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Indigenous Popular Materials & Resources

Children's Literature


Welcome to the Children's Literature tab!

Here you will find a few popular children's books to check out.

The hyperlink will take you to the catalog's entry for that text. If it's not hyperlinked, we don't have it - yet!

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5 Fantastic Kids' Fiction Books by Native American Authors – The Children's  Book Review


Children's Books about Residential Schools

Fatty Legs

Fatty Legs: A True Story by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton.

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools.

As Long as the Rivers Flow

As Long as the Rivers Flow by Constance Brissenden and Larry Loyie

Starting in the 1800s and continuing into the 20th century, First Nations children were forcibly taken to government-sponsored residential schools to erase their traditional languages and cultures. This moving book tells of one such child, author Larry Loyie, and his last summer with his Cree tribe.


Ends/Begins by David Robertson (Graphic Novel)

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.

I Am Not A Number

I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer

When eight-year-old Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school she is confused, frightened, and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from, despite the efforts of the nuns who are in charge at the school and who tell her that she is not to use her own name but instead use the number they have assigned to her.

My Name is Seepeetza

My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling

Her name was Seepeetza when she was at home with her family. But now that she's living at the Indian residential school her name is Martha Stone, and everything else about her life has changed as well.


Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell

In just four days, 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 treasuring the beauty of her world. Her mother, father and grandmother, each in turn, share valuable teachings that they want her to remember. And so Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers her memories for safekeeping.

Stolen Words

Stolen Words by Melanie Florence

The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again.

A Stranger at Home

A Stranger at Home by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

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 realizes she is now marked as an outsider.

Sugar Falls

Sugar Falls by David Robertson (Graphic Novel)

Abandoned as a young child, Betsy was soon adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changed. Betsy was taken away to a residential school. There she was forced to endure abuse and indignity, but Betsy recalled the words her father spoke to her at Sugar Falls — words that gave her the resilience, strength, and determination to survive.

When I Was Eight

When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by stunning illustrations, When I Was Eight makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to younger readers. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.

When We Were Alone

When We Were Alone by David Robertson

The book tells the story of a young girl who asks her grandmother about the grandmother's colorful clothing while they are gardening. From there, the grandmother tells some of her history of living in a residential school as a child, during which times she and others broke the school's rules "when [they] were alone."


Thank You & Credits

Thank you to the First Nations Development Institute for their book list, which can be found here.

Thank you to Ryerson University's LibGuide for information regarding NA children's literature, which can be found here

Thank you to Haskell University's LibGuide on Native American children's literature, which can be found here

Thank you to the Okanagan College Library's LibGuide on Indigenous Studies, featuring a section on Indigenous children's literature, which can be found here

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Generic License.