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Books About the Residential School System

Created by 49th Teachers
  • Age: 3 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 9-16 of 33 books

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Reflections from Them Days (English)

A Residential School Memoir from Nunatsiavut

illustrated by Nellie Winters, edited by Erica Oberndorfer
edition: Paperback
also available: Paperback
  • age: 11 to 14
  • Grade: 6 to 9
tagged: cultural heritage, native canadian, polar regions

When Nellie Winters was 11 years old, she was sent to attend the Nain Boarding School, a residential school 400 kilometres from her home. In this memoir, she recalls life before residential school, her experiences at the school, and what it was like to come home.

Accompanied by the author’s original illustrations, this moving, often funny memoir s …

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On the Side of the Angels (English)

by Jose Amaujaq Kusugak, illustrated by Hwei Lim
edition: Paperback
also available: Paperback
  • age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 10
tagged: cultural heritage, native canadian, polar regions

"Then one day a ‘flyable’ took me away from our world through the sky to a dark and desolate place.”

Jose Kusugak had a typical Arctic childhood, growing up playing games, enjoying food caught by hunters, and watching his mother preparing skins. But he was one of the first generation of Inuit children who were taken from their homes and commun …

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The Train

by Jodie Callaghan, illustrated by Georgia Lesley
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4
tagged: prejudice & racism, native canadian, multigenerational

Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their community in Nova Scotia. Ashley sees his sadness, and Uncle tells her of the day years ago when he and the other children from their community were told to board the train before being taken to residential school where their lives were changed forever. They weren't allowed to speak Mi …

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The Case of the Missing Auntie: A Mighty Muskrats Mystery: Book 2

by Michael Hutchinson
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: native canadian, mysteries & detective stories

The Mighty Muskrats are off to the city to have fun at the Exhibition Fair. But when Chickadee learns about Grandpa's little sister, who was scooped up by the government and adopted out to strangers without her parents' permission many years ago, the Mighty Muskrats have a new mystery to solve. Once in the bright lights of the big city, the cousins …

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Fatty Legs (10th anniversary edition)

by Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton & Christy Jordan-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes, foreword by Debbie Reese
edition: Hardcover
also available: Paperback eBook
  • age: 9 to 11
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: native canadian, cultural heritage, women

The beloved story of an Inuvialuit girl standing up to the bullies of residential school, updated for a new generation of readers.

Margaret Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton’s powerful story of residential school in the far North has been reissued to commemorate the memoir’s 10th anniversary with updates to the text, reflections on the book’s impact, and …

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Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams

Based on a True Story

by Cindy Blackstock, illustrated by Amanda Strong
edition: Paperback
  • age: 6 to 12
  • Grade: 1 to 7
tagged:

(NEW) Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams is the latest addition to the award-winning picture book series written by Order of Canada recipient Cindy Blackstock (Gitxsan Nation) and illustrated by Amanda Strong (Michif)!
Spirit Bear is on his way home from a sacred ceremony when he meets Jake, a friendly dog, with a bag full of paper he …

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I Lost My Talk

by Rita Joe, illustrated by Pauline Young
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback
  • age: 4 to 9
  • Grade: p to 4
tagged: native canadian, cultural heritage

I lost my talk
The talk you took away
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school.

One of Rita Joe's most influential poems, "I Lost My Talk" tells the revered Mi'kmaw Elder's childhood story of losing her language while a resident of the residential school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. An often quoted piece in this era of truth and recon …

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I'm Finding My Talk

by Rebecca Thomas, illustrated by Pauline Young
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook Paperback
  • age: 4 to 9
  • Grade: p to 4
tagged: native canadian, multigenerational, cultural heritage

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 …