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Ages 9 - 12

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A Stranger at Home: A True Story
Editors:
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

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As Long As the Rivers Flow (PB)
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Cree (Nehiyawak);
Grade Levels: 2; 3; 4; 5; 6;

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 

Educator Information
Recommended for ages 7 to 11. 

Curriculum Connections: Indigenous Studies, Social Studies, Science and Nature

Additional Information
48 pages | 7.25" x 10.25"

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$12.95

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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Artists:
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:
Good For Nothing
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; Métis;
Grade Levels: 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

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.

Curriculum Connections: Indigenous Studies, History, Geography, Social Sciences, English

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);
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7;

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"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$16.95

Quantity:
Island Kids
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations;
Grade Levels: 3; 4; 5; 6; 7;

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
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 5; 6; 7; 8; 9;

At six years old, Seepeetza is taken from her happy family life on Joyaska Ranch to live as a boarder at the Kalamak Indian Residential School. Life at the school is not easy, but Seepeetza still manages to find some bright spots. Always, thoughts of home make her school life bearable. 

An honest, inside look at life in an Indian residential school in the 1950s, and how one indomitable young spirit survived it.

Educator Information
Curriculum Connections: Language Arts, History, Social Studies, Science

 

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$10.95

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No Time to Say Goodbye
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12;

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.

Authentic Canadian Content
$9.95

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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

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