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Books for Orange Shirt Day

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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Residential Schools are often talked about beginning with the study of Indigenous Peoples in the Grade 3 social studies curriculum, but awareness can begin even earlier. These texts, from preschool to teens, address some of the harsh issues—and are especially meaningful in connection with Orange Shirt Day on September 30.

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The Orange Shirt Story, by Phyllis Webstad, illustrated by Brock Nicol, is a true story. Six-year-old Phyllis was looking forward to going to the same school as her cousins. She even had a new orange shirt for the occasion, but the nuns promptly removed it, and then cut off her hair. The nuns showed no empathy—a poignant illustration shows Phyllis crying, alone, in her bed at night. One nice teacher was her only solace. Luckily, Phyllis only had to endure one year away at school and never went back. There’s a section at the back of the book explaining the meaning of Orange Shirt Day. (Grade 3+)

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Fatty Legs, by Christy Jordan …

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Julie Flett on Illustration and First Nations Children's Literature

Book Cover Little You

Right now is a particularly amazing time for Canadian children's literature, in particular due to a fleet of incredible illustrators whose work has catapulted us into a golden age. Julie Flett is one of them. 

Julie Flett is an award-winning author, illustrator, and artist currently living in Vancouver, BC. She is Cree-Métis. Julie studied fine arts at Concordia University in Montreal and Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver. She received the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize and was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her book Owls See Clearly at Night (Lii Yiiboo Nayaapiwak lii Swer): A Michif Alphabet (L’alphabet di Michif), and most recently Julie's book Wild Berries/Pakwa che Menisu was chosen as the First Nation Communities READ title selection for 2014–2015. As the author and illustrator of the 2014–2015 selection, Julie is the first-time recipient of the 2014 Aboriginal Literature Award sponsored by the Periodical Marketers of Canada.

She is also remarkable for illustrating Little You by Richard Van Camp, the only book my baby daughter would pay attention to during her first 16 months of life. Which is to say that I'm very familiar with Julie Flett's work, so I was pleased …

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