Not My Girl

Written by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Annick Press, 2014
Unpaged [32] p. ISBN 978-1-55451-624-7 $9.95
Ages: 8-12 years years

Reviewed by Meg Sinclair

This story, based on the author’s own experience, sensitively explores the history of aboriginal children going away to residential schools.  Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, the book explains why the decision to move First Nations children away from their homes and families was wrong and how it affected their relationships.

Olemaun, or Margaret at school, goes away at the age of 8 and returns a changed and estranged child two years later.  Slowly her reintegration into her family is shown through story and pictures, and her touching reconnection to her parents gives hope for the future.

A necessary read, but best told where parents, teachers or librarians can field questions and explore sensitive answers.  It also provides a hopeful story for children experiencing inter-relational difficulties, showing that these can be overcome and life can become more positive.  This book is a shortened version of the novel, “Stranger at Home: A True Story”.