on, are inspiring; collectively, they empower the reader with this message: "We are people who matter, yes, it's true; now let's show the world what people who matter can do."

Reviews
“Kinew quashes stereotypes and provides readers with both historical and contemporary examples of diverse American and Canadian Indigenous leaders … Go Show the World, a powerful and uplifting book, belongs in every school library.” -- CM Magazine 

"A beautiful celebration of Indigenous excellence." -- Kirkus Reviews

“This is a forever book; one that the child can grow with from the youngest age.”-- Windspeaker

Additional Information
40 pages | 10.75" x 11.75"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$21.99

Quantity:
Little Chief and Mighty Gopher: The Pemmican Frenzy
Artists:
Ben Crane
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4;

Discover what happens when a young boy’s friendship with a gopher turns everyone’s life upside down!

Written by Indigenous author Victor Lethbridge and beautifully illustrated by Ben Crane, Little Chief and Mighty Gopher: The Pemmican Frenzy tells the story of a young boy who finds friends and acceptance in unexpected places. This is a funny, heartfelt story of hope, empowerment and determination suited to young readers, the young at heart and those who struggle with bullying and rejection.

This book has already become a Canadian bestseller and winner of numerous awards. It has become a favourite among many young readers and has garnered much attention in the literary world.

Anticipation is growing to see what adventures lie ahead for “Little Chief” and his cast of friends!

Awards

  • 2011 Alberta Book Award: Children’s and Young Adult Book of the Year
  • 2011 Nautilus Book Award Silver Medalist - Children’s Book Category
  • 2010 SIWC Griffin Award
  • 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Bronze Medalist - Best First Book

Educator Information
Included: Bonus CD with narrated story and song. Special Feature: Word translation in Sioux, Cree, and Blackfoot.

Additional Information
34 pages | 10.00" x 9.25"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$21.95

Quantity:
Spirit Bear and Children Make History: Based on a True Story
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

"Hello! My name is Sus Zul in the Carrier language. In English, people call me Spirit Bear. I am a proud member of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. I am on my way to Ottawa, Ontario, to witness a very important human rights case. Would you join me on this journey?"

When Spirit Bear's mom tells him about an important human rights case happening in Ottawa, Ontario, he makes the LONG trip (by train, his favourite way to travel) to go and watch, and to stand up for First Nations kids.

And he isn't the only one! Lots of children come too — to listen, and to show they care. Spirit Bear knows that children can change the world because he's there to see it happen.

This is the story of how kids — kids just like you — made a difference ... with a bit of help from some bears and other animals along the way!"

Educator Information
Spirit Bear and Children Make History tells the story of a landmark human rights case for First Nations children at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Nine years after the case was filed, the Tribunal ruled that the government of Canada was racially discriminating against 165,000 First Nations children by underfunding child welfare and failing to provide equitable public services. The book contributes to the Indigenization of curriculum by centering the agency, histories and realities of First Nations children and communities. The story supports an Indigenous pedagogical approach by encouraging critical and independent thought. In keeping with Indigenous pedagogy, Spirit Bear teaches readers about Indigenous worldviews and values not through direct instruction, but through the modelling of ethical and respectful behaviour and action.

Spirit Bear and Children Make History addresses a gap in reconciliation education. There are few Canadian books for children linking reconciliation with social justice. Meaningful reconciliation in Canada requires the active engagement of children and youth. It also requires a critical and social justice approach that links the residential school system to contemporary inequities and discrimination. Educating children and families about contemporary inequities creates a foundation for change and challenges the myth that colonialism is a thing of the past.

Spirit Bear and Children Make History was written to engage a younger audience in learning about the child welfare case, and to demonstrate and affirm the powerful role of young people in the reconciliation movement. Inspired by the voices of children, and in keeping with to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, the story highlights the power of people of all ages and backgrounds to make a difference for First Nations children and families.

Recommended Grades: K-6

Additional Information
54 pages | 8.25" x 8.25"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$15.00

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

Quantity:
The Little Hummingbird
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: Preschool; Kindergarten; 1; 2; 3;

This inspiring children's book-a revised edition of the awardwinning Flight of the Hummingbird-is based on a South American indigenous story about a courageous hummingbird who defies fear and expectations in her attempt to save the forest from fire. The illustrated story is supplemented by a natural and cultural history of hummingbirds, as well as an inspiring message from Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. The evocative artwork by internationally renowned Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas complements the optimistic tale that encourages everyone to take responsibility for their home and the planet.

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$18.95

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