I'm finding my talk
And it may take some time,
But I'm learning to speak
In a language that's mine.
A response to Rita Joe's iconic poem "I Lost My Talk," and published simultaneously with the new children's book edition illustrated by Pauline Young, comes a companion picture book by award-winning spoken-word artist and Mi'kmaw activist Rebecca Thomas. A second-generation residential school survivor, Thomas writes this response poem openly and honestly, reflecting on the process of working through the destructive effects of colonialism.
From sewing regalia to dancing at powow to learning traditional language, I'm Finding My Talk is about rediscovering her community, and finding culture. Features stunning, vibrant illustrations by Mi'kmaw artist Pauline Young.
Rebecca Thomas is an award-winning Mi'kmaw poet. She is Halifax's former Poet Laureate (2016-2018) and has been published in multiple journals and magazines. She coordinated the Halifax Slam Poetry team from 2014 to 2017, leading them to three national competitions with the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. Her first children's book, I'm Finding My Talk, was a Globe & Mail Top 100 Pick of 2019, as well as a CBC Best Picture Book of 2019, and was nominated for both the 2019 Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature and the 2019 Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award (with companion title I Lost My Talk). The book is a White Ravens 2020 selection, chosen by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, and has been nominated for First Nations Communities READ 2020. Thomas's first adult collection of poetry, I place you into the fire, was a CBC Best Canadian Poetry pick of 2020.
Pauline Young is a visual artist who was first exposed to the creative world through her father, Phillip Young, an internationally renowned artist, who painted the bottoms of her feet. She still recalls the smooth sensation of paint oozing between her toes. She draws her inspiration from him and the natural environment and is always looking down to see what the ground can offer, such as incorporating beach sand and red oxide sand into her paintings.
"Published as a companion to the picture book I Lost My Talk, featuring the famous poem by Rita Joe, both volumes explore the legacy of Canada's residential schools. They feature vibrant illustrations by Pauline Young that bring the words alive with emotional nuance. This remarkable pair of books possesses the rare ability of being suited to readers of all ages: three to six-year-olds, the traditional intended audience of picture books, will be captivated by the bright, lively illustrations; elementary and middle school children will find their Social Studies curriculum enriched by experiencing these important concepts rendered creatively; teens and adults will gain insight and empathy by enjoying these beautiful poems." —Canadian Review of Materials (Winnipeg, MB)