With important updates since it first hit the shelves a decade ago, this new edition of Fatty Legs will continue to resonate with readers young and old.
Fatty Legs: A True Story is a recounting of the life of an eight-year-old Banks Island Inuvialuit girl who attended Residential School. Olemaun Pokiak, later called Margaret, tells her story in this memoir. In the introduction she explains the book's title, Fatty Legs, is the result of her destruction of the dreaded red-coloured stockings a nun forced her to wear at residential school. The picture book tells about her life before residential school, how she travelled five days to attend the school, and her life at the school. It turned out the school was much different from the place she imagined. Despite bullying from other girls attending the school and the racism of the school teachers, Margaret succeeds and learns to read. She enjoys reading and vows not to let the teachers and other classmates bully her. The book contains a map of Margaret's community; numerous photographs, and colour illustrations by Liz Amini-Holmes. The book contains an information section about residential schools and the healing process, and a scrapbook of images from Margaret's childhood. The book is the story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and is told with care by her daughter-in-law Christy Jordan-Fenton. Highly Recommended. ATOS Reading Level: 5.5; Reading Level: 5.9; Guided Reading Level: T. Golden Oak Nominee 2012. First Nation Communities Read 2012 title. For a lesson plan see Fatty Legs Teacher Guide
New and updated content includes
• a note on the right to silence. This piece asks readers to be mindful that not all survivors of residential school will wish to talk about their experiences, and that their silence should be respected.
• a table of contents to ensure all the added materials are easy to find.
• a foreword by noted Indigenous scholar Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo), founder of American Indians in Children’s Literature. The foreword discusses the biased portrayal of Indigenous people in children’s literature throughout history and the exclusion of Indigenous people from the ability to tell their own stories.
• a preface by Christy Jordan-Fenton sharing the way she first heard Margaret-Olemaun’s story of going away to residential school. It also covers the impact of the book and how much has changed in the past ten years.
• a note on language. This piece reviews the universal changes in language that have been made to the book since the original edition and also establishes the language choices made in the new material
• a note on the writing process. This piece by Christy explores how she works with Margaret-Olemaun to get Olemaun’s stories down on paper.
• the introduction and the first chapter of A Stranger at Home, the sequel to Fatty Legs.
• a revised and updated afterword by Christy Jordan-Fenton.