Updated: Sep 21, 2021
Here is a selection of some of the must-read books for kids by Indigenous authors and illustrators
Based on true events, Phyllis's Orange Shirt is a picture book about the young six year old Phyllis Webstad being sent to St. Joseph's Mission Residential School in British Columbia. On her first day of school, she wore her orange shirt and it was taken from her and never returned. Like Phyllis, many were forced to disconnect themselves from their homes, their language, culture and traditions. Phyllis and other Indigenous children experienced abuse, racism, bullying .
Orange Shirt Day
Phyllis Webstad started Orange Shirt Day to educate people about residential schools, fighting racism and bullying. For Phyllis, the colour orange reminded her of her feelings of worthlessness and recognizing the lack of care being in the residential school. The symbolism of the orange shirt and the message that Phyllis wants to pass on, is that every day- EVERY CHILD MATTERS.
This is the inspiration for the Orange Shirt Day movement. A day to reflect upon the treatment of First Nations people in Canada and that EVERY CHILD MATTERS.
Phyllis's Orange Shirt is for readers aged four and up.
EVERY CHILD MATTERS
I Lost My Talk
An influential poem written by spoken-word poet and a Mi'kmaw elder, Rita Young.
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 reconciliation, Rita Joe's powerful words explore and celebrate the survival of Mi'kmaw culture and language despite its attempted eradication.
I Lost My Talk is a necessary reminder of a dark chapter in Canada's history, a powerful reading experience, and an effective teaching tool for young readers of all cultures and backgrounds. Includes a biography of Rita Joe and striking colour illustrations by Mi'kmaw artist Pauline Young
"I lost my talk
The talk you took away
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school."
I'm Finding My Talk
I'm Finding My Talk is a response to Rita Joe's iconic poem I Lost My Talk, and published simultaneously with the new children's book edition.
This a beautiful picture book by award-winning spoken-word artist and Mi'kmaw activist Rebecca Thomas and vibrant illustrations by Mi'kmaw artist Pauline Young .
Thomas is a second-generation residential school survivor. She writes this response poem openly and honestly, reflecting on the process of working through the destructive effects of colonialism.
From sewing regalia to dancing at powwow to learning traditional language, I'm Finding My Talk is about rediscovering community and finding culture.
I'm finding my talk
And it may take some time,
But I'm learning to speak
In a language that's mine.
Mi'kmaw artist Pauline Young with the two books she was asked to illustrate, I Lost My Talk and I'm Finding My Talk.
The Great Festival Of Light
Below is a PDF link to a story called The Great Festival Of Light
Claire and her Grandfather
Below is a website link to a story called: Claire and her Grandfather
Learn about Indigenous culture with the story of Claire, who is learning about her heritage.
Crow and Little Bear
Below is a website link to a story called: Crow and Little Bear
Learn the benefits of sharing from this Coast Salish story.
The Lily Root
Below is a website link to a story called: The Lily Root
Learn about the Ojibway story of a grandfather who helps his grandson see things in a different way.