Dear Canada: These Are My Words

Ruby Slipperjack

Dear Canada: These Are My Words
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 is afraid 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.

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. (From Scholastic Canada)

These Are My Words is for readers ages 9-12.

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Excerpt:

We entered the girls' dorm. It was empty. There were three rows of beds. Light green curved metal head frames with three metal bars in between, and the same-coloured curved foot frames. There were metal night tables between the beds, of the same colour. The floor had smeared green tiles going one way, and the next row another way. Like a checkerboard.

I was directed to the first row and to a bed that was the third from the end. There was a pile of stuff on the bed and there were lockers right across from the beds and that one was to be mine. I put the things that were on the bed into the locker. All the clothes had the number 75 written in black marker at the back of the neck, or on the tags at the back of the skirts. I was now #75. I wondered how many other girls had worn the #75 clothes.


From Dear Canada: These Are My Words by Ruby Slipperjack ©2016. Published by Scholastic.