I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson
To Be Published: January 6, 2017
When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.
Wow. This book is powerful. A young girl is helping her grandmother garden, and she asks innocent questions about why her grandmother wears such colorful clothes and wears her hair so long. She learns that her grandmother, an Algonquin from northern Canada, was sent to a boarding school where she was forced to wear a uniform, cut her hair short, and speak English instead of Cree. Now she does all of the things that were denied to her when she was young.
When We Were Alone tells an unpleasant bit of Canadian history, but it’s important to share these stories with our children. Here in American we have our own horror stories of discrimination and trying to force people to be the same. This book introduces these ugly truths in a digestible manner. It’s a story that children can understand, but it’s a perfect conversation starter for some hard discussions we should be having with our kids, so that history doesn’t repeat itself.
My Rating: 4 stars
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