Little Wolf, grown up with children of her own, moves to the country where her mother, White Raven, shares a sad story from her childhood.
All grown up with a family of her own, Little Wolf moves from the big city to the island of her ancestors. She wants to share the beauty and mysteries of nature with her children, and she wants them to learn as much about their culture as possible. One day, Little Wolf’s mother, White Raven, visits and begins to tell her grandchildren stories from her own childhood. But the stories are not happy ones. As a child, White Raven left her family to attend St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay, BC. While there, she experienced hunger, loneliness, shame, and isolation from her language and her culture. Even years later, as a grown woman and Elder, she has nightmares about her time at the school. But by sharing her story with Little Wolf and her grandchildren, White Raven begins to heal and brings the family closer together. Through simple, heartfelt text and vivid illustrations that combine contemporary and traditional Indigenous motifs, White Raven is an engaging teaching tool as well as a relatable narrative about the impact of intergenerational trauma on families. Based on the author’s own life and her mother’s residential school experience, the central message of this book is one of healing and family unity.
“Spathelfer tells her mother’s story about her time at residential school with so much grace and care. White Raven is an honest and heartfelt glimpse into the lives of children who went to residential school, as well as the generational impacts the schools had on their families.”
—Jodie Callaghan, author of The Train
"The story demonstrates the heartbreaking truth about residential schools in Canada, but also makes evident the perseverance and strength in Indigenous Peoples as they find their way back to culture and the truth. This title is a good introduction to residential schools, and is an important story for all children and all Canadians to learn."
—Canadian Children's Book News, Winter 2021
“Storytelling is essential for healing! Mixed with historical facts and lovely art, the values of mentorship and courage shine through in this important story.”
—Robert "Lucky" Budd, co-author of the Northwest Coast Legends Series