Children's Fiction Native Canadian
- Second Story Press
- Initial publish date
- Sep 2017
- Native Canadian, Native American, Prejudice & Racism, Multigenerational
- Recommended Age
- 6 to 9
- Recommended Grade
- 1 to 3
- Recommended Reading age
- 6 to 9
- Publish Date
- Sep 2017
- List Price
- Publish Date
- Sep 2017
- List Price
Where to buy it
The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.
About the authors
Melanie Florence est auteure canadienne de descendance crie et écossaise. Son premier livre, Jordin Tootoo: The Highs and Lows of the First Inuit to Play in the NHL , a été choisi comme livre d'honneur par l'American Indian Library Association. Ses œuvres de fiction sont le roman pour ados One Night ainsi que l'album illustré Missing Nimama, gagnant du Prix TD de la littérature jeunesse. Melanie habite à Toronto.
MELANIE FLORENCE is an award-winning writer of Cree and Scottish heritage based in Toronto, Ontario. She is the author of Missing Nimâmâ, which won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the 2017 Forest of Reading Golden Oak Award and was a finalist for the 2017 First Nation Communities READ award. Her most recent picture book, Stolen Words, won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award and was a finalist for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. Her other books include Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Residential Schools and the teen novels Just Lucky, He Who Dreams, The Missing, One Night, and Rez Runaway. Visit her at https://www.melanieflorence.com/.
Melanie Florence's profile page
GABRIELLE GRIMARD a illustré plus de 30 albums, dontLes mots volés, Quand j’avais huit ans, Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines, Aujourd'hui peut-être... et les livres de la série Petit Gnouf. Elle est aussi l'auteure-illustratrice de l'album Lila et la corneille. Gabrielle habite aux environs de Montréal.
From the time she was little GABRIELLE GRIMARD loved art, dismaying her elementary school teachers by constantly drawing in class. Later Gabrielle studied art in high school and university. After her son was born, she began illustrating children’s books and has now created more than 25, including When I Was Eight (Quand j'avais huit ans), Stolen Words (Les mots volés) and Not My Girl (Où est ma fille?). Lila and the Crow (Lila et la corneille) is the first book she both wrote and illustrated. She uses watercolours, gouache and oil to create images of amazing warmth and depth. Gabrielle lives near Montreal, QC. Visit her at https://www.gabriellegrimard.com.
- Commended, Forest of Reading, Forest Kid Committee List
- Short-listed, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award - CCBC's TD Canadian Children's Book Awards
- Winner, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award
- Commended, Ontario Library Association's 2018 Best Bets
- Commended, 2018 (Spring) - Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens - Starred Selection
- Commended, Kirkus Reviews' Best Picture Books of 2017 to Give Readers Strength
- Commended, Shelf Awareness Best Picture Books of the Year
- Commended, The Children's Book Review's Best Picture Books of 2017
- Short-listed, Elizabeth Mrazik Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award
...an emotionally charged series of interactions and memories that are pure Melanie Florence. They will astound readers and sadden them, while encouraging healing and learning without shame or anger.
CanLit for Little Canadians
An emotional read, as the illustrations show mothers waving goodbye to their children and words being lost. As Grandfather revisits his native first language, the words fly back.... Recommended.
School Library Journal
Florence's tender text soothes the harsh reality of having Native language stolen while attending one of Canada's former residential schools for Indigenous children. Grimard's equally emotive illustrations show the stark realities of the experience in symbolic images... Unforgettable. (Starred Review)
As historical fiction, the book relies on strong positive memories of [the author's] grandfather, and researched facts about...residential school[s]. The characters are portrayed with genuine emotions in softly colored, mixed media illustrations.
To say that Florence’s story has a happy ending is an oversimplification. Her text, combined with illustrator Gabrielle Grimard’s pictures, shows that language reclamation is a process – more complex than a simple case of lost and found.... Readers are left with the message that language has not been destroyed, only rendered dormant by its captivity. (Starred Review)
Quill & Quire
... Stolen Words, from Melanie Florence, is one man’s emotional tale of strength, hope, and healing, shedding light on the continued repercussions of the horrific residential schools that separated indigenous children from their families and heritage in the name of cultural assimilation. In color and gray scale, Gabrielle Grimard’s moving watercolors capture the bittersweet journey while looking to the future.
... a sobering ode to [Florence's] heritage, presented through eyes filled with love and hope... Word by word, her story—written in honor of her Cree grandfather—is a significant step toward forever healing. (Starred Review)
Quebec artist Gabrielle Grimard matches the author’s poignant but age-appropriate text with illustrations that clearly convey the girl’s concern for her grandfather’s feelings and her joy in finding a way to give him back his language – and learn it herself.
"Stolen Words” would be an asset to any home or school library. It is a very powerful tool to educate both Indigenous and non-indigenous readers about the long lasting effects of the residential school system.
Gabrielle Grimard’s evocative watercolour illustrations are emotionally powerful.... Stolen Words tells a heartbreakingly honest story that all Canadians must hear.
National Reading Campaign
This sensitive, beautifully illustrated picture book deftly explores the inter-generational impact of Canada's residential school system... "Stolen Words" is unreservedly and emphatically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.
Midwest Book Review
Melanie Florence's Stolen Words is a modern story, a hopeful exploration of one way the Cree people may begin to reclaim their language and culture.... While the story of how the Canadian government destroyed the lives of First Nations children is harsh, the subject is handled with dignity and love.... The illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard are suffused with warm tones of yellow, green, brown, the lines playful and full of movement.
Montreal Review of Books
The simple text in Stolen Words has a powerful impact emotionally on the reader, but also inspires hope and courage as the child and adult embark on a journey of healing, through love, determination, and resiliency... It makes the reader reflect on the importance of culture, family, and one’s own identity… And with seeing this story through the eyes of a child, Stolen Words is highly effective as a powerful and dynamic narrative.
Florence's evocative text is enhanced by Gabrielle Grimard's sensitive watercolour, gouache, oil and pencil illustrations.... The final page, depicting the young girl walking hand in hand with her grandfather, exudes a sense of intergenerational love, resilience and hope.
Canadian Children's Book News
In this poignant picture book about the devastating legacy of residential schools, author Melanie Florence presents the story of a little girl who re-introduces her grandfather to his first language after he has spent many years without it. A simple text with tremendous emotional impact, the dialogue between child and adult inspires hope for younger generations along with admiration for a resilient and determined man whom we know will succeed in his quest to re-learn what has been lost.... While definitely geared towards young children, Stolen Words is a picture book that older readers will also appreciate for its historical significance, honesty, impactful language, and artful presentation. Highly recommended.
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
Other titles by Melanie Florence
Righting Canada's Wrongs 2023 set
8 volume set + free resource guide
Legends of Funland
Autumn Bird and the Runaway
Righting Canada's Wrongs: Residential Schools
The Devastating Impact on Canada's Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Findings and Calls for Action