What if you didn't live in a town with a mall and a McDonalds? What if you lived in a place where daylight was sometimes only six hours long and your grandmother searched the forests for plants she could use for medicine?
Set in 1944, this is the story of a ten-year old boy named Lawrence Loyie, a member of the Cree tribe, who grew up in northern Canada. This memoir is told from Larry's point of view. Surrounded by the generations of his family, he raises an owl, cuts a fishing pole from the young trees near the pond, gathers berries to be dried and notices the newly chewed leaves along his path - a clear sign that a moose has been there within the past hour or so.
Larry lives in a town and in the natural world. He belongs in both. It will come as a shock to readers to learn that he and his brothers and sisters were forced to leave their families and live in an Indian boarding school far away. This practice began in 1880 and lasted 100 years.
Empathy builds as we walk in Larry's shoes and feel his joys and aspirations and then suddenly find ourselves jolted off our path, his path, into a cold world with no compassion and no respect for the culture we love and admire.
A wonderful story about diversity, understanding others, appreciating what means something to someone else and respecting the values and connection our indigenous peoples have for the natural world.
40 pages 978-0888996961 Ages 7-10
Includes valuable back matter about the thousands of North American native children who were taken from their families and sent away to schools.
Keyword: residential schools: Cree
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
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. It is a time of learning and adventure. He cares for an abandoned baby owl, watches his grandmother make winter moccasins, and sees her kill a huge grizzly with one shot. The sensitive text and Heather Holmlund's expressive illustrations beautifully capture the joy and drama of a First Nations family's last summer together.--from the publisher