Please support the ASLC with Free Registration and get access to all our reviews

Author: Robertson, David Alexander
Illustrator: Flett, Julie
Publisher: Highwater Press
Year Published: 2016
ISBN: 9781553796732
Grades: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3

When We Were Alone

Reviewed by:

Awards:  Winner – 2017 Governor Generall’s Literary Awards – Young People’s Literature – Illustration
“When We Were Alone” is the 2017 winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration.  Cree Metis artist, Julie Flett’s colourful, full-page illustrations feature a primitive, folk-art quality. Facial expressions and colour capture the mood of David Robertson’s story.  Brightly coloured illustrations represent the present, while grey, dark, black and white images capture the sombre mood of the past.
Robertson uses a conversation between Nosisim (granddaughter) and Nokum (grandmother) to tell the story.  The conversation unfolds as Nosisim asks Nokum questions about her colourful clothing, long braided hair, her Cree language, and the fact that she is always visiting with her brother.  Nosisim’s questions trigger Nokum’s memories of her time in a residential school, and the traditional ways that they were denied then, and that she now treasures and shares for all to see.  Nokum remembers how she was expected to behave, to dress, and to speak in English.  She remembers how lonely she was away from family.  And, she remembers the little ways in which she and the other children tried to preserve their culture and remember their families whenever they were alone.
A gentle, reflective, intergenerational story, especially appropriate for the Grade 1-3 audience, to introduce the topic of residential schools and the impact it had on children at that time.
It is also a story of resilience, for the students will easily see how proudly Nokum displays and teaches about her heritage and traditions.  A well-recommended addition to your FNMI collection of picture books for the younger audience.

Wish on All the Stars
Schroeder, Lisa
ISBN: 9781338195774
Grades: Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Prolific author Lisa Schroeder has written a sequel to “See You on a Starry Night” that can be read as…

Silverstein, Karol Ruth
ISBN: 9781580899406
Grades: Grades 7 to 12

Debut author and screenwriter Karol Ruth Silverstein pens an empowering and emotionally-charged novel about a teen with juvenile arthritis, based…

Something Like Gravity
Smith, Amber
ISBN: 9781534437180
Grades: Grades 9 to 12

New York Times best-selling author Amber Smith, who is an advocate for increased awareness of gender violence as well as…

Teen Titans: Raven
Garcia, Kami
ISBN: 9781401286231
Grades: Grades 7 to 12

Young adult author Kami Garcia writes her debut graphic novel with artist Gabriel Picolo, producing the first amazing installment of…

© Copyright 2021 all rights reserved.