June 24, 2021

How do you say grandfather in Cree? The little girl asks.

He sadly tells her he doesn’t remember.

Her grandfather’s words were stolen from him when he was taken to live at a residential school as a boy.

How do we talk to young children about reconciliation? Where do we begin to explain the residential school system and the abuses to our First Nations people?

Melanie Florence addresses the harsh truths in a gentle way through the beautiful bond between a grandfather and his curious granddaughter.

The grandfather describes how his words were stolen when he was taken from his family to a cold, lonely and hurtful place. He was punished until his words and language were forgotten.

The lovely illustrations allowed me to feel the sadness and the hurt of an entire nation, adding so much to this thoughtful story.

This is a perfect story to share with children to open up important conversations about Canada’s painful history. This at a time where the atrocities of the cultural genocide and the stolen Indigenous children is at the forefront, calling us all to stand with our First Nations people.  

The little girl’s determination to help find her grandfather’s words, will leave you feeling hopeful that healing can happen through the generations.

Helps with: Intergenerational impact of residential schools in Canada, understanding the cultural genocide of the Indigenous people, empathy, the importance of native language, Cree language, and the healing bond between grandparent and child.