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Books About the Residential School System

Created by 49th Teachers
  • Age: 4 to 18
  • Grade: p to 12
tagged: Social Justice, Diversity & Inclusion, Indigenous
Listen and learn about the history and ongoing impact of Residential Schools with this selection of books suitable for K–12.

Showing 25-32 of 33 books

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Not My Girl

by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook Audiobook Hardcover
  • age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4
tagged: native canadian, native american, parents

Margaret can’t wait to see her family, but her homecoming is not what she expected.

Two years ago, Margaret left her Arctic home for the outsiders’ school. Now she has returned and can barely contain her excitement as she rushes towards her waiting family—but her mother stands still as a stone. This strange, skinny child, with her hair cropped …

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Indian Horse

by Richard Wagamese
edition: Paperback
also available: Paperback eBook Audiobook (CD)
  • age: 15
  • Grade: 10
tagged: literary, media tie-in, native american & aboriginal

Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back …

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A Stranger at Home

A True Story

by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
edition: eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback Audiobook
  • age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: native canadian

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 re …

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The Pact

by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson
edition: eBook
also available: Paperback
  • age: 15 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12
tagged: historical, aboriginal & indigenous, coming of age, mental illness, values & virtues, violence, multigenerational, prejudice & racism

The guilt and loss of James’s residential school experiences follow him into adulthood, and his life spirals out of control. Lauren makes a pact with him that will lead to either death or redemption: confront the demons that haunt him or be prepared to forego a life with her and their son, Edwin.

Edwin, mired in the desolation of his fatherless ch …

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Ends/Begins

by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson
edition: eBook
also available: Paperback
  • age: 15 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12
tagged: historical, coming of age, multigenerational, violence, mental illness, aboriginal & indigenous, values & virtues, prejudice & racism

In 1964, two brothers are torn from the warm and loving care of their grandparents, and taken to a residential school far from home. James, assigned to manual work on the grounds, sees less and less of his younger brother, Thomas. When James discovers the anguish Thomas is living under, it leads to unspeakable tragedy. The pain and guilt that haunt …

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Shin-chi's Canoe

by Nicola Campbell, illustrated by Kim Lafave
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: native canadian, new experience, post-confederation (1867-)

Winner of the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and finalist for the Governor General's Award: Children's Illustration

This moving sequel to the award-winning Shi-shi-etko tells the story of two children's experience at residential school. Shi-shi-etko is about to return for her second year, but this time her six-year-old brother, Shin-chi, is …

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As Long as the Rivers Flow

by Larry Loyie & Constance Brissenden, illustrated by Heather Holmlund
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
tagged: native canadian, post-confederation (1867-), new experience

Winner of the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction

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 …

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Shi-shi-etko

by Nicola Campbell, illustrated by Kim Lafave
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: native canadian, post-confederation (1867-), new experience

Winner of the Anskohk Aboriginal Children's Book of the Year Award. Finalist for the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Ruth Schwartz Award

In just four days young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave her family and all that she knows to attend residential school.

She spends her last days at home treasu …