When We Were Alone

Highwater PressSKU: 9781553796732

Author:
Robertson, David Alexander
Grade Levels:
Kindergarten, One, Two, Three
Nation:
Cree, Plains
Book Type:
HC
Pages:
24
Publisher:
Highwater Press
Copyright Data:
2016

Price:
Sale price$19.95

Description

When We Were Alone is the December 2016 picture book release from author David A. Robertson and illustrator Julie Flett through Highwater Press. This 24-page picture book combines the unique storytelling techniques of David Robertson with the compelling collage artwork of Julie Flett into a touching account of a Cree child helping her Kokum (grandmother) around her home.  In this safe setting the author allows the curious young girl ask her grandmother about Kokum's brightly coloured dresses, long braided hair, Cree language, and about the time when her grandmother was the same age as the child. Grandmother's gentle account is well suited for her granddaughter's understanding. It turns out that as a child, Kokum attended a residential school for a number of years. In answer to the curiosity about colourful dresses, Kokum tells about the time all the girls had to wear similar black, uncomfortable dresses at the school. So during the fall, all the girls enjoyed playing among the fallen leaves around the school. Here they imagined their clothing was colourful and they were happy. Kokum's long braid is the next question and she explains how all the girls had their long hair cut into a short unflattering style. Cree language is important to Kokum and she explains when she was young the residential school teachers said her language was forbidden. Kokum's brother drops by to visit and the little group enjoys a break sipping their tea.  The powerful yet gentle conversation between grandchild and grandparent provides a safe and reassuring space for the students listening to the question and answer format of this approach to explaining a difficult and current concern for all Canadians. The child frames the residential school topic through her questions and her wise Kokum explains honestly and truthfully about her personal experiences. The importance of family relationships is highlighted in this simple and effective picture book. This title is highly recommended for the primary and junior levels. When We Were Alone has been selected in the Children’s Category Longlist for First Nation Communities READ 2018

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