Recently Kathleen Cherry, Red Cedar-nominated author of Everyday Hero had the opportunity to work with students in the Red Cedar Club at Spruceland Elementary School and also to present to several classes at Southridge Elementary School. She is very enthusiastic about the experience, saying it was “So exciting to witness the student’s enthusiasm for books and reading!”
Kathleen has kindly offered that any Red Cedar groups who schedule an interview with her by Skype or print will receive these beautiful book marks. Interested groups can contact Kathleen through us, her website, or Facebook page.
I Am Not A Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland
When Irene is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school, she is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite being told to do otherwise. When she goes home for summer holidays, her parents decide never to send her away again, but where will she hide and what will happen when her parents disobey the law? (Second Story Press)
Fight To Learn: The Struggle to Go to School by Laura Scandiffio
In many countries around the world, universal access to education is a seemingly unattainable dream; however, determined individuals with vision and drive have made this dream come true for many. This book highlights people such as Okello, a former child soldier in Uganda, who founded a school for children like himself whose education was derailed by war; Julia Bolton Holloway who realized that the only effective way to educate Roma children was to teach literacy to their parents at the same time; Shannen Koostachin, a passionate 13-year-old whose fight for the right of First Nations children to have proper schools endured even after her untimely death. These uplifting stories of people who were undeterred in their fight to bring education to children will leave young readers with excellent models of how to mobilize support when fighting for social justice. (Annick)
These Are My Words by Ruby Slipperjack
Violet Pesheens is struggling to adjust to her new life at Residential School. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her “white” school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been taken from her, including her name—she is now just a number. But worst of all, she has a fear. A fear of forgetting the things she treasures most: her Anishnabe language; the names of those she knew before; and her traditional customs. A fear of forgetting who she was.
Her notebook is the one place she can record all of her worries, and heartbreaks, and memories. And maybe, just maybe there will be hope at the end of the tunnel.
Drawing from her own experiences at Residential School, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violet, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation’s history. (Scholastic)
As if being a teenager isn’t difficult enough, Micah is coping with a disability that slowly diminishes his capability to do things others take for granted. He tries to be as normal as he possibly can: refusing to have a guide dog believing it will limit his freedom, trying to do without his white cane as often as possible, and hiding his flare-ups in the vain hope that his disability will go away on its own. The only place where Micah really feels in control is on the court when he plays goalball: a game designed for the visually impaired.
Young readers will relate to young Micah’s struggles: not necessarily his disability, but his anger issues, making friends, learning to be part of a team, that special relationship, and trying to become more independent of his parents. The language and tone of the book definitely feels like a young teen is speaking to the reader. It’s wonderful to have a book that is based locally and illustrates the pressures young people face as they juggle parental expectations, personal goals, expectations, relationships and in this case a degenerative disability.
-Reviewed by Marianne Huang